Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Weekend's Trial

RACE held a NADAC trial at the Quad Cities Dog Center Saturday and Sunday.  I really, really want to get Chances Q's and the Touch n Go Q's.  Saturday's Chances course was not that difficult, but the wheels fell off our run so badly that I just called it quits and ran to the finish line with Belle--something we've never done before.  Normally, I just go with any mistake and keep running like that was the plan.  But the miscommunication we experienced threw me for such a loop that I just couldn't think of any way to keep running a course.

Chances was the first run of the day, and I was a little apprehensive about more miscommunication.  I decided I just had to be clear in my body movements about where Belle was going and forget about trying to do fancy work with my hands.  (Maybe we'll work on the move that messed us up some more in training or maybe we won't.  But I won't be using it in a trial setting again until I'm sure Belle understands what she is being asked to do.)

We ended up doing well in our other classes except for Weavers when I learned a very valuable lesson.  I had walked the course with the idea of handling most of it from a small area in the middle of the course.  Then when we ran, I decided to run with Belle.  Unfortunately, I ended up at the end of an arc knowing we were supposed to go somewhere, but not knowing where since I had never viewed the course from where I was standing.  I made a choice (not the correct one) on the fly and we went with it and finished the run.  It is embarrassing to lose your way on a 14-obstacle course.

I'm not above changing how I run a course if I see others run it more efficiently and think I can do the same.  Unfortunately, no thought really went into my game plan change on Saturday--I just decided to run with Belle because I didn't want to stand around like a lump in the middle while she was running and weaving.  

Sunday's Elite Weavers - Approximate
Sunday, I also changed my weavers game plan after watching other teams run.  It was a rather obnoxious weavers course, or at least the way I was going to run it, it was obnoxious.  I had decided to do a front cross before before the weaves at #8 and #10.  The the angle from hoop before was such that if my front cross wasn't spot on, Belle would have to get around me to enter the weaves.  The advantage was that I would be on the inside of the exit turn after the front crosses.

However, waiting to change sides until the weave pole exit made drawing the dog's path pretty much a no-brainer, and all it took was a push (instead of a pull) to send the dog in the correct direction at the exit of the weaves.  I decided to trust that I could communicate the direction I wanted and Belle would read it correctly, and this "obnoxious" course turned out to be one of the most satisfying ones that Belle and I have ever run.  Everything just clicked so nicely into place.

Here's the video from five of Sunday's runs:

The missing run is Tunnelers where I once again learned that Belle could outrun me.  The opening was two straight tunnels and I made the mistake of releasing her as I ran by space between them.  She went flying by and my game plan was out the window since there was no way I could get to the center of the course.  I ran valiantly, and we managed to snag a Q by .15 of a second.  (We had a major bit of confusion about whether Belle was to enter a tunnel or run by it.)

1 comment:

  1. Really nice runs! I had a thought on the #8 weaves in the weavers run you talked about...what may have also worked was doing a rear cross after the entry into the #8 weaves instead of waiting to rear at the exit of #8. Of course, your way worked out VERY nicely indeed! Flowing and spot on...nicely done! Can't wait til my girl is all healed so we can get back to some fun training and maybe some winter trials too!