Monday, May 11, 2009

Act-Up CPE Trial – Part II: Carmie

Where to start…..let’s see…. Saturday was a TOUGH day. It was cold, wet, and when the rain finally stopped there was a lot of GLARE. It was not a day made for running Carmen.

The first run of the day was Fullhouse and we had a super run. It did not go according to plan, but there was flow and we had a very nice run. Q/1

The next three runs Regular, Wildcard, and Snooker were all complete busts. In each one it was obvious Carmen was having a really difficult time seeing. There were multiple moments of disorientation where she stopped dead and air sniffed. It wasn’t easy to get her going again. I admit I was initially befuddled – it was somewhat overcast. Then I looked upwards and the glare was so brutal it hurt my eyes. Ah…

Regular Level 2 contains the weave poles. This trial was the first time I have intentionally entered Carmie in classes with weaves. We are in Level 3 Wildcard, Fullhouse, and Snooker – so we would see weaves there, too (but you can plan around them in Fullhouse).

The Regular run was “just okay” until right before we got to the weaves. The jump before the weaves Carmie had a moment of disorientation – I was finally able to convince her to jump. Then the weaves – Carmie blew by the entry and started weaving. We attempted to re-start and had the same problem. Let me be clear, Carmie’s weaves are a work in progress, there was glare, we were coming off the moment of disorientation, and the photographer was directly ahead of the weaves taking photos! No…there were too many factors and none of them were good. So, I said screw it and continued on. There was perching on the a-frame, which only happens when she can’t see. It sucked. We went way over time (unusual with carmie!).

Wildcard, I honestly cannot remember what happened. There was a set of six weaves that were unavoidable. We must have attempted them. I honestly don’t recall.

Snooker went okay, it would have been salvageable – we could have Q’d without completing the closing. However we had FOUR moments of disorientation and only made it to #5 in the closing before the whistle blew. Just as well, I am sure our weaves would have been pitiful.

IT SUCKED. I think I should have scratched her, but I have such trouble telling when she can see and can’t.

The next class was Colors and she ROCKED it. The sun was behind trees and nearly set – she ran at the top of the 8” dogs so we would still have enough light. She almost had an off-course but I was able to call her off it. I couldn’t believe she called off the jump. She was inches from taking it, but she did and she didn’t waste any time getting back to work. Q/1 and that completes her CL2-H mini-title.

The fact that the first class of the day and the last class of the day she had no-zero-zip issues during confirms to me it is vision/glare related.

Sunday was a clear, sunny day. I opted to run Carmie because it didn’t seem like a very squinty day. That is the common denominator I am finding. If I am squinting Carmie can’t see.

We were entered in L2 Jackpot (similar to Gamblers or Chances), L2 Regular, and L2 Colors. Carmie Q’d/1 in all three classes (51 points in jackpot!). No perching. No moments of disorientation. She did her weaves, she got the baby distance challenge. She did it, she did it.

Technically I should have moved her up to level 3 Colors, but after Saturday I needed less stress, not more. I am glad I stayed in Level 2. Next CPE trial we’ll have had more weave practice and hopefully we will be inside so the lighting will be more consistent.

I need to figure out a way to re-frame Carmie’s loss of sight for myself. It makes me so sad and discouraged when she cannot see and there is nothing I can do. I still haven’t figured out exactly which types of light she has trouble with. Dim light can be a problem, but glare seems to be the worst. Sometimes bright days are fine, depending on the “type” of sun. It’s quite anxiety inducing, and as I said discouraging. When Carmie can see she has SO much fun. When she can’t see my stomach drops to the floor I feel so bad for her.

So, I am thinking during the summer Carmie might be limited to indoor CPE trials where the lighting is consistent. I wish there were more indoor NADAC trials. We are already entered in the NADAC trial at the end of the month. I will probably scratch her from the middle of the day classes. I will think about outdoor trials again at the end of the season when the sun is different. I believe there is a NADAC trial in South Hadley at the end of the season that is in a barn. That would probably be doable. Other than me working on mentally re-framing the issue we really need to work on WEAVE POLES!!!


Nancy said...

It is tough to work with a vision problem, Stewie has a cataract in one of his eyes, and I am dreading when it causes him problems. It is worrying, I am glad you both got some good runs in. The trial in S. Hadley is in a nice indoor riding arena!

John Heffernan said...

I am sure you will figure out the vision thing and how to adjust to it.

Jules said...

Thank you both. I know it is just an issue of figuring out when she can see (or most likely see) and re-framing it mentally. I am just not quite sure how to do both those things yet. Hopefully we'll figure it out soon. We'll have to plan on the S. Hadley trial then!

101mutts said...

I think you mentioned Doggles in a previous post and that people had mentioned them to you... could they help?

But she probably wouldn't be allowed to wear them in the ring.

Carmie's so fun to watch when she's flying! Congratulations on the qualifying.

Labtopia said...

Hi Jules, please write to me if you get a chance. I have an agility dog with PRA too, and I would really like to compare notes. Here is our website:

My email address is


Katie and Trevor