I'll start by just posting the video:
First Course: We actually took our time in the morning since Large dogs ran 3rd on the first round, so we arrived as Small dogs were finishing up - I looked at the ring, saw the straight tunnels and fun jump arrangements, and immediately got excited. Picking up the course map and looking at it was even better. What a fun round! After watching some of the Medium dogs run, I was pretty sure I already knew how I wanted to handle everything, and walking it just confirmed it. I'm pretty thrilled with how it went - we won the class by .7 of a second, which is a strong margin at an event with such amazing competition - the best in the country! I was a little surprised when we finished and I looked at my time, but it was a happy surprise!
Second Course - this course was set up very well for a running dogwalk, in that there were no difficult turns off the end, so I was a little worried that we couldn't win this run. I knew that if we ran clean and our cumulative time over the first 2 runs was the fastest, that we would win the first AKC-funded spot on the Team. So I deliberately took a few small chances with my handling path, cued the turn before the big spread jump (our dogs never see this jump in the USA except at Tryouts, basically), and trusted him to do it. It worked fabulously. Now our biggest competition who had run clean in Round 1 (who has a running dogwalk) happened to have a small mistake - no faults, but the dog turned the wrong way out of the tunnel after the dogwalk, which took up time. So with our clean, fast run we won the class AND the first spot on the EO Team!
Third Course: I really had no good reason to run this one other than to "show off" for the team coach and to have some fun, so perhaps we didn't take it seriously enough. I will admit I had very little adrenaline going for this one, I was like "la la we are on the team, yay!" in my head. Nevertheless, I was surprised by the goofy off courses where he ran behind me (twice)! So that is some homework for us, to work on pulling around corners and Strafe NOT assuming this is a blind cross - in both of these instances, I clearly have a strong "side cue" down (arm, head turned) but he sees my feet or other arm make a small move and he is keying off that much too easily. He should not be thinking "blind cross" as his first thought just because he happens to see an aframe or a jump right behind me. So this run served to remind me that my amazing dog is ONLY TWO YEARS OLD and not finished training yet ;)
Fourth Course: Sunday morning's jumping round was eating them alive, and I was pretty happy with my handling choices for it, it was going great, till I over-pulled in order to avoid an off course jump that Strafe didn't even look at. I pulled too hard, he thought I was cuing the tunnel, we went off course. I will take this one as my fault - I just hooked him over the correct jump, which I should have aimed for in the first place, and we finished our run beautifully. Duh. I could have done that one clean, if I had just run for the jump I wanted.
Fifth Course: I was OK with this course, was secure in my handling choices but not really excited about it. Just was not as "fun" as that Round 1, I guess. I knew the aframe would be sketchy - I had to slow down a bit to push him out to it, and then I didn't really have a chance to run forward and support it. He's never actually missed an aframe at a trial, ever, so I was pretty sure he'd be OK, but I was also pretty sure it would be sketchy. Well we did our opening well, but my feet just got stuck after I pushed to the frame, he one-hit the down ramp and came off really high and on the side. I was 100% sure he missed it. So I ran the rest of the course in a sort of "la la" mode - I wanted to finish out clean and strong, but I wasn't pushing. I held my see-saw. I held my dogwalk. Guess what? Judge didn't call his aframe. So we won the class! That gave us 3 wins over the weekend and also meant we "won" the 4th spot on the team, determined by placement points - but of course we already had a spot so that one was passed down to the only other dog who placed and ran clean in 3 rounds (Silvina & Tcam).
Overall a great weekend!