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Friday, April 10, 2009

Competition Courses - Spot 4-10-2009

Today's Trial was Excellent only with one of my favorite judge's, Kurt Matushek. I've known Kurt from Chicago when I first started running agility 13 years ago. He and his wife Jean are wonderful, wonderful people.

Kurt's courses were a lot of fun and I ran them with my Border Collie, Spot. Spot and I haven't been training or trialing for several months, regardless, I've worked hard to train Spot so that both of us can pick up right where we left off and run a good race.

It was great to see Spot's eyes when we entered the building as they were as big as saucers and he was so excited to be getting back to Agility and to be working together again.

On the Excellent Standard Course, one of my favorite challenges was to get a TIMELY front cross in between jumps #5 & #6. To do this, I started my cross well before the #5 jump, made sure I had my dog's attention & didn't drive in to the landing side of the #5 jump. Instead I allowed my dog to curl into me and made sure my path moved toward #6 and not the off-course tire.

My next favorite challenge was to do a front cross between #12 & #13, the a-frame. By using the table to accomplish a lead out and by keeping a very efficient line which allowed me to stay ahead of my dog, I was able to get a front cross in before the a-frame which took out the off course jump at the end of the a-frame. 

A very fun course! Attached is a copy of Spot's Exc Std Run.

Next was the Excellent JWW course. It too provided a couple of really nice challenges while still providing a fast, fun and flowing course.

My first favorite challenge was between jumps #5 thru #9.  The challenge of handling the 270 and not sending the dog into the off-course tunnel was a great way to work the power of a handler's movement. If a handler pointed or pushed in the wrong direction, the dog was sure to shoot off in the wrong direction.

The next challenge was to get a timely front cross in after the tunnel to work the ending. Quite a few handlers chose to hang back and do a rear cross over the #18 jump. In contrast, I chose to keep driving forward and do a front cross before #18. I started my front cross very early, as Spot was coming over #17.  I stayed in the cross and continued moving backward. I stayed facing Spot's line so that I could que the #18 with my left hand AND pick him up on my left as he landed after #18 and already rounding to #19.

Over all, I was pleased with the maneuver, but in hindsight would have taken one less step backward to tighten up Spot's turn around #18.

Below is Spot's JWW video, enjoy!

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