Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday Night Westminster

Yes, a year can make all the difference in the world!!  A year ago I went home from Westminster disheartened.  But I also went home with a resolution to do what I had to do to gain the skills that I needed to handle my new Agility partner better.  I talked to our instructor and showed her the videos and she has helped me learn a ton.  Since that time Tessa and I have been working together to become a better Agility team.

It all came together on Friday night!

Not for the first time, of course.  We've had some really nice runs.  But this was the first weekend where every run was solid.  I did not feel like a clodhopper handling her, and she was on!  She and I both made very few mistakes and those were minor.

And Tessa was good!  That's about all I can say about her!  In fact, she is spoiling me to no end!

We got there Friday night, both of us eager to be there!  I went in and set up and then brought her in.  She knew where we were, and she was thrilled to be there!  We had a bit of a wait for our first turn, but when it rolled around, she was ready to go.

Our first run was Snooker.  And it was an . . . odd . . . Snooker course.  There was one tunnel and the rest was all jumps!  I have never seen the like in a Snooker course!  To make matters more confusing, some of the red jumps were parts of combinations that could be used in the opening.  And, it seemed, many of the jumps were very close together and things were rather tight!  It was quite the task to figure out an opening that would work.  Finally I came up with something.  I wasn't really sure how it was going to go, but I made a plan and got ready to run . . . 

Near disaster was averted at the start line!  As I pulled Tessa's martingale off, I heard a jingle!  I had forgotten to take off her regular collar!  That would have gotten use whistled off!  Then I had to think for a few seconds - what was I going to do with it?  Finally it occurred to me to clip it to the martingale collar.  Then we were off.

Our run . . . 

It went off without a hitch!  Tessa was flawless!  My only mistake was the attempted rear cross.  I had actually walked a blind, but then I got hung up and she got ahead of me.  So, I fudged the rear.  That was fine - no harm done.

I had some concerns about the wraps.  Only a few weeks ago, Tessa was nose diving a bit on wraps at class!  Thankfully, at a workshop that I jumped into at the last minute on impulse, I mentioned it to our instructor and she suggested using the opposite arm to show Tessa she was turning back to me.  It has worked like a dream!

We earned 44 points on that run!  We only needed 28!!  Snooker has been a challenge for us.  It took 4 attempts to qualify in Snooker at Level 1!  We got Q #1 in Level 2 on our first try!

Tessa may be a Snooker dog yet!  That was definitely the most fun we've had on a Snooker course together.

After Snooker came Fullhouse.  It was an interesting Fullhouse with no contacts.  I knew it was going to go fast, so I planned a very flowing course.  I had one major goal for this run.  I wanted to work to not overhandle Tessa.  I planned to give her space and let her do her thing.

I was looking forward to one section in particular for this.  At the back there was a tunnel.  I wanted to have her take two jumps after the tunnel to make a circle - tunnel, jump, jump, and then loop back into that circle again.  I planned to hang back at the tunnel the first time and give her space to send out a bit to the two jumps.  Then, the second time, head out to the jump to signal a front cross as she came out of the tunnel.

It was very fun to do, and it worked really well!

There was only one glitch in the run, and it was my doing.  Originally, at the very end, I planned to have Tessa take one last straight tunnel, then a jump straight ahead, to the table to end.  But as I was running, I couldn't remember if I had planned to go back to pick up the double again, so I did.  That was fine - we had plenty of time.  But Tessa had no warning going into the tunnel.  I really should have hung back after sending her in if that was what I was going to do.  Going into the tunnel, I signaled, "run straight out", but then I turned her.  She slipped - more than I would have liked her to.  It's not a big deal - she's fine.  But I felt bad about changing things up on her like that.  Had I really thought it out, I would have stuck to the plan!  After that I did.

Aside from that - flawless!  I love this run!!  (This video has some very fun narration!)

We got the Q, and it was a significant one - our very first Level 3 Q ever!!!

It was a very fun Friday night!  I couldn't be prouder of my girl!  She has come to understand this game and she loves to play!

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