trial weekend

A big weekend for a little border collie (and a Lumen). Our first overnight trial. It was a nice one because they started at 12.30 on Saturday which meant we didn’t have to get up at 5.30am to get there. Yay! It was super humid all weekend with thunder rumbling away in the distance for most of it. Luckily none of my guys mind thunder so it didn’t really affect them. Though, the heat absolutely killed Lu, she doesn’t do heat, nope.

Loki’s runs on Saturday were…. reasonable. He knocked about 4-5 bars per run. He looked like he tried to adjust on the DW, and he missed his weave entry but once we tried again he weaved beautifully.

Here is a video of him going very fast and knocking some bars down.

Lumen had a run in masters jumping because I like the judge and it was a very fun course. People were doing all sorts of things – threadle tunnels, layering things, forced front crosses… because I had Lumen I opted for our Go-To handling style which is for me to run as fast as I reasonably can, blind cross everything where practical, and keep her in extension at all times. I actually managed to do handling completely different to anyone else I saw walking the course because they all wanted to go “COOOOOMMMEEEE’ into a tunnel, and I looked at that and remembered how Lumen thinks tunnel threadles are just the stupidest thing invented, so I ran really fast instead, looked over my shoulder and did a blind cross, putting me where I needed to be. No need for threadles. Hey! Here’s a video.

Unfortunately I didn’t connect with her after that 2nd jump so she blew me off and went in the other end of the tunnel. Turning does NOT come easily to Lumen and she really, really needs my help in these situations. Other than that, not a bad run!

Then we camped near this big, big lake! It was excitingly big because Australia doesn’t really have big lakes. This lake could have been in Switzerland. It was cool. Except there’s a lot of water in this whole area which meant a lot of mosquitoes. We woke up in the morning to the sound of buzzing as layer between the tent and the fly was COVERED in them. Eww.

IMG_1048

So much lake. So many mosquitoes

Then we went back for day two. Loki had mixed results. As in, at one point I was questioning whether he was at all ready to trial. With bars down, and in both agility courses not being able to get his weave entries, hit dogwalk colours or actually do anything that resembled the course. Oh he likes going very fast, but this is a problem when I need him to ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION. His agility runs were a mess.
But then the afternoon came and I decided to take a leaf out of Silvia’s book (explanation in a moment) and went in there calm and non-frazzled. His jumping run? 2 bars down. Not bad! His agility run? An acceptable dogwalk hit, still didn’t manage to get the weave entry, and only 2 bars. Otherwise a clear run. Of course, neither of these two-best-runs-of-the-weekend got filmed. But that’s ok.

I remember when Silvia started trialling To she said that she basically stopped running – she wanted to make sure To wouldn’t drop bars so she could get out of A1. Now, look, I’m not necessarily in any rush to get out of Novice – though to be honest I think  all the GO REALLY FAST IN STRAIGHT LINES AND DO WHATEVER IS DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU!!!!!! is very much working against Loki in that whenever I DON’T want him to do whatever’s in front of him, he finds it very hard not to. But I did find that when it came to the home run of the jumping course, my instinct was RUN HARD, RUN HARD! But I told myself no, I was doing an experiment, don’t run hard. Take it easy. So I did, and the bars stayed up.

I had some advice, too, from an old-school competitor that I shouldn’t do long leadouts with him because then he focuses on me, not on the jumps (after he misjudged his takeoff and crashed into the first bar of the course (here’s that video)) to which… I was not overly convinced. I actually think setting him up far from the first bar doesn’t work for him – it’s not like he needs a big run-up after all. As soon as I started setting him up closer, he had no trouble with that bar. Plus on the course I had to do with literally 5 jumps in a straight line leadout (including the spread – an obstacle I think he hasn’t NOT knocked so far…) he didn’t knock a single bar there (even the spread! Verbal praise galore!) because I WASN’T RUNNING. I took it easy. So maybe this is something.

And I have to work on weave entries from stopped starts (tables, leadouts with a jump before, etc). These were very hard for us. Possibly any entries would be. But they were looking so so good at home.

Oh! And I nearly got a pass with Lu but temporarily forgot where I was going so then I tried to push her back onto the right line and the bar came down. DAMNIT! It would have been our first excellent agility pass.

Oh, and while I was waiting to run Loki, people started shouting “Loose dog! Loose dog!” so I looked around and there was a big orange bundling bundle of fluff. Apparently my senior citizen dog had done a jail-break when we weren’t there, smashed up his crate, broken out, avoided the people who tried to blockade and coral him (he’s too spry for them!!!) and found me all the way on the other side of the field. He was quite pleased. He got relegated to the boot (trunk?) of the car for the rest of the afternoon. Poor Malmal. Still, surely after so many years of competing, he knows how to be crated. I don’t know why he chose that precise moment to come find me. Weirdo. Maybe he wanted to relive his glory days.

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