Monday, December 2, 2013

Going the distance

Only two trials to go till the end of my trialling year.  We've had our first two evening trials which have been pretty successful for Cassie with one Q in Excellent Agility, one in Excellent Jumping and the biggest surprise of all, one in Open Jumping.  Who would have thought she would be able to do distance work already!  

I do think we've been pretty lucky so far and I don't think we've had an overly difficult Excellent course as yet.  I remember last year when we were still in Novice seeing some of the Excellent courses and really worrying about how we were going to manage when we got there.  Some of them looked harder than the Masters courses I was running with Sonic.  In saying that some tricky courses are probably what we need.  They are the ones that flush out the weak spots!  Saturday nights trial was a good example of that.  In agility there was a tyre right next to the entry of the weave poles.  It took Cassie three attempts to find what would normally have been an easy entry for her, I'm assuming because the tyre changed the picture for her.  So guess what we'll be working on for the next few weeks....

The see-saw is still a work in progress.  I'm trying hard to get her to listen to the verbal and not assume which is the dog walk and which is the see-saw.  I'm not sure I've been that successful yet.  It definitely needs a lot more work.  I can still remember Sonic taking a while to get the hang of the difference.  I've entered her in her first agility classes at ADAA this weekend which is why I've been focusing on the full height one so much.  Although I'm still hoping it won't be too much longer before the ANKC one returns to it's former full size glory.  Lets hope she listens when she goes charging up the plank!

Poor Sonic is resting from agility for the rest of the year.  I haven't been happy with is lower back.  So I decided that it would be better to just rest him and then slowly build him up for the Nationals next year.  I'm still optimistic that I can get him there sound and ready to go.  It would be such a shame to not take him and I want to have at least one more with him but I guess we shall see.  I have a full exercise plan in place to have him as physically ready as I can.  I miss trialling him so much.

The WAO try-outs for 2014 have been and gone.  I did feel a pang of regret that I didn't try out this year but at the same time I know it's the right decision and having my own dogs right for the Nationals is more important.  It will be hard when the time comes and the team heads off knowing what I'm missing.  I guess we can't always do everything.  As of February 2014 the quarantine restrictions mean that dogs only have to stay in quarantine for 10 days when coming into Australia.  Does that mean that we can consider taking our own dogs next time?  Wouldn't that be amazing.  Competing with my own dogs at a world agility event is something I thought I would only ever dream of.  2015 maybe....

Back to the real world, my focus for the rest of this year and early next year is to work really hard on my handling.  We are fortunate here in WA to have some amazing international seminar presenters come and work with us.  I have booked a couple of slots with Dave Munnings when he is here in April/May next year.  I feel like I'm getting a lot more comfortable with changing things to a more European style  but I have a long way to go.  Certainly the move from most is the European handling which is funny when you think about it.  We've always been so influenced from the UK and USA styles but even they have shifted to European handling.  If you can't beat them join them perhaps?  We are also very lucky having our own agility local Megan Bell Jones having recently come back from a Lisa Frick and Tereza Kravlova seminar.  Very much looking forward to continue working with Megan and learning more about being the best handler I can be for my dogs.

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