31 August 2010

Ria Seminar

I still have spots available in the Conditioning and Structure Seminar with Ria Acciani MPT. She is a most excellent PT, way more than a mere massage, she is a fully trained, degreed and certified human physical therapist who then switched to working on dogs years ago after completing the canine rehab coursework at the U of Tenn. She is extremely knowledgeable regarding how the parts of a dog's body work together, and is an expert on physical rehab and conditioning. Her knowledge of structure comes from knowing how each piece should move and how each muscle is attached and moves, rather than from reading breed ring dog books or pictures. This seminar will be invaluable for the serious agility handler!

30 August 2010

Good Weekend I Guess

NE Regional this past weekend, at Dreampark in NJ, just an hour away. Normally an hour is just fine commute wise, however the scheduling this weekend had Steeplechase finals finishing at 8:30 on Sat and GP Finals finishing at 7:30 (for me anyway).

At this trial I had Drifter running Team events at 26", so as not to get too used to 22" when we have AKC again this coming weekend at 26". He is running GP/Steeple at 22 since that is what I thought we'd be doing this year when I got the Q's back in the winter. So mixed up heights. Friday started with Team Gamblers, in which Drifter was pretty much retarded. Wouldn't stay, couldn't find the first weave pole, flew off the see-saw, and then knocked a bar. Bad! Next up was Steeplechase Round 1. I had decided coming into this weekend that I am going to run him like every single run is the national finals, as that is what he likes. I don't know what it is about that style, whether it's just that we stay connected more, or it keeps him mentally engaged, or what, but i ran Steeplechase very aggressively and he was 2nd in Round 1, behind only Denise's Zippity (world team dog). Kiba also ran aggressively and won her P16" height. She was not on Team, so that was her ony run on Friday.

Saturday dawned bright and early (walk thrus at 6:40!), starting with Grand Prix Round 1. Both Drifter and Kiba had byes, but ran Round 1 for practice. I had different goals with them, with Drifter again I wanted to run aggressively, and thus chose a handling strategy with all front crosses that had me driving through the course as quickly as I could, but also involved not gearing him down too much for every little corner. That's my balancing goal this year, to find what speeds around corners keep up our YPS the best. I've found sometimes I'm getting corners that are too tight! So anyway, I pushed, and he won Round 1 by almost 2 whole seconds (30.55 and next dog was 32.41). Very good result! Kiba I wanted to work contacts, as hers aren't really full running or independent, and she hit the first bar so I was relaxed and worked her as I had planned.

Next was Team Snooker, where Drifter missed a weave entry (weird!) and so I had to abort and only do 3 reds instead of 4, but we still finished and did ok for our team. I was happy that after running GP at 22" in the morning, he didn't hit any bars in Snooker. Next up was Team Jumpers, a nice course, interesting enough that I thought we would do well but Drifter tried to anticipate a rear cross, I pulled him back to the jump in time to avoid the refusal but he knocked the bar because of the weird jump/not-jump confusion, then he pulled off a jump later on when I gave him an early decel cue - which we corrected with just time loss and an R.

Once the Team classes were finished we had Steeplechase Round 2. This was a very interesting course, and again I chose the most aggressive handling options that I could with Drifter. And it paid off, he won by a comfortable margin. Kiba hit a bar early on, so I really pushed her after that and she turned in a blistering time, so even with the fault ended up 3rd. Between them I won back more than I paid in entries!

Early again Sunday morning, and we started off with Team Relay. Drifter's team was in 5th so we had to run in reverse order at the very end of the the class (around 11am, after starting at 7:30!). We had a very fast relay course, possibly won the relay, and ended up 4th overall out of 70 teams. After that there were 2 masters classes which I didn't enter, so I had an easy afternoon of reading a book and talking to friends. Finally around 4 or 5 we got started in Grand Prix. This course didn't really allow me to use my new-found super-aggressive handling skills, but I tried to pick the smoothest strategy that still kept Drifter engaged the entire course, and we had a pretty nice run. Didn't blow away everyone's times quite like in Round 1, but he still had a wonderful run and we won the class once more. Kiba also had a nice run, although she had a slight bobble, faultless thankfully, and she won her class as well.

So Drifter is the 2010 Northeast Regional 22" Steeplechase and Grand Prix Champion,
And Kiba is the 2010 Northeast 16" Performance Grand Prix Champion!

Off to AKC next weekend, it's Seri's re-debut after her long injury and spay surgery layup. She's entered at 20" so I'm sure she'll be a lunatic. She's not really ready but I wanted to get her back out to get her mind back in gear.

23 August 2010

Busy busy lately, still, neverendingly. Last Wed I drove out to OH for my first clinic/seminar/camp as an attendee is more than 4 years. It was an International Coursework seminar with Linda. I have not actually ever worked with her before, but I was aware that my handling system and hers are pretty darned close, so I was sure she'd be able to give me tips and understand how I work. And sure enough, nothing she said contradicted what I thought. Some of the 2nd and 3rd hand things I hear about the APHS system don't jive with my handling, but I don't think those things are straight from the source, I think they are interpretations. Anyway, I am not a devotee of anyone, but I really enjoyed running lots (and LOTS!) of tough courses. I felt that Drifter and I did pretty well at handling the complicated bits, even though we didn't run very many of them cleanly on the first try. Mostly our issues were minor, the 25" center-to-center weaves got him a few times (they go on forever for him, I guess), but he found his rhythm. I discovered I really can get just about anywhere when I put my mind to it. We collided out of a straight tunnel and I bruised my bottom. And my legs were tired. But it was good. I'd do it again. Not sure I need anything as intense and costly as privates, since as Linda said, I really do know what I need to do to fix things that go wrong in most cases. But I will go back for Tryouts Prep if it's offered again next spring. I'd go to the local International seminar, but it's filled with local students of the instructor that's bringing Linda in, so that's a no-go. I did enjoy how small this was, ony 7-8 dogs. Good easygoing group too.

Anyway, on the puppy front, I was signed on for a litter that would be born this November, but the bitch came in too early and they are waiting till next spring now. I told them to keep me on that list, but I am also looking around. I found another european litter, same stud, different but also nice bitch, that I am looking into now, but not sure if they'll have a puppy for me or not. And will be born soon, which I was hoping to wait a little bit but again, I'll take the right pup when/where it comes up. I am OK with this fall, and I'm OK with next spring.

We looked at a property that my mother's going to make an offer on. A bit far from my current workplace but I am hoping that I'll be gone from there within a year. DJ is sad about the longer commute, but what can we do? Zoning in PA is really restrictive... Also DJ and I are both a bit sad about work, as our new building boss is not nearly as personable and friendly as the outgoing one. This one sort of came in and is changing everything up in sort of a not-so-nice way. So everyone's a bit cranky right now, us included.

Regionals this weekend in NJ. Not really that excited, I'm just not that into it this year. It's fun, but whatever! I don't like how the 2nd round of GP is the last class on Sunday. Hate that scheduling. It's like keeping people hostage. Lots of people would be thrilled to be on the road early after a 3 or 4 day trial, but no. . .

Well that's my random thoughts for today. I am available for seminars, I get good reviews, please shoot me an email if you're interested rdrift at gmail dot com!

16 August 2010

European Options

(Working the wrap in Snooker at IFCS WAC)

So I was thinking about taking Drifter to the EO next year, in Austria. Now this morning I hear about this World Agility Open thing, which is in exactly the same venue our IFCS was at this past May. Very tempting, assuming it isn't something that is considered in 'conflict' by AKC (the EO is OK). I really did love England, and I wanted to attend EO 2012 back in England BUT it's during the Olympics, which means travel is going to be expensive and difficult, so this might be a fun way to get back over there, at an INDOOR event on great surface, in a wonderful area, and spend some more time in the places I wished I'd spent more time this spring. Something to think about, anyhow. I need to learn more about it, how to get on the team, who can go, etc. i want to be sure it's going to be a BIG DEAL and lots of good people will show up, like at EO. If it's not, then I'm not interested.

Aside from that, we did AKC again this past weekend, our first trial since BHAD at the end of July, where Drifter QQ'ed for MACH on Friday, then quadruple NQ'ed the rest of the weekend (sad!). Well he's apparently decided he can't jump a double on a 90-degree turn, as that's what he did this weekend, although he also fell off a dogwalk on a just plain AWFUL approach angle, but that's still weird because he can usually conquer a dogwalk from any angle/speed. This one had zero grip though, so off he went. He did Q in JWW both days with me running full out and pushing for front crosses, so that is gratifying at least. JWW is no longer an issue for us, in fact we have quite a few more of those than standards this year, which is just the reverse of what our record looked like in 2008. Progress of a sort, I suppose, although our Q rate is not getting up where I want it. This week I'm off to my first seminar/camp of ANY kind since 2006, as I'm heading out to Linda's International Coursework seminar. Should be good hard fun. I do enjoy a challenge. After that I have the USDAA Regional at the end of August - I did the annoying thing and entered Team at 26", even though our GP/Stp Q's are at 22", as I don't want him to get too used to 22" when we've got AKC the next 2 weekends at 26" again.

Seri's spay incision is healed. She was spayed on the 3rd, ripped her stitches out on the 5th and got staples, and somehow "lost" her staples yesterday on the 15th. This dog is something for sure. She had her staples in the afternoon, she slept with the e-collar on, and when I got up they were gone. Incision is healed up nicely, thankfully, although due to her picking it will bear more scar tissue than Kiba's does. That's OK. No beauty contests anyway. She's plenty pretty!

I think I am importing a puppy next year. From Europe, from nice working/agility lines. Very cool.

Kiba's closing in on her MACH, i had to look it up, she has 16 QQ's now. i lost count. 20 is a high number to remember when you don't show every weekend!

01 August 2010

money and harnesses

I'm encouraged that I may be able to leave my full time job soon in exchange for a part time job working for someone I like at a job I'd have some fun with, and the rest of my income from teaching. We'll see. I'm still recovering from the trip financially. And now it looks like we may actually be getting zero reimbursement for it. We were told to plan for nothing, but we weren't really given the impression that we would, in fact, get nothing. In the past team members have always gotten something back. Oh well. The other thing irking me a bit is this:
A month or so before we left, a team member contacted Comfortflex about making a patriotic harness for her dog. The company was vert excited and in fact quickly manufactured wonderful red/white/blue harnesses with stars and gave them to the team for free. They told us they'd let Clean Run sell them as a limited edition, and that Clean Run could then donate proceeds for our team. Because of the late timing, the harnesses did not go on sale before we left, but apparently even though they were created for the IFCS team, Clean Run is donating proceeds to AKC. So that made me a little sad to find out. Not even a mention of our team on the page! Again, oh well.

I'm going to attempt to save up money to go to EO next year. Its in Austria, which sounds beautiful. But we'll see. For now I'm just trying not to go broke!