Monday, November 30, 2009

Another good night :-)

I am so very proud of my Nix, second trial in a row to be the only qualifier in Excellent Jumping!! It was quite a nice course, courtesy of Mel Rhoden, with a combination of flowing sections interspersed with some interesting challenges and tight turns.

I was really happy again with the way Nix was reading my body cues, especially on the serpentine out of the tunnel (which we haven't done a lot of in competition - or in training for that matter!!). My front crosses are getting faster and thus Nix is travelling a lot tighter through them. I do need to rework my start lines though - typical thing, in training I can get a really decent lead out but come to trials and it seems I can only get to the second obstacle. Another thing to add to the training list for summer!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Camper!!

So last night saw saw Nixy and I return to our first night trial, hosted by Perth Training. Thankfully the impending rain decided to circle around the grounds and only delivered a few drops before courses started being run.

A quick check of the catalogue and although Novice Agility and Excellent Jumping were going to run at the same time it did not appear that Nix's runs would clash - always a good thing!! Off to walk the courses.......

Novice Agility - not bad. Couple of challenges - one for the weave entry and the other a 270 after the table. Other than that fairly straight forward up and down the ring.

Excellent Jumping - One needed to be able to keep a level head here - so many front crosses that even if you remembered the course you'd be lucky if you didn't get dizzy and fall over!! A number of challenging turns and possible off courses.

So our first run was Excellent Jumping. Watching a few dogs before me and there were knocked bars, off courses, and one competitor who decided they would try dancing with the judge in the middle of their run!! Nice one Jules ;) Then it was our go. Well I couldn't have been happier with my girl - her turns were tight (well most of them), she decelerated at all the right spots and then powered back out when required, she seemed to be reading my body cues a lot better and I wasn't having to verbalise to her quite as much. Her speed is increasing and we are working much better as a team. Result... Clear round!! Happy Camper. Turned out that we were the only ones to gain a clear round and thus first place!!! Bonus.

Quick drink and a few minutes rest and it was into Novice Agility. I'll be honest and say I wasn't holding up much hope here as Nix is still struggling with the weavers. So I figured I'd still go in and bypass the weaves, but give her some practice on the other equipment in a true trial setting. Well low and behold Nix weaved!! Yup first time ever and on the left (she much prefers to enter on my right as she has a clear picture of what she has to do - wrap the first pole), I think I was in shock for the rest of the course, that said though, I still do not think that she truly understands the concept of the weavers. She did a lovely A-Frame and didn't budge on the table. Best bit though was how she read my body cues for the 270, she decelerated beautifully and just popped over the bar with a nice angle and straight around to take the next jump and complete the 270 - I was so excited at how she handled it I forgot to call quick enough for the dog walk and we had an off course. Sorry Nix! There was also none of the hesitancy on the down ramp of the dog walk like I had been getting. So although not a clear round I was thrilled with the sections of work we put together - Happy Camper again.

Jetzen had a great night out too. LOTS of socialising with so many different breeds and ages of dogs - it was fabulous. He is Mr Social so he loved it, myself however... I find I have to work so much harder for his attention than what I did with Phoenix, I have to be a lot more on the ball to reward for every piece of attention I get. That said he is very good at focusing on me, and also regaining his focus after being distracted. Very much a happy go lucky loping puppy. I will update shortly with some more of his training.

So all in all an excellent night. Great atmosphere, lots of laughs, and some wonderful time spent with my furry 'kids'.

Phoenix - Excellent Jumping First Place