In mid-September I decided to take the girls to a CKC trial in Calgary. We unfortunately missed most of the trials this summer due to my hectic schedule training for the World Championships in Ultimate Frisbee, and so we are just getting back into the swing of things for the fall. The girls are both very happy about this. Kili had hurt a toe in August right after I got home from Worlds, and so she had to be on agility hiatus. I did allow her to run in this trial but only 1 run per day, and because her championship is finished she only ran Jumps and Tunnels which is a bit of a newer class. She did great and Q'd in both.
Kenna on the other hand had a very full weekend with 5 runs each day. Saturday went awesome for us, except for some slipping and dropped poles due to the wet ground. But she was engaged and didn't otherwise put a paw out of place.
Sunday was a bit of a different story. I think I've realized that I need to enter more 2 day trials with her! She struggled a bit on Sunday, and honestly I think she was just mind blown at running a second day and a little bit of puppy came out. She was a little unfocused, making some uncharacteristic choices. Nothing like Kili back in the day (and sometimes still in the current day, ha ha!) but certainly out of character for my serious, focused Kenna. That's not a surprise though. She needs to learn to work through being both simultaneously aroused AND tired, and I think that was the struggle for her. We also just had bad luck. On two good Jumpers runs we had bars in one and then I messed up in the other.
Overall I was pretty happy with the weekend. I approached the weekend with the mindset that I wasn't going to baby any of the handling... I was going to run it like I know we can in practice and trust myself and my dog. Sometimes in agility we might see a hard section of the course and two ways to run it. One which is better and faster, and one that is SAFER but not necessarily as pretty or as smooth. Us casual competitors often just want the Q (nothing wrong with that!) and so we take the safer option. But sometimes to get better we need to test our skills that we know (or think) we have in practice to see if we have them in a trial setting. And sometimes it helps us identify areas that need more work.
We got some Q's (and therefore points toward Top Dog!) and we also had some great take aways on skills that need to be worked on more. There is always something to do in agility training... your dog is never totally trained.