Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goal setting

Been doing a fair amount of that this week.. both realistic aims and pie in the sky dreaming.

We're back in the ring over labour day, up at Spot On - we've entered two standard runs, a jumpers and steeplechase. A lot of runs for a day for wee Sophie - I've started daily jogs to build our stamina, and if it cools a bit more in the evening we'll start cycling again. Our goals at the trial will be to plan and implement running lines that will keep us together - the "stay right in her face" plan that we started at the nationals will be our new trialling format for the time being. This will likely slow us down a bit, but for now, we're all about getting trial experience - speed and q's will come in time.

We're also trying to get out to a weekly informal group of like minded individuals for training with distractions. So far we're doing mostly rally exercises on leash at these evenings, but it's all part of the "making myself more interesting than other people" programme.

Some more long term goals: Next year's Regionals. Although we don't have a realistic chance of qualifying (gambling is going to be a sticky point for us I'm sure), our steeplechase run at the nat's this year has whet our appetite to play with the big dogs. :) The pie in the sky goal will be to qualify for the CPE nationals in New York, but since that requires achieving all of the level 1 and 2 titles before February (and thus 20 some qualifying runs in an area that only has a few CPE trials), I think we can safely say this will be a project for 2013. :)

Rally goals: We are working on weaning off food treats, and are planning on attending a few more rally trials in the fall and winter. I hope we will earn our Rally Novice Title this year, and then we'll work on the advanced level skills.

Have some personal career goals that I'm still working on, but those have to stay under my hat for the time being. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Update!

Sophie and I at the Nationals in Barrie

Sophie and her CPE title ribbon!

Work has taken first priority this summer, so we haven't been doing a whole lot of agility or rally... however, we did make it up to Barrie for the AAC Nationals Aug 6-10. I entered Soph in the Friday warm up games - Steeplechase and the 60 Weave Pole Challenge. Our Steeplechase run was marvellous! My good friend and agility coach Andrea Harrison was an immense help in walking the course and planning a strategy for us. Our new game plan is to stick to Soph like glue, never ever giving her an opportunity to break focus. This means some creative crossing is necessary, but we do what we have to.

The steeplechase started out with a nice run up the outside - jump jump frame. The frame was in the corner with a ring crew seated just on the far side. Knowing the judge would also be there, I chose to run on the perimeter again, keeping myself between Soph and the ring crew and thus limiting her mugging options. This worked beautifully, and she held her contact as I front crossed back into the inside line. Jump 4 was followed by a hard turn toward the centre, so I front crossed again to get her in line for jump 5 and #6, the weaves. Slight bobble on the weaves but I was able to draw her back in and finish them. Next was a tunnel that curved back to the weaves - flawless the 2nd time through. Back over jump 5, and a gentle curve around the top of the ring with jump 10-11-12, passing another ring crew without a blink. I had planned a front cross in front of 12 to draw soph away from the tunnel, but I was a little late and we had an offcourse - just one stride into the tunnel and I was able to recall her out and get her back on line. Jumps 13-17 were a pin wheel that she did just fine, then we were back into that blasted tunnel (correctly this time!) and over one last jump to finish!

Final analysis, with the off course and a slightly slower performance on the weaves, put us over the course time and gave us an E, but considering where we were and the difficulty of the course, I could not be more pleased with her performance. Looking forward to some more trials this summer!

Next up was our weave pole challenge - it was HOT and muggy at this point so I wasn't expecting great things. However, Soph did just fine, getting to about the 40th pole or so. Good girl!

The rest of the weekend we were on the sidelines, cheering on Andrea and Team VariHarri, Brody and Sally (Soph's littersister). Both of them had STELLAR runs all weekends - Brody, at age 11, placed 15th in his class overall, Sally was 28th in her jumpers class on Sunday. Rockstars!