Since about a week before Cynosport, I have been nursing a hip flexor strain that my doctor has said I need to rest. Me being the agility addict that I am, I could not stay away from the plethora of local fall trials. Since getting home from Cynosport the boys and I have been to Jack Russell nationals, the Talbot Kennel Club AKC trial and this past weekend attended Kinetic Dog’s tournament only trial. I decided to have the Kinetic trial be our last trial for about 8 weeks to allow my leg to fully heal. The main reason I wanted to attend Kinetic’s trial was to get our 2012 team Q’s for Cynosport next year. Yes, I realize Cynosport is a year away and I have plenty of time to get our team Q’s but like I said earlier, I am an addict and I probably need help.
The Jack Russell Nationals was an interesting weekend. The trial took place at the North Mountain Fairgrounds in Gettysburg, PA on Oct 29-30. On Saturday we had a nor-easter come in and pummel us with about 6″ of snow! Talk about miserable!! Stayed in the car most of the day except when it was our turn to run. Making our way back to the hotel was treacherous, the roads had a layer of ice under the snow. Many places lost power, luckily our hotel was fine and we were walking distance to a restaurant that stayed open for dinner. Sunday was sunny and warm although muddy because of the snow melt. Luckily they had moved agility under cover for both days so we were able to run the dogs in dry conditions. Zip and Zorro did great. Zip came home with the Agility Champion perpetual trophy for the 12.5″ and under division. What a superstar!! Zorro ended up 3rd overall in the over 12.5″ division. Dasher and I had some timing issues all weekend. The agility ring was quite small and with all of Dasher’s momentum it was tough on both of us getting our timing right. We overshot or undershot some of the challenges which cost us some Q’s. Regardless of the outcome all three boys did great and gave me 110%. We love getting the opportunity to hang out with other “Jack people” and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. It was a nice wind down after the intensity of Cynosport.
Our next trial was the Talbot Kennel Club’s AKC trial in Queenstown, MD. This is my local club’s agility trial and always a fun time. Dogs were their usual wonderful selves. Running outside on the uneven grass surface was tough on my leg but I was able to somewhat manage to keep up with them. Zorro was a good boy and earned his Excellent A Standard and Excellent A Jumpers with Weaves titles on Saturday. He now gets to “officially” compete with his brothers. Zip and Dash did great too, no QQ’s but we did get a few Q’s each day.
This past weekend we drove up to Barto, PA for Kinetic Dog’s tournament only trial. All three dogs were entered in Team, Steeplechase and Grand Prix. I decided I need to start working on Zorro’s Lifetime Achievement metallic titles so I need to start entering him in more tournament events. This past year I have been so concentrated on Zip’s goals I feel like poor Zorro has been neglected a bit. It will be nice to start running him a bit more this coming year. Jeannette was generous enough to dust the cobwebs off her steady-eddie BC, Jasper to team up with Zorro, team “J-Z”. Dasher teamed up with my friend Dawn and her super little mixed breed Ollie, team “Squirrel Assassins”. Zip once again teamed up with our team from the past year, “Hijacked at the Border” with Jeannette and Rumble and Mary Ellen. Unfortunately Mary Ellen’s dog, E-Z was injured so she had to borrow a BC. BC, Stat, stepped in for E-Z.
The facilities at Barto are great, inside on sprint turf. I knew that would be easier on my leg. My goal for the weekend was to hopefully get a team Q for all three boys as well as the 2nd Grand Prix Q for Dasher for 2012. We ran Steeplechase rounds 1 and 2 on Friday night. Dasher was wired to the hilt but we managed a 1st place finish in both rounds. Zorro was clean in both rounds and ended up 2nd to his big brother. Zip was having a great round one but decided hitting the yellow for the 2nd A-frame was too much trouble so we stopped at that point. If I had not corrected him in round 1 my fear was that our contacts would be non-existent for the team events, so I “took one for the team” if you will. The rest of the team event went great for all the dogs. Zip earned 1st place in all the 4 team classes and ended up 1st place overall in the 12″ division. Dasher earned 2nd place in all 4 classes and ended up in 2nd place overall in the P12″ division. Zorro held his own and was 4th place overall in the P12″ division. All 3 teams earned qualifying scores, Dasher’s team came in 2nd overall, Zorro’s team, 3rd and Zip’s team 8th. The last class of the weekend was Grand Prix. When I walked the course it seemed pretty straight forward, a couple of challenges but certainly “do-able” or at least I thought… All I can say is that Dave Grubel’s GP course kicked my butt 3 times!! I made the same mistake with both Dasher and Zip on a rear cross send. I could have handled the rear a different way but I wanted to work on this type of rear cross send as this tends to be something I need to work on. Clearly I need to continue to practice this as I botched it up twice!! Zorro was having a great run but we “E’d” on a tunnel A-Frame discrimination. I saw him look right at me and head for the correct A-frame approach then at the last second he changed his lead and shot into the tunnel. Oh well! Some good homework to take home from that course, thanks Dave!! The good news is that Zorro ran this last run with lots of spunk. After a long weekend its tough to keep him running hard so I was happy to see his level of drive after a long weekend.
I will share some of our runs from the weekend. I picked different courses from the weekend so everyone could get a good idea of what we were running. Dave’s courses were great, super fun and challenging. Leave it to Dave to keep me on my toes!
Dasher’s Team Jumpers run, gotta love the “puppy cannon”!
Zip’s Team Snooker run, the #3 obstacle was the long jump, the angled approach from the tunnel took out a lot of dogs. Dave made great use of the long jump all weekend 🙂
Zorro’s Team Standard run, he was a bit pokey on this run, it was the last run of the day for him on Saturday. Lots of tricky areas on this course, lots of dogs hitting the long jump as well as running into trouble at the threadle.
Now that I am officially benched for the next couple of months I have a couple of winter projects planned with the boys. While at Cynosport I bought a couple of balance discs from “Fit Paws” to work on core strengthening. Fit Paws was also at Jack Russell Nationals so I bought a “peanut ball” for more exercises. I was talking with some friends at Cynosport and they had great things to say about exercising the dogs this way. Their dogs got faster on course and noticeably stronger in climbing up the contacts. I will be working all three dogs on core strengthening this winter as I think it will benefit everyone. I have also decided to try running contacts with all three boys. I think it will really benefit Zorro in keeping his momentum through the course. I know I am losing valuable time with Zip on his contacts so I am hoping the running contacts will make us more competitive. I was on the fence about trying running contacts with Dasher but I think I may give it a try just to see how it pans out. Just hope I will be able to keep up with him once he gets the hang of it. I am going to try and video tape my training sessions for my own documentation and will post here as often as I can. Would love to get feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the process!!
Happy holidays everyone!!