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Monday, September 21, 2009

Courses, Ashville, NC - 9/20/2009

Yesterday ended my fun-filled assignment in NC. The trial was great, but the travel back home was a bit adventurous - that story at the end.

But first, I'm going to start off with Excellent JWW. It was interesting how many people said the course was fun, but also hard. When I asked for more detail from one person, they specifically pointed out the beginning sequence.

I find that interesting because some did struggle with it and others made it look like a piece of cake. After giving it some thought, I think those that struggled did so because they set up #1 & #2 as a straight line and expected their dog to turn tightly to the left. I suspect quite a few dogs were focusing on the weaves and weren't necessarily prepared for the turn. A bit of late handling or cues added to this as well.

As for the serpentine going down in the tunnel, handlers positioned themselves so they were either on the right side of the jumps (closer to the middle of the course) or on the left side (closer to the ring gating). After watching both, I really liked the handling of those who were on the left because it didn't require a push to the tunnel and actually put handlers in a better position to pick up and cue the dog for the next sequence.

The next part that was a challenge to handlers was the weave pole entrance. The dogs had plenty of space to get the entrance, however some handlers were rushing and kept running before their dogs had a chance to load in the poles. Quite a few handlers have clearly practiced their weave entrances and did an exceptional job.

Last, but not least, the off course tunnel entrance called to many dogs. Most handlers who succumbed to this challenge were driving forward from the weaves, over the jump and it wasn't until the dog landed and was already locked on to the tunnel before they began calling their dog's in.

Overall, it was a very fast course and it looked like a lot of fun to run!
Next we have Excellent Standard. Ironically, we had the same beginning as in Jumpers and several dogs missed the #3 jump.

The next challenge was the off course tunnel entrance and I was surprised as how many dogs shot in there! Some of the dogs just had to have that side of the tunnel and other times handlers turned in to face their dog (handler on the right, dog on the left) and pushed their dog into it.

The remainder of the course was pretty straight forward and fast!

Again, what a wonderful club!

OK, on to traveling news. I made it to the Ashville airport with hours to spare and unlike what the schedule said on-line, all of the flights at the airport were delayed by quite a bit of time. The entire day I had a feeling it was going to be this way so can't say I was surprised. As I was up at the counter and checking in, they canceled the last flight out, which of course was the one I was scheduled to be on. Long story short, there were no hotels (the state fair was in town) and I'd potentially be stuck for a few days as most of the upcoming flights were already sold out.

I figured the next best thing was to try to make my flight in Atlanta by getting a car and praying weather & traffic cooperated. Mapquest said it was a 3 hr 40 minute trip, which would put me at the airport at about 8:45 for a 9:30 flight. Tight, but do-able...

So off I travel via car. From North Carolina I traveled down through South Carolina and into Georgia. Nice highway, nice scenery and the speed limit is 70 mph - YES! As luck would have it, I was at the airport by 8:00 p.m. - plenty of time for my flight.

As I go to check-in, I find out they've given my seat away. Seems they'd overbooked my flight and thought the cancellation of the Asheville flight would be a great opportunity to take privileges and bump me, even though they said they wouldn't. So now the irony is that I had to go on stand-by to get my seat back! Lucky for me, flights were delayed throughout the airport and at least 10 people weren't able to make my original flight so a seat was available.

Times are fun in this modern day of air travel, but I'm happy to be home! Regardless of the travel adventure, the time spent with the club and exhibitors in North Carolina was worth it. Thanks for the fun time everyone!

As a side note, there have only been 2 times in my 10 years of traveling as a judge that I've almost gotten stuck in a city. Today I looked up the prior location to be sure I was remembering correctly (which I was) and wouldn't you know it, back in 2003 I almost got stuck in Ashville, NC due to mechanical issues!

Now that's weird....

1 comment:

  1. Too funny it would be the same airport!! Loved looking at the courses. I've been out of agility for so long now (about 4 years) that it's good to keep my nose in things and look at the direction that course design and handling are being played out. I want to be prepared when I make my agility comeback! (who knows how long from now that will be...probably no one in agility will even remember me by then! LOL!) But I'll be ready!

    Glad to hear you had a good time judging. I love that area (my folks live about an hour outside of Ashville, in Rutherfordton, NC). And it's a nice club, great bunch of people from up there. Wish I could have made it up there, but it's a good thing I didn't plan to be there or I would have lost $$ since I had my back surgery two weeks ago and wouldn't have been able to run!

    Thanks again for posting the courses...they look like they were a blast!