Monday, July 22, 2013

K9 Kup 2

This past weekend the extremely hot weather finally broke and we had a most beautiful day for the second K9 Kup. Since I was still recovering from a torn calf muscle, a friend stepped in to run Keltic even though she had her own dog to run in the same height class.

Keltic and his K9 Kup ribbons
This month along with the Standard run,  the two games were Steeplechase and Snooker.  Keltic still isn't weaving so I told Lyne to try for the entry and if he didn't get it to just move on and even if he did by chance get the entry to just move on from that as well.

First up was Steeplechase, notice where Lyne places his leash and Keltic glancing at it and almost picking it up.  Since he sees nothing in his line to do he heads off on his own course but Lyne gets him back and off they go.  I knew he would like the back part of that Steeplechase, his two favourite obstacles the A-frame and the tunnel nearly back to back. We'll have to work on coming to the hand.

Next up was the Standard, not bad if you don't count the teeter fly-off.  Last weekend, it was his first full height teeter now his first fly-off, I think he's gaining confidence on the teeter. Tonight in our weaves class, I did put him on a low teeter and at first he didn't want to do it but one time with a few extra hot dogs and he was doing the teeter just fine again. Almost time to put my teeter in the backyard up to full height.

Last event was Snooker, Lyne was going to do red jump, tunnel, red jump, tunnel and red jump, tunnel before doing the close. I thought Keltic might have run the A-frame after the second red jump but he didn't and he also ran right by one of his favourite obstacles to go back over the first red jump....tweet... goes the whistle and the run is over. What you're seeing on the video is Lyne calling Keltic from the tunnel and doing the second red jump then Keltic running right by the tunnel to do the first red jump again. When Keltic started the course, he picked up his leash that Lyne left beside him and carried it with him over the jump but decided to drop it before doing the tunnel. At a real trial, that would have been an elimination but at K9 Kup since he didn't knock the bar, the run didn't stop there.

I think Keltic had a good time. I hope Lyne did too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fun Match

Keltic did a fun match on the weekend. Boy, was it hot out. We stayed for our two Standard runs and one of our two Snooker runs and then went home to our air conditioning.  Keltic, even given the heat, was quite ready to play. He had never been to this venue before but when I brought him up to the gate, he was jumping around just raring to go.

I was still recovering from a torn calf muscle so on the Standard course, I was going in with a plan just to do one obstacle at a time but Keltic had other plans.  It was also his first time at 16" so that's probably why he missed the tire. He still bounces over a lot of jumps but over a couple in the video I can see that he is jumping a little better. If it wasn't so hot outside we would do some jump grids so I could video him at 10" and at 16".

In his second time on the Standard course, a friend ran him for me and my little pumpkin head did the whole course for her, well except for the weaves but he doesn't know how to do those yet.  So this weekend, Lyne will try and run him at the Kanine Kup. If he doesn't run off leash than she can run him for exhibit on leash at least that way he can get more experience with a different handler, equipment and venue.

In Snooker, I practiced calling him by obstacles and got him between two jumps, wasn't too much of a challenge as I was calling him to his favourite obstacle the A-frame.  I put him over the second red and managed to call him off the tunnel to do the A-frame again but we weren't as lucky over the third red, that tunnel was just too enticing.  Then we just worked on tunnel, tire until our time was up as he was having difficulty with the 16" tire.

Overall he did very well given the heat and the fact that he hasn't jumped 16" that much.  I'd like to start thinking about entering him in trials but I'm going to wait until he's weaving.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Canada Cup - The Finale

When I got up Sunday morning, my calf was rock-hard and really really stiff, I hoped it would limber up as I used it but I kind of knew in my heart I wasn't going to be able to run.

I arrived at Royackers to find out that Beckett had qualified for the Jumpers final as well. He had qualified in 7th place an even better finish than we had for Steeplechase, the running order below is posted in reverse order. I found Susan Royackers and told her that we had to scratch, everyone asked me, "won't he run for someone else" but there was no one there that we had even tried to have him run with them.

I picked up course maps anyway and went and got the dogs settled in their crates in the screen tent.  I'm not ashamed to say that when the other 16" finalists started their walk through for Steeplechase, I had tears in my eyes.

I'm sure Beckett would have done well in this Steeplechase, we may not have been the fastest but we might have had a chance for the podium but now we don't know. I did video the other bi-black sheltie, Jazz and her handler, they had an excellent run.

The last final we would have been in was Jumpers, again when I looked at the course map, I felt that Beckett would have done just fine, he threadles well, has a good around, only the last line of jumps might have given us a bit of a problem if I hadn't been able to keep up with him.

Again I videoed Jazz, her handler even handled the jumps after the second tunnel like I would have.

After the finals were done they set up for the awards ceremony but first they had a competitors' raffle. Each of the competitor's names were put in a bag and when your name was drawn, you went an drew a number from another bag and that was the number of the prize you won. There were tunnels, big gift baskets, and lots of other great items, we won a sport umbrella.  We also won a prize in a raffle to help another handler and her dog go to the Paragility Games in Hungary.

Adrian Royackers and the Canada Cup Judges
16 " Winners - Steeplechase

16" Winners - Jumpers
 The Steeplechase winners got a nice big black and white ribbon, oh how we would have liked to get one of those.

So we've already put the dates for next year's Canada Cup into our calendar and we'll try again to qualify for the finals. Who knows maybe even Keltic might be ready to give it a try.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Canada Cup - Part 2

The next day, most of the day was just overcast and when it did rain the rain wasn't nearly as heavy, sometimes the sun even tried to peep through.

The day started with Gamblers which we hadn't entered so again we didn't have to get up as early as some competitors.  There were over 120 dogs registered for the Canada Cup events. It's quite unbelievable that we got in that many runs and didn't really finish all that late in the evening.

The Gamblers event was really unique, three mini gambles with one main gamble, if you did all three minis in your opening you received an additional 20 points and you got 5 points for each obstacle of the main gamble you completed.  When the buzzer went to end the opening, you also had to take the two jumps (or go between the uprights) before you could attempt the main gamble. There were some pretty spectacular runs. The link is to the run of winner of the 22" Height class, pretty darn amazing!

We started our day with the second Grand Prix. It was a bit of a train wreck for us. Beckett knocked a bar and then came back between the uprights, 5 faults for the bar, 5 faults for the off-course, then he totally blew off his dog walk. I don't think he's ever come off like that since we got to Masters which is not to say he always gets the contact.  If this had been a regular trial, our run would have certainly included some training in the ring. Then he also got 5 faults for missing his A-frame contact, so with 20 faults added to our time we were way out of it.  

So making the finals in Gran Prix was not to be, I hoped that our next run Steeplechase would go a little smoother. And it did, although not super fast, Beckett was clean with a time of 38.10 but he finished in 13th place so I wasn't sure if he would make the finals; only 9 dogs in his height class would make the finals in this event.

Our last run of the day Jumpers started well enough although I did a front cross after 3 when I had planned to post turn. It worked out all right as Beckett was a little forgiving, and took 4 without spinning and let me get back into position for obstacle 5. After that the run went well until I did a blind cross at the far end of obstacle 16 to set Beckett up for the last four jumps. Then without warning something in the calf of my left leg gave way and we had to do a hop, skip and jump finish which probably ended up adding 3 or 4 seconds to our time. Not sure what place Beckett finished this event in but his run was clean and, given the circumstances, in a respectable 36.91 seconds. Fellow competitors got me some Advil, water and an ice pack right after our run.

By now they had posted the Steeplechase finalists and I was very happy to see Beckett had placed 8th overall and so had made it to the finals.

As it didn't rain too much during the day and the forecast for Sunday was very promising, they made the announcement that the even would be outdoors on Sunday. We moved our crates down to the screen tent along with some other gear so it would be there in the morning.

I hoped whatever happened with my leg that by Sunday, like a bad cramp, the stiffness would have eased enough to allow me to run.  We didn't wait for the Jumpers results but went back to the hotel, fed the dogs and then I went out for a quick bite to eat. When I got back to the hotel frozen waters bottles and hot bath were the prescription for my leg.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Canada Cup 2013 - Part 1

The Canada Cup is an annual event hosted by Adrian and Susan Royackers on their property in Ariss, Ontario. It draws competitors from all over Canada and the United States.

I've wanted to go to the Canada Cup for many years but in the past I would have had to go as a spectator as dogs have to jump their regular jump height and Ceilidh and Tucker both jumped as Specials. This year, since we weren't going to Nationals and because a friend also decided to go, I entered Beckett. I hoped we wouldn't be totally outclassed by the level of competition and that we'd be at least in the middle of the pack.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, 27 June in Guelph and headed out to Royackers to set up our screen tent so that would be one less thing to worry about in the morning. We set up the tent, even though with the weather forecast of rain and lots of it, we had been told that the event would likely be conducted indoors. I was totally impressed with the venue from the top field, to the pond, to the outdoor ring. The fields were like golf fairways, impeccably groomed.

Beckett playing Frisbee and Keltic running off to visit yet again

The pond

The dock

The top field with RV parking just off to the right

View of the pond from the top field

 In three of the events, Grand Prix, Steeplechase and Jumpers, there are two preliminary rounds with the top 45% of dogs moving on to the finals. The other two events are Snooker and Gamblers with the winners being decided by the single run. There is also one event for veteran dogs, a jumpers challenge.

I only entered Beckett in the Grand Prix, Steeplechase and Jumpers as your entry fee ensured you two runs and because the registration form said that the rules for the Snooker and Gamblers would be announced on the day of the event so I wasn't sure what to make of that. The rules at Canada Cup are a bit different than those of the Agility Association of Canada. For one there are no refusals called; we like that, as having a dog that sometimes gets a bit spinny, it was nice that we were only losing time. As well, most things were only accorded 5 faults, teeter fly-offs were 10 faults and non-completion of an obstacle was 20 faults.  The placements in each event, other than the two games, was determined by time plus faults so a fast dog could afford to make a small error.

Friday, 28 June, we arrived at Royackers in time for the general briefing and afterwards set up our crates in one of the buildings that were connected to the indoor arena. It was nice that we did not have to go outside to get our dogs as it poured rain for much of the day.  We got to watch most of the Snooker runs, which were really amazing, as the only way to win was to go for four 7's and get the full closing for a perfect Snooker.

Our first event was Grand Prix. We had never run a Grand Prix event before, it was a lot of fun.  It has all the obstacles you would find in a Standard event but the courses, I found, flowed smoother and weaves were judged at Starter or Novice level like Steeplechase.  In this first run, Beckett had two bars down and as a result he didn't place very high but being his first run, I was just glad he hadn't come in last.

Our next event was Steeplechase which is one of our favourite events because even in the AAC, there are no refusals called.  I felt really in sync with Beckett on this run and we finished the clean run in a time of 33.61 seconds which was good enough for 5th place.

Fifth place finish for Beckett

Our last event of the day was Jumpers. We had a clean round in this event too;  it was not spectacularly fast and we finished in 10th place. There were 20 dogs in our height class so I thought unless we did much better the next day that we probably only had a chance to make the Steeplechase finals.

I was very happy with how Beckett was running, two clean runs and he was right in the thick of things.

Since it had rained so much they made the announcement at the end of day that Saturday's events would be indoors too. It was a very long day, we headed back to the hotel to feed the dogs and then went out for dinner ourselves. The next morning came far too early but since we weren't in the Games event, we didn't have to be in a big rush to get back to Royackers.