Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fine Tuning - NYE Trial

Belle and I went to our first trial since early November.  Since it was NYE, I only entered four classes so we would be sure to be back home before it was dark.  We haven't done any contacts since our last trial, so I was a little concerned about whether or not Belle would hit them.  Chances was our first run and the dog walk was the contact.  I made the mistake of saying easy just as she started the down ramp.  Belle collected and put in a long stride (almost a jump) at the yellow, but I was pretty sure her nails of her rear feet were in the yellow.  Apparently, the judge agreed with me.  In Regular, I said nothing except "easy" before the first A-frame, and I didn't look to see if Belle hit the yellow, I just trusted her to do it.  Belle's first Regular run was her fastest time ever in Regular!

I didn't plan to blog about this trial, so I didn't ask anyone to film our runs until jumpers.  These days, I'm really trying to improve my timing so that Belle has the information she needs before she takes off.  When you watch video of a jumpers run, you can tell if your timing is right when the dog's path is straight and true with no bobbles in her line.

We were 3 for 3 going into Jumpers.  Unfortunately, I totally missed the challenge presented at the #12 jump on the walk-thru.  I think we might have stayed on course despite my oversight if I hadn't gotten way too far ahead of Belle at #10.  Belle landed on her left lead at #12, but then I looked back at her to be sure she was there, which caused her to change leads on her next stride and take the off-course jump.  In hindsight, I could have probably avoided the off-course in several different ways.

1 I could have used Belle's name and my off-side arm to grab her attention when I checked back to see where she was.  (This should have occurred to me while we running.)
2. I could have kept moving (instead of slowing down as I did) while Belle was taking 11 and 12, and done a blind or front cross on the landing side of 12.  (I would have had to thought of this idea on the walk-thru, but alas I didn't.)

3.  If I wanted to rear cross the take-off side of 13 (not really a very good choice in this situation with this dog), I could have paced myself better by moving to (30,40) while sending Belle to 7-9 and then executing my front cross on the take-off side of #10.
4.  Actually, moving to (30,40) is probably a better path choice for me even if I want to rear cross Belle on the landing side of #13 since it would allow me to remain a little further from the 70' line and thus avoid pressuring Belle's line from 12 to 13.

Incidentally, if you watch Belle closely, you will see that I was late indicating the turn after #3 and the switch between 6 and 7.  Also, my front cross rotation at #10 was a smidge late.


I was a bar setter for Open Jumpers, and I was really surprised how nasty the line from 8 to 9 was.  For anyone who could outpace their dog it wasn't that much of a problem, but still, I'd prefer not to step into my dog as she lands to accomplish a switch.  For those handlers with fast dogs, getting to #9 was tough without strong verbal skills.  As I sat watching the dogs run, I thought this was one I might not get with Belle.

However, looking at the course map, I guess I would make sure Belle was far enough ahead of me at 7 so that I could rear cross the take-off side of 8.  Then I would do a switch into the pinwheel. 

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