Monday, November 9, 2015

Agility Weekend at AARF

This past weekend marked the start of Absolute Agility Recreational Facility's indoor trial season. They host indoor trials at a fairgrounds about an hour from my house. The trials are run in an agricultural arena with an attached large heated room for crating.  You are also permitted to have your dog off leash in the fields beside the arena. You do have to watch for a few cars as some people cut through the fairgrounds to go into the village.

On Saturday, it was all Masters events and Sunday was the Starters and Advanced events; that worked out good for me as I was able to focus on running only one dog.  Beckett ran in four events on Saturday and Keltic got his turn on Sunday afternoon.

Beckett was in Snooker, Steeplechase and two Standards. The Snooker was up first and as we just got our Bronze award we are a long way from the next title so I was treating it a bit like a warm-up run. Because of that maybe I didn't handle things quite the way I should have.

Masters Snooker

We had a nice opening and were doing the close, Beckett was in the weaves and I was turning for the teeter (obstacle 6) when Beckett decided he was to do the jump (marked R3) before doing the teeter.  R3 stands for red jump 3, you only do the red jumps in the opening so we were whistled off the course and without having finished obstacle 6 and 7 we did not have enough points to Q. Perhaps I didn't turn sharply enough or give Beckett a verbal cue soon enough and he thought we were still going straight.

You be the judge, you can see most of our run from this video that a friend took.

Beckett did get a Q in Steeplechase, number 33. Only 17 more to go for his Silver Expert Award, that's a lot of qualifying scores.

He didn't Q in either Standard and those are the ones we really want as he only needs 8 more Standards for Silver Award of Merit which is given for 25 Standard and 50 Games qualifying scores. We already have all the Games we need, just need those Standards.

Master Standard 2

In the second Master Standard. I thought we had it. It was running so nicely I was actually ahead of Beckett, maybe too far ahead. I put him into the tunnel at 15 and did my turn to get ready to send him into the weaves but then I had to wait for him to come out of the tunnel. And Beckett did what he hardly ever ever does, he missed the weave entry. A friend said she thought I was too close but I watched him go by me right by pole 1 and into the weaves between pole 2 and 3. I think it was because I had stopped moving so when he came out of the tunnel there was no real cue to tell him where he was going.

So any way we ended the day with only one Q but that doesn't tell the whole story as he ran really well.

Sunday, we didn't have to be there until after lunch but we went early which was a good thing as Starters moved along quite quickly. We had time to take some pictures of Beckett and Keltic wearing their new Christmas collars and have a game of frisbee before settling in to study course maps.

Posing with new Christmas collars
Keltic's first two runs were Advanced Jumpers. You might remember I made a mistake and entered him in an event under a judge that he had already earned Qs with; to move to Masters you need three qualifying scores with at east two judges. All 3 of Keltic's were with the same judge so he needed another. He got a refusal in the first one and I was sure he had a refusal in the second run too but he ran well so I was happy with the runs.  Turns out in the second run we were outside the refusal zone when he turned back towards me so it was a Q.

Advanced Jumpers
What I thought was a refusal happened between jump 12 and the tunnel at 13, Keltic turned back towards me, spinning just a bit (he's no where's near as spinny as Beckett) before heading into the tunnel. So now Keltic moves up to the highest level Masters Jumpers.

Next up was an Advanced Snooker, Keltic knocked a red bar so we had to move onto the last red and getting him across the ring took a little time but I got him there and we finished our opening and had started the close when we ran out of time.  Always good when you can use the full 60 seconds and not get whistled off at a much shorter time, oh say 9 seconds.

Last up was an Advanced Standard, with all the issues I've been having with Keltic, I wasn't going to do Standards till we worked through a few of them.  One issue though I felt was best worked on in a trial situation and that is start line stays. He's been breaking his stay all this year and it's gotten to the point I can barely stand up and he's taking off. So I was pretty relaxed going into this event as all I thought we would be doing is start line stays and then dog walk contacts.

Advanced Standard

Keltic did break his start line but I got him back before he had a chance to cross the start line so the timer hadn't started the clock. The second time I sat him, he stayed! Then, surprisingly, he got his dog walk contact too and then we were off. When we got to the table, I thought he had a refusal there but I guess he moved sort of sideways to the table then hopped on without any backward motion so no refusal there. At the weaves a lot of dogs missed the entry. I had to do onside weaves as Keltic doesn't yet get the offside entry. Rather than trying to just use a verbal and an arm motion I did a false turn (sort of old school) which called him into me, when I turned back to the weaves, he didn't turn so I post turned and sent him into the weaves. You might not understand all the technical stuff but what's important is that when I sent him he went, got the entry, stayed in and did all 12 weaves. He then let me rear cross 13 and get him into the right end of the tunnel at 14. Then we were off again to run the obstacles on the outside of the ring to cross the finish line. I was very happy with how he ran but thought I had two refusals. A friend who had watched the run said "A Q for Keltic"; I took that to mean any time you have a really nice run it's as good as a Q. I still didn't realize he had a Q until I looked at the results. I was gobsmacked as they say in England.

First Advanced Standard Q for Keltic

So all in all we had a good weekend. I was very pleased with how both Beckett and Keltic ran. Keltic Pumpkinhead might not be such a pumpkinhead after all.


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