Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Astro's Been Busy

Love his tail and ears in this picture.  Fiesta Cluster, March 2 &3, 2013.  Thanks to Denise Titzler for this picture.
 Astro and I have been having fun entering some agility trials in Phoenix this winter.  In December and January we entered some USDAA trials and did well with a couple qualifying runs.  We were entered in an AKC trial in late January, but it was rained out.  In late February we went to the USDAA Southwest Regional trial and were part of a young dog team and tried out the Master Agility Dog challenge courses.  Our last trial was the Fiesta Cluster where we were also entered in Rally Advanced for the first time.

This collage is actually from our first AKC trial , Valle Del Sol Golden Retriever Club trial, back in October.  I was so happy to be able to get lots of pictures from our first trial.  Again I really love his beautiful long tail and how he uses it when jumping and turning.  The shot of him going through the tire jump was the last obstacle on our first Standard run, which was our first AKC qualifying run.  :-)

This picture is from the same trial and is the last jump of our last run.  We were also the last team to run at the trial.  We didn't qualify on this run, but I thought it was one of our best Jumpers runs.  I love this picture because I remember the moment exactly and we both look relaxed and happy.  I was watching Astro jump and thinking of how much I love him and how happy I was that we had entered our first AKC trail and made it through with happiness and success.  Hard to believe that Karen DeLong caught it on film.

This collage is from the Good Dog Agility USDAA trial, January 5 & 6.  We had a great trial and qualified on both runs, Standard and Gamblers, on Saturday.  I was really happy with how well Astro did at a brand new location.  We were both a little tired on Sunday, but it was still a good day.  I have to say that I love Astro's weaves.  Sometimes he really rocks it through the weaves, and that weekend he definitely was.

The USDAA Southwest regional was lots of fun and very challenging.  On Friday we ran the Master's Challenge courses.  We were part of a novice dog team and entered just to have fun and try out the courses.  I was really happy with how well Astro did on these curvy tight courses that aren't really designed for dogs of his size.  We were able to try and do some handling that we'd only done in practice.  Another big thing for me was that we ran in rings that were not fenced, only posts with a ribbon around the ring, and not once did Astro think of leaving the ring.  I had always worried about this because, well, he's a Greyhound who likes to kick it out and zoom occasionally.

Here is our Team Jumpers and Standard runs.  Please remember these were super hard courses, some top agility people were there running them, so we were far from smooth.  Also, please ignore my high pitched voice, I was a bit nervous.  :-)

 USDAA Team Jumpers (Sorry, I can't get this to center on the page.)

USDAA Team Standard

Our last trial was the Fiesta Cluster AKC trial.   This is a really big trial with confirmation, Obedience, Rally, and Agility.  So lots of action and things for pups who need to pay attention to get distracted by.  :-)  We entered Rally Advanced which was a challenge with Astro being off leash at this level.  I had to work really hard to keep him close to me and in general heal position.  We didn't qualify on Saturday, I don't think any of the Advanced A teams that day.  On Sunday, again with a lot of work and patience, we were the only Advanced A team to qualify.  Our score was 84.  At the end both the judge and I started laughing.  I laughed because I was so relieved to have made it through and I think she did because she knew we had worked hard and could probably feel my relief.  I actually didn't think we had qualified, you need a score of 70, and was really surprised to see we had.  I think we are going to get out and practice in some different locations before entering another Rally trial.  The main thing we need to improve is just keeping Astro closer to me and in position for doing the exercises.

Our Saturday Novice Jumpers run.

Agility went well too.  We had a qualifying Jumpers run on Saturday.  We did have a refusal when Astro missed a jump.  Jumpers has been harder for us and I really want to improve my handling when I need to turn him.

Our Saturday Open Standard run.

I was really happy with our first Open Standard run.  With one exception, Astro has decided he wants a running contact (does not stop at the bottom of the A-Frame, Dogwalk, Teeter) most of the time in trials.  Because of this I pulled us from a trial we were entered in this month to give us more time to proof contacts.  I'm sure the problem has to do with not getting a lot of practice because of winter weather and probably some ring adrenaline and nerves on both of our parts.  Winter is dog show/trial season in Arizona, which is great if you live in most of AZ.  But, when you live in the small area of Arizona that actually has a real winter and gets a lot of snow it makes it really hard to practice and stay ready for trials.  Astro actually makes the contacts most of the time even if he doesn't stop, but being a big dog I think it's likely that he would miss a lot of the contacts if we switched to a running contact because his stride is longer than the yellow contact area. 

I think we are mostly caught up with the events of the past few months.  I'm really looking forward to spring and getting out for some fun hikes and agility.


Sue said...

Go Astro! He is so loving it. I love seeing him do the weave and coming through the tunnels.

gyeong said...

What great collages. I think they really capture the excitement, and how happy Astro is to be running the course with you. I would totally frame it, and it would be the first thing people see when they come in the house.

What Remains Now said...

Astro is super! I too love the collages.

houndstooth said...

Congratulations! You both look so happy and were obviously really enjoying yourselves! Astro looks fantastic going through his paces. You have every right to be really proud! :)

Claire Krigbaum said...

Look at those weaves! How fun!
Amber converted herself to a running contact in trials too, I was bad and just let her, she almost never missed them but she did occasionally when she was super excited! It's so hard to slow down when you're all wound up!

jcp said...

What a big barrel chested boy he is! I love to see them doing agility!

Anonymous said...

Lookin good Astro! Wonderful photos capturing your agility action! Really cool :D

Zephyr, glad your leg's okay. Very cheery wrap you have on it :)

Waggin at ya,