Surfaces Suck

Agility surfaces … man, dirt is not easy. All of the major trialing facilities in our area have settled into this hard packed dirt, which is what happened with the arena as well. It’s just not easy to maintain a surface that is even, not loose, but with enough give to be a good jumping surface. Thankfully, the arena was tilled this week, but I’ll be curious to see how long until it reverts back to packed. Artificial turf wins when it comes to a more consistent surface, that’s for sure.

So down in Eugene this weekend we had one ring with hard, somewhat lumpy ground with occasional patches of deep. But the other ring was just half hard and half deep and Bright’s first run over there she knocked two bars and face planted from the unevenness. Sigh. I waffled whether to run her again in that ring, but that course seemed to avoid the area where she had the most problems and she didn’t knock anything for jumpers. I really wish we had a dedicated agility trialing facility that was dead level, great traction and cushion artificial turf! I would like to teach there too. šŸ˜‰

This weekend and next are Bright’s ‘practice’ for the nationals with just one day of AKC, focusing on polishing up the skills I expect to see on AKC courses. Really happy to say that contacts were not an issue today, Bright stopped in Premier Standard nicely so I let her run in standard, which somewhat surprised her! Teeter looked good too. So feeling like we’re better there, still not as fast as she can be with her stopped dogwalk, but it’s better than having no criteria at all. Other than the two knocked bars in premier jumpers she was great, everything went smoothly.

I practiced THREE rear crosses – which is a lot for me! One was necessary, the other two I think she would have been better with blinds and I found myself hanging back to wait for her, but we did them, no problem. Tested commitment on sends, tested weavepoles, everything felt good. I think we’re ready!

Now, Navarre, this weekend he was the weak link. It was so weird, in premier standard the 2nd obstacle was a backside – he acted like he had never seen such a thing. Twice. Huh. Then in premier jumpers there was a nice easy threadle rear, he literally stopped and just looked at me like I had two heads, which was bizarre. Popped out of the weaves at like six when I tried to send him ahead, which is a move he does so well with. Just kind of odd reactions to cues that he’s normally very smooth with. Then in standard he ran past a jump when I was sort of hanging back to rear cross, that’s my fault, he was like, “You never just ‘hang out’, what on earth are you doing?” But he had some good stuff too, some nice speed entrances into the weaves, and I was able to push past without him losing his rhythm. Contacts looked good, though his teeter is getting a little shakey. Which is all me, I hate stopping on teeters, I always have. Still a baby, but a baby with nice things – and he’s having so much fun.

We did leave on a good note with both dogs feeling very smooth through the jumpers course, which was pretty much all extension. As usual, Bright never feels like she’s moving fast at all (or looks it!), and Navarre felt quite speedy – but Bright still beat him. Not by much though, just a 10th of a second. He’s beat her on standard courses because his contacts are better, but not in jumpers yet. He’ll get there. Well, assuming no collection is involved. Hard to beat Bright with collection, he just can’t compare!

Just one video from today, had a camera malfunction so I didn’t get to compare the two in jumpers. Bright looks her normal efficient self:

So that was double Q number 21 for Bright, but I have no plans to get a MACH2, we’ll be looking at our Premier Only plan when we come back after nationals!

Haku got lots of running about, but tomorrow he gets to go herding!