Feature at the World Agility Open Championships
Today I will go over some of my rounds at the WAO. Sadly for Encore all of my clean runs were with Feature — that is no reflection on Encore whatsoever!
The first run for Feature was Individual agility — the first run in the pentathlon. I was conservative and got caught behind going to the close which caused a big spin. Feature and I ended up 5th in that round due to the bobbles.
The next leg in the pentathlon was a Mia Laamanen Jumpers round. Great course and Feature nailed the tricky ending which game many dog and handlers fits!
Next up in Pentathlon was another tough Mia Laamenen course — this time Standard. Feature did her thing and won that class as well (even though she did not stop on her A Frame like I asked her too:). A challenging course which I thoroughly enjoyed running!
When the dust had settled after the first 3 rounds we found ourselves in first place. The fourth round of the pentathlon we were well on our way to winning as well (that was a really tough Dave Grubel Jumpers course). I thought my biggest challenge would be getting my dog out to jump 6 — which was a major source of off courses for many. If the handler was behind with dog on right the dog cut across and took the off course at jump 8. If the handler was behind with dog on left the dog took the off course at 18. Some bit it between 6 & 7 but for most the handcuffing came trying to pull off of the tunnel (and if you did) get the dog to take the long jump straight (many went so deep towards the tunnel the cut across the long jump). Watch closely and you can see me hoof it to get where I needed to be at jump 6!
Featured sailed through all of those challenges like she read the course map in advance.
Sadly my brain and my mouth were not in sync at the end. My plan was to tell Feature to “Go!” as I rear crossed jump 18. Unfortunately my “go” cue came out as she was just clearing jump 17 which resulted in her bulleted towards the off course (and off course I don’t think any other dog took).
I felt terrible, she was cooking such a great run, flawless really. When I get a chance I will show you a compilation of a bunch of my errors at WAO, just to let you know all agility handlers are human at the end of the day.
If you are still reading (yes I know it is a long blog post) I will leave you with one of my favourite runs of the weekend. Feature had one little bobble coming off of the dog walk (a verbal cue “left” saved our butt) and I had a bobble at the end where I was planning to rear cross the seesaw but getting out of position so I had to “wing it” with another verbal “right!” cue to save my butt! Gotta work those directional cues people!
The good ones feel great but I promise you the lessons of the bobbles are more powerful:).
Today I am grateful for Feature. Shining at the world championships with 3 first place finishes only 15 weeks after giving birth to Swagger.