Sunday, March 05, 2017

OC Trial - March Madness Begins!

Kili and I were at an agility trial last weekend and this weekend, kicking off the start of an insane month of trials and dog shows. Last weekend Kili ran absolutely amazing on some really tough courses, and she wasn't too shabby this weekend either. I was really pleased with her effort in Gamble even though she didn't Q. The final gamble was pretty tough, and I was impressed with her focus and listening. She tried really hard to figure out what I wanted.

I was also really happy that she managed to Q this Steeplechase run. It was the very last run of the day and I could tell she was tired. She didn't even try to make the weave pole entry, which is usually the first piece of equipment that starts to suffer. Also, this was the 6th set of weave poles I asked her to do. There were the 2 sets in Gamble (see the video above), then there was a set in Standard (no video, she ran very well, just got a refusal on a jump which was partly my fault), and then 2 more in Snooker (which she Q'd). Luckily weave poles are judged at a Starter level in Steeplechase, which means there are no faults unless you fail to complete them, they just eat up time which is precious in this event. Then she had a refusal at the A-frame, but there are no faults for that in Steeplechase, again it just eats up precious time. The allowed time in Steeplechase is generally quite tight. We have frequently found that if we have a bobble at the weave poles, we cannot make time. However, despite 2 errors, Kili was still 3 seconds under time. She absolutely FLEW on this course.

I do want to point something out though for those of you at home. The minimum spacing in AAC is 15 feet. When I walked the course, I had already identified that the space between the two yellow jumps after/before the A-frame was very short (the minimum 15ft allowed). I considered that the first pass might be alright since speed would be reduced by the stopped contact of the A-frame, however I had a strong suspicion that on the way back this would be a bounce jump. A bounce jump is when the dog does not take a stride between landing and take off... the landing of one jump IS the take off for the next jump. This is very difficult for the dog in terms of timing, and requires a great athletic effort. I do believe that part of the reason she missed the A-frame is because that too would have technically been a bounce jump. A very seasoned competitor came up to me afterwards and told me she didn't think my dog had any chance of making that A-frame safely, and kudos to my dog for having the sense to bail out.

You will see in a lot of the other jumps, that although she doesn't bounce them, she is unable to take a full stride, she is basically throwing in a half stride or a stutter step. I'm a little concerned to see what is going to happen when the jump heights change and Kili goes up to 24", because I think a few more of these jumps might turn into bounces at a higher height. I'm going to start doing some work with Kili on her striding and recognizing that she can decel and throw an extra step in.

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