Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Perfect Trial!

Tessa and I went to a CPE trial this past Saturday, hosted by the Dulles Gateway club at Periland.

It was a perfect trial!  Perfect in every way.

I had been excited about the trial all week.  For some reason, after our experience at Bella Vista last weekend, I was looking forward to this next one from the moment Tessa and I pulled out of the Bella Vista driveway!

I constantly had to remind myself that a week is not something that happens in between Agility trials, but I could not shake the sense that this particular week really was just that!

Finally, Friday evening rolled around.  I got things ready for us for Saturday, and got to bed at a decent hour.

I had the strangest dream that night.  I dreamed that a man showed up to fix our furnace just as Tessa and I were leaving for the trial.  The trial was going to be at Bella Vista, not Periland, but we were signed up for the same classes that we really were going to be in - Fullhouse and two Standard.

Strangely, it didn't seem odd to me that there was a man at my house to fix the furnace when: A)  Our furnace isn't broken and B) In the dream the grass was green, there were leaves on the trees, and it wasn't even cold out!

I wanted to get him settled so Tessa and I could get going, but by the time we got on the way, it was too late!  We had missed Fullhouse and our first Standard, and we would not make it on time even for our second Standard run.

I was very happy to realize that was a dream!  When I woke up, even though it was waaaaaay earlier than I ever want to have to wake up, we had not missed anything and nobody was coming to fix our furnace that wasn't broken in the middle of summer in February!

So, off we went, and we got there on time.

There was a moment of trepidation when I looked at the course map and realized that there was no jump combo in Fullhouse!  Of all of the 5 point obstacles in Fullhouse, the jump combos are our best friends!  Tessa is fastest at those.  Dog walks kill us in Fullhouse, and even six weaves take up too much time.

I was happy to see that there was a triple jump.  We were not going to be able to take it twice, based on how the equipment was arranged on the floor, but I knew that with the triple in there, we had a shot.

I made a plan.  I walked it.  I knew Tessa could get it done.  It wasn't super point heavy, but I just wanted to get enough points in time!

We ran it and everything went perfectly!!  Tessa hesitated for a couple of seconds, uncharacteristically, when she was going over the A-Frame, but it was just a slight hesitation and it didn't cost us much time.  Other than that, she didn't miss a beat!

The buzzer went off right between the last piece of equipment we needed to take and the table!

Here is our run . . .

I was thrilled with that!  We qualified and earned fourth place.

That was the last Level 5 Fullhouse Q that we need for our C-ATCH!!

I was so pleased that I told Tessa that we would treat her two Standard runs as "yahoo" runs.  Although we did only need two more Level 5 Standards, Standard is almost always the second class of the day and there is never any problem for me to sign up for Standard at the vast majority of trials.

So, I set my mind on having fun with her.

And the two Standard courses that the judge had set for us were perfect fun courses for Tessa!  There were some turns that were tricky for a lot of dogs, but that really suited Tessa's running style well.  There were many places where I could send her off to take jumps and leave her to do her job.  She loves that!

Tessa started out a little slow on the first Standard run, but she was solid and steady and she did the two jumps to the weaves perfectly.  She picked up speed after the dog walk and she flew through the rest of the run!

She had two moments of brilliance in this run!  First, there was a 90 degree turn on the line to a jump and then to the A-Frame after the jump.  She found a beautiful line to execute that section beautifully!

Then, way back at the back of the course, she did a rear cross that actually ended up being a 180 turn from the approach line to the jump to the line leaving the jump.

She qualified, but even better - I can't remember having more fun with her on a Standard course!

It was a Q!  And second place!

I didn't expect this to happen, but our second Standard run was even more fun than the first!

The course was a bit odd.  It started out with a huge loop around the outside of the ring.  I found that when I got to the third jump after the dogwalk, there was a sudden 180 degree turn!  So, I had to remind myself to pay attention because running around the outside of the ring did sort of put my mind into a bit of a lull!!

However, that 180 degree turn was fun.  I was able to send Tessa to that jump and do a front cross way far away from her!  Then into the weaves for the rest!

That one was a Q, also!  And 4th place!

I couldn't have been happier with Tessa, who had as much fun as she had success!!

Those were our 9th and 10th Level 5 Standard Q's, and the last that we needed for our C-ATCH!

So we are down to needing just TEN MORE now!

4 Snooker
3 Jackpot
3 Wildcard

We have a two week break until our next event at Bella Vista.

Maybe we will have green grass and leaves . . . well, I will be happy with a fun Agility weekend!

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