Of course, Tessa went along to the Rally FrEe competition, as well. Tessa, my fun girl! We were not as technically prepared as I had hoped we would be. There are actually quite a few Intermediate exercises that she can barely fudge, much less carry out fluently! Also, we have a very, very long way to go with our work on verbal cues. Tessa really is still on hand signal for most of her behaviors. So, I didn't really expect to qualify. I just put her in for the ring time and for the enjoyment of it.
When we got the course just over a week before the competition, I was glad to see that there were only two exercises that she had really not mastered yet. There was a back up 4 steps in right heel, and a back around out of heel position. We had actually been working on the backing up along the kitchen counter at home, and I was very pleased to see that this exercise would happen just a couple of feet from a ring gate! Tessa likes a "bubble" when she works along a wall, and I knew that the distance from the wall in the competition would be about the distance we had been working at home.
The back around was another matter altogether! I had introduced it. If I lure Tessa out of heel about halfway around in front of me, she backs into heel. But she had no experience of starting the exercise from heel.
So, just for the sake of art, I decided to see how far we could get if we tried to crash train this in a week!
It was slow going! Tessa is a deliberate girl when it comes to learning. We got to where Tessa would back halfway around me from heel, with a guide. Without a guide, the best she would do was tuck in behind me and stand there!
It would do. In Rally FrEe, you start with no points and earn them for what you do. I knew we would get some "partial credit" for the tuck in behind me!
I decided not to worry about it at all - go have fun, do our best, and let whatever happened happen. I didn't mind at all if Tessa NQ'ed because I know we still have a lot of Intermediate skills to work on.
Tessa ended up doing better than I had anticipated. Her heel position wasn't terribly precise, but her attention was excellent. She did need hand signals, but she did most of the exercises nicely. There were a few big blips, but she worked with confidence and enthusiasm!
One moment really stands out for me and that was at the back around. At first she shot out in front of me, but I lined her back up and swung my shoulder back to cue her to tuck in behind me. She suddenly skittered behind me and backed halfway around!! I could have laughed out loud. She was like, "I GOT THIS!!!" When she does get the hang of the back around, I think she is going to absolutely adore it!
Of course, her pivot platform was gorgeous and we ended up getting some nice Free Choice scores! I was very, very happy with her performance. She has so much fun out there and when the technical precision begins to kick in, she is going to be phenomenal! I do see a ton of improvement over her work back in April.
Here is our video. If you want to enjoy this to it's fullest, watch her tail the entire time!!!
I was pleased and surprised that we qualified, and with a pretty nice score, considering the amount of hand cuing I still have to use with her! That was her first Intermediate Q!
In the afternoon, we got to try for our second. I did not feel that she performed quite as well the second time, but our score was not a whole lot lower, and we qualified again!
So, Tessa now has two legs in Intermediate!
In November there is going to be a world wide video competition for Rally FrEe. I am hoping to video Speedy in Alt Novice to try to finish his title up. I was planning to video Dean to finish his Intermediate title, but now that is done, so I might try for that with Tessa. Even though I enjoy live events with her, this is kind of a special video event - to celebrate the one year anniversary of Rally FrEe - so it would be fun for her to be a part of it.
Now Tessa and I are off and running in our training!