Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ace Agility Trial

Yesterday Bug, Carmie, and I attended the Ace Agility Trial at the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center in South Hadley, MA. We stayed at a friend's house in Northampton the night before so we wouldn't have to leave the house at 5 a.m. - that was a wise choice given Saturday ended up being VERY wet!

I entered Carmen in Nov. Touch n Go, Nov. Regular, Open Tunnelers, and Open Jumpers. I entered Bug in Nov. Tunnelers and Nov. Jumpers. I took pictures of the course maps but forgot to take a picture of Open Jumpers! D'oh. It was a nice course.

I was a bit worried about the lighting. The barn had no sun lights (and it was pouring so there was no sun to be had), but it did have some material on the sides that allowed light to pass through (if there was any). The lighting seemed dim - see the picture below.

Amazingly, Carmie did not have ANY issues with the lighting. I think consistency of lighting must be more important for her than the quality at this point? Good to know. She also wasn't too stressed about staying at my friend's house which I consider another sign of her vision health.

The footing at this facility was great - dirt and not too thick. The only downside was given it was pouring every time you came back in dirt stuck to everything. Carmie looked like a mud covered drowned rat!

Novice Touch n Go Carmie FAILED the discrimination between the A-Frame and the tunnel. She could have been successful except, I called her TOO hard and she ended up taking the opposite end of the tunnel. There is a middle ground, I know there is.

Really nice things about this was our first run and I was really worried about the lighting, BUT I did not babysit the hoops! I have never practiced with hoops other than running courses with them at trials. I worry that Carmen doesn't know her job in regards to them and typically babysit them a bit.

Yesterday I ran this course like I meant it and Carmen was really moving nicely. Coming out of the 6 tunnel, through the hoops, tunnel and dog walk she really picked up speed and I didn't baby sit. Carmen has really nice contacts. A lot of dogs where having difficulty with the dog walk. The ramps were very steep and there were no slats. You repeatedly saw dogs crouch as though they were on the teeter. No issues for Carmie. NQ/1.

Novice Regular we failed the discrimination AGAIN. This time I put Carmen in a stay slightly angled to the left of the dog walk. Hoping to take the tunnel out of the picture. I led out slightly further than mid-way between the jump and A-frame and called her hard to me and said A-frame. She took the tunnel. Gah! All I have to say is I am going to make DAMN sure this is not an issue with Bug. We are going to work REALLY hard on discrimination issues. She nailed her weaves which made me very happy. NQ/1

Tunnelers was a fun run. I have had an epiphany of sorts. Last trial both dogs ran Tunnelers in the exact same course time. I realized that both my dogs are running at my speed and in general I do not run courses like I mean them. I play it cautious. I decided that I would change that. I hadn't consciously formed the thought, but I acted upon it in Touch n Go. In Tunnelers I consciously made the decision I would try to run my butt off and trust my dog(s) and I did! And both dogs had SUPER runs. Carmie was at least 5 seconds under course time (maybe more), which given she is running in Open and it is tighter for us is a big deal. Q/2 for both dogs.

Carmie's Open Jumpers run was really nice. I again ran like I meant it and called her off of jump 16. However I got her back with out her back-jumping it and she nailed the course - well under time. Q/2.

Novice Jumpers was the last run of the day and Bug was fried. He went around the 2nd jump - I think with the intention of visiting. I got him back and thought I would be successful in getting him over the jump, but then I crowded him and pushed him around it again - and he back jumped. The rest of the run was smooth, fast, and beautiful. And, even with all the fussing around jump 2 he was only 2 seconds over course time (with a 10 pt fault). NQ/4.

It was a great day and gives me hope that Carmie can continue to trial indoors for a bit. I don't think the lighting was ideal and she handled it well - moving very confidently.

Now the bad news. I was about a half hour into my trip home when my dashboard started going haywire. The ABS light came on, then the brake light, then the airbag light. The dashboard lights started dimming, my headlights started to go and when I tried to put my hazards on and pull over my car started making a bizarre buzzing noise. My brakes and steering wheel didn't want to cooperate. When I finally got pulled over I couldn't get my car into park. When I called AAA they said they couldn't come get me because I was on a privately owned highway (the Mass. Turnpike) and connected me with the State Police!

An hour later a tow truck arrived and I was on my way home. The two truck driver and my husband think it is something electrical. I just had my car in for a 15,000 mile check up last Saturday - so I hope it is something small.

We were supposed to have a herding lesson today, but with no car (although John said I could borrow his) and a VERY late and stressful night I decided to scrap it and stay home and relax. Hopefully my car will be fixed quickly and we'll be ready for next week's lesson.


Sara said...

Doesn't the state of Mass. own the Mass Pike? If the Mass Pike is "private", what the heck is a "public" road?

Hope the rain caused something to go wrong with your car's computer and it just needs to be reset. What a major bummer. Glad you are ok.

Sounds like before that you were having a great weekend! I saw the same issues on a slatless dogwalk on Saturday. Dogs really notice everything.

Diana said...

Im so glad you had great runs and the Carmen did well even though the lighting looked bad.

Ugh, car problems. Scary. I hope it isnt something expensive. Diana

Katrin said...

Your poor car! The little matchbox is having issues, not good! Glad you are all ok though. yeah i don't get AAA sometimes. They make no sense. And sounds like you had some good runs, congrats!

Holly said...

The NYS thruway is the same way, meaning they have their own contractors BUT when we had a flat AAA was able to call the thruway contracted tow truck to come fix us. Glad you are home safe!

Sam said...

Wow, that lighting IS really dim! Looks like you guys did a great job at the trial. My girl has A-Fram/tunnel discrimination issues too. Unfortunately, since I don't have access to an A-Frame outside of agility class, it has been a hard issue to work on.

Nancy said...

Hi Julie,
You had great runs yesterday, and Carmen looked fast and confident.
Keep running fast!

Dawn said...

Sorry about your car. I hate car problems. Sounds like a good agility weekend though, congrats on Q's and also on those learning opportunities. Sometimes those really are the besst part of the weekend. (our teacher makes us really run in class to reinforce that running thing-darn her!, but it has helped me get better at trials)

Dawn Small said...

That's pretty screwed up about the AAA thing! Good to know, though. I'm glad you made it home safely, if late and frazzled.