Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Once more, we were in the very first group to walk a course - this time for individual jumping. We had some fun trying to guess the course, and happily this judge decided to put the numbers down early enough that we could think about our handling for a while before we had to get out and walk the course.
This course was a long running course with some very tricky parts. The footing was eating up my momentum every time I turned and so even though in the walk through I walked an ambitious plan, I ended up going with a less exciting plan involving rear crosses on 10 and 11. Then I just lost it a little bit on jump 19 in the corner, totally forgetting to do either a Jaakko turn or to send and run away, I stood there yelling for him to come back, then had to do a very ugly front cross to get the backside of 21, but we pulled it off, and half a second under the very tight time too! We were in the top 10 for a while and so I was pretty sure we'd stay in the top 25 at the end of the day - this course was eating dogs up left and right! Only 31 dogs finished under the course time of 38 seconds, with no faults! We ended up placing 18th, at the end of the day.
The Agility Course in the other ring was much more forgiving than Jumping, and in fact ran faster, with the fastest dogs running around 35 or 36 seconds. Still not a super easy course, especially with the tunnel aframe traps, the broad jump to the weaves, and then the long run at the end that had a lot of dogs touching the dogwalk behind the handler or ahead of them.
I was feeling pretty relaxed about this course, since I was pretty darned sure our Jumping run would get us into Finals. I still felt some pressure to do well, and I still handled like it mattered, but I was not really pushing like crazy either. Strafe and I had a nice pretty clean run. We had no way to check our placement in this course, except when I left the ring about halfway through the day we were only about .3 of a second from the 5th place dog who was on the leaderboard, so I figured we would probably stay in top 25 here as well.
We were done running by early afternoon on Saturday, and having had 2 really nice clean runs, I was pretty happy with that. I walked around, watched some other dogs run, Strafe got worked on again, and we just tried to enjoy the atmosphere.
I found out at the end of the day that we finished 14th in Agility, so that class took precedence over Jumping for seeding purposes. I was really proud that on our very first trip to the EO, Strafe and I not only made the Final, but made the Final in all 3 ways possible - we placed in the top 25 dogs in both Individual classes, AND we were top scoring USA Large dog! (Because Strafe was already in from Agility run, they moved down and took the 2nd place Large dog which was Dudley and Jack).
Sunday morning of course I woke up excited but also oddly relaxed - the one ring format for Sunday meant that I had to wait until the very last class of the day to even walk a course! So we went to the site, I watched the various Relay Finals, walked around, checked on my dog, and cheered for my teammates in the Small and Medium Finals. It was a fun, exciting environment, although I have to say that they needed more stands for the audience, as it was hard to get a view of the ring with all the people crowded around it!
Eventually in late afternoon they finally got around to setting our course! I was in the 2nd walk through group so I did not have to rush to get into the ring, so I was able to watch them build the course and put the numbers down, and think about handling for a little bit before going into the ring.
This course was huge, first of all. The judge stated that it was about 200m on Facebook, and I totally believe it! By the time I got to 20 I was like "holy crap where am I?!"
Strafe and I had a great run. Sure, there's a couple spots I can pick out and say "I could have saved a bit of time here" but overall I really cannot complain about this run. We laid it on the line and I'm happy with the result. I'm even happy that Janita is the one that beat me, I really enjoyed working with her last fall and hope to do so again. I gave them my dog food bag.
|Getting my serious on during the Final walk-through|
|Recalling to the backside!|
|Running aframe, boy I had to work to get up to the next jump!|
|That's MY TIME! At the top of the leaderboard! (at least until Janita ran)|
|Victory lap - I kept having to slow down, Nancy and Karen weren't running fast enough for me! ;)|