Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Devil is in the Details

Belle and I traveled to Muscatine, Iowa yesterday for one day of an AKC trial hosted by the Muscatine Agility Club of Iowa.  The trial was held in a horse arena.  Usually, I bring along hiking shoes just in case the footing is too uneven for me to negotiate in my running shoes.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring them with yesterday :(  I found just walking on the surface hard, so I taped my ankle and planned for as much distance as possible.  JWW was first and it lent itself to distance handling beautifully.

I was able to take a very long lead out which enabled me to easily do a front cross between 4 and 5.  

By far the best way to handle 8 to 9 was to execute a rear cross between them.  However, I knew I'd never get back to the 12/13 gap in time for a front or blind cross.  (A rear cross at this point had the unfortunate tendency to pull the dog off #15.)  Therefore, I spent a lot of time planning a front cross.  I executed the cross well enough, but I failed to carry forward until Belle committed to #9 (red line), and we incurred a refusal.  The rest of the run went as planned.

So many of the small dog handlers wrapped their dogs right at #17,  I really thought I'd missed something on the walk-thru.  However, it just didn't make sense to me to do two extra lead changes when you don't have to.  For the 24" and 26" dogs, I think wrapping right produced a nicer line to the last jump since for the most part they turned wide around either wing and turning wide around the right wing put them directly on a line for #18.  Turning wide around the left wing did not.  Most of the 20" dogs and all of the smaller dogs were capable of wrapping left tightly enough that they were heading directly at #18 after the wrap.

Standard did not lend itself to picking a couple of spots to handle from.  However, JWW round tamped down the surface and evened it out considerably.

Nonetheless, I tried to plot as an efficient a course as possible to minimize my yardage.  Almost ever handler put in a front cross between the teeter and the panel jump.  I used a rear cross between the panel and the tire and it worked quite well.  I was able to easily get in a front cross by #7.  For 8, 9, 10, I did a post turn.  My original plan was to rear cross the weaves, but the run was going so well and I knew it was an easy push to the #12 tunnel, so I didn't bother with the rear cross.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to slow myself down and keep my right arm close as we ran from tunnel to #13 and Belle went sailing off course to the dogwalk.  Bad, bad arm.

Our final run was T2B and the surface had been leveled out even more.

I opened the same way I did in Standard, but now it was a straight shot to the tunnel if you set your dog up on an angle to #1.  I debated whether to handle the serpentine from the back side or the front and decided on the front, realizing that I would have to pace myself in order to do a nice rear cross at the weave entrance.  In my haste to get in a front cross on the landing side of #8, I finished my rotation too soon and pulled Belle into the gap.  But since refusals don't count in T2B (except for the time they suck up), I was able to fix my mistake and we earned 9 points.

I really liked the courses that Annette Narel designed for Friday, and I look forward to running under her again. 

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