Saturday, January 3, 2015

International Flair

As part of our prep for Westminster, I took Marge to a UKI Agility trial today in Bloomsbury, NJ.

UK Agility International was founded as the United States' version of UK Agility.  As such, it contains international-style handling challenges at the upper levels.

I have been doing quite a bit of out-of-my-comfort-zone handling at agility class (which basically means straying away from rear crosses and doing everything else), but I very seldom put those skills to use in AKC trials.  I totally admit to playing it safe for the sake of Q's and, more specifically, QQ's.  I want a MACH, and if I get a MACH with meat-and-potatoes type handling and never do anything fancy, I am totally okay with that.

So, in trying UKI, it removes the "run to Q" element.  I am not working on any titles in that venue at this point, and with numbers pointed in all kinds of crazy directions (backsides and wraps everywhere!), it sets the stage well to add in some fancy handling. And by fancy, really all I mean is doing anything but a rear cross.

If you look back at my list of things to work on that I posted last time, UKI had most of those challenges.. including a weave entrance to which Marge (and my body language, probably) said "HAHA, NOPE".   She took the 3/5 jump and 4 tunnel before coming back to weave.

As such, we did not Q in this run, but a couple of important things happened:

  • I front crossed without making it in to something more than it needs to be (which is often the case)
  • I used a Ketschker "ass pass" turn for the first time ever in a trial - TWICE!
  • I learned that I need to work my dog's weave entrances better
We did qualify earlier in the day in the Speedstakes class, which is a straightforward, fun, fast course.  Those were the only two classes I entered.  I wanted to keep it short and fun.

From a behavioral perspective, Marge did very well at this trial.  When we first arrived, she had a mini meltdown because she had no idea where she was.  It probably didn't resemble an agility trial at all to her, since the ring was not visible from the crating/waiting area.  Heaters were fired up, too, and it took her a bit to get used to the noise.  Once it clicked that we were at an agility trial and not the 8th circle of hell, she settled in almost instantly.

After the trial, I headed to the barn to ride.  As I alluded to, Marge is becoming a little bit of a barn dog - at least as much as a Staten Island dog can be a barn dog.  No pics from this time around, but here's a pic of Marge hanging out with Te last time she came along with me.  She likes the horses, but maintains some distance. She likes their grain a lot more.

I'll probably do one more UKI trial sometime this month.  I'd like to go to an AKC show before Westminster, but I'm not sure it's going to happen.  I'm happy with our prep so far!


How Sam Sees It January 4, 2015 at 9:52 AM  

Wow! That's a confusing course. How did you do 3-4-5-6? I'm still so new to this, but I can't see a good line through that?

Monty and Harlow

Wyatt January 12, 2015 at 10:11 PM  

Congrats on going to Westminster's Agility Championships. That is a big deal! We will cheer for you from Oregon!

Wyatt and Stanzie

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