maanantai 13. joulukuuta 2010

ASCA agility + obedience trial in Columbia, MO

The weekend was not of to a good start. Freezing-ass-cold, expensive-rip-off-motel and my bitch-in-the-house attitude is never a good setup... At least the agility trial was held in a relatively warm indoor arena that held the agility, obedience and conformation shows. We had entered in two obedience trials on Saturday + 5 agility runs and just 5 agility runs Sunday. So quite a busy weekend!

The first obedience run was first, and can't say I trained at all. Lucky we did the same thing in 2009 so I knew the rules pretty well.. Dracu barked a few times so that lowered our score, but still we got a 187, 1 leg and 1st place. The second run was around midday and the individual parts went real well, but just before we went into the ring for the sits and stays, Dracu got her paw caught in a folding chair and screamed bloody murder. I yanked it out and there was no visible damage so we went into the ring to do the long sits and downs. Poor Dracu started licking her paw in the sit and laid down to get a better angle! So there went the CD title... No Q for us :( In ASCA you can fart around and do a really bod job (believe me, I saw some runs you won't believe) but as long as the dogs gets some points it will probably Q. We do everything else perfect and have one 0 score and that's it. Pretty harsh if you ask me...

Agility was also pretty crappy. The surface was a rug and Dracu was clearly uncomfortable on it. We knocked so many bars down that steam was coming out of my ears! Some bars were because I was handling her (but still she should not have knocked them down!) but some were just random. It's these low jumps, Dracu is not really trying to go over clean as with higher bars. The only Q's we got were two from Open Gambler, and so we got our GS-O title. We did Elite Jumpers and Elite Regular and the only faults were bars, no missed contacts, no off-courses.

So all in all, not a good weekend. I was real pissed off and poor Dracu was getting the short end because there was nobody else to be angry at :( I felt much better when we loaded the car up and drove out of Columbia, MO. Definitely not my kinda town!

Starting up North

On Sunday at the agility trial this guy, named Steve Sanders, I had talked with offered me a room for a few nights and a chance to relax, do my laundry and train agility. A offer doesn't come much better than that so I jumped at it and drove over to his place a few hours North of Rendon. We spent three nights there with Dracu, just relaxing. We went to two agility classes with Steve and his aussieboy Trip (H&M's Triple Threat) as well and I got to work a little on turning Dracu, something she had "forgot" after the trial...! The other lesson was by a very nice lady called Elizabeth Evans. One day I also drove back to Jamie Burns and she worked some of her dogs for me to see; Rosa, Sweetie and Dodge. BTW, here are some never-before-seen pictures from the Westerman's ranch:

Aussie boy Boot, Dally Up Tuffer'n Leather, owned by Marsha Westerman

Aussie boy Boot, Dally Up Tuffer'n Leather, owned by Marsha Westerman

Little aussie boy Max, out of Nellie/Spur, owned by Marsha Westernman

Max has got some BIG shoes to fill!

Aussie girl Jessie, Twin Oaks Precious Jessie of That'll Do, owned by Mark Westernman

Aussie girl Jessie, Twin Oaks Precious Jessie of That'll Do, owned by Mark Westernman

Marsha, Jessie & Boot

Check out the swing, pretty cool!

And that's above the gate...

No portable toilets here ;)

On Wednesday morning I woke up early and started my truck towards Oklahoma City. I went to meet a breeder called Beth DeLozier, kennel Nineveh. She had quite a few interesting aussies and I spent two days there just getting to know her, the dogs etc. She did some herding with Ready, a Qwick-son, and two of her young girls Scout and Trick. Her dogs were very nice and just super friendly! We also spent quite some time trying to get them to pose for the camera so I could get some pictures, but the dogs were having none of it! Quite a job, now I understand why people post such awful pictures of their dogs on the net - they can't get any better! :P

Aussie girl Scout, Nineveh's Ready 2 Scout, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Scout, Nineveh's Ready 2 Scout, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Scout, Nineveh's Ready 2 Scout, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Scout, Nineveh's Ready 2 Scout, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Ruth, Twin Oaks Ruth, owned by Beth DeLozier.

Aussie girl Trick, Wonder Hill's Trick Rider, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Trick, tired of all the picture taking. Where's the ACTION??

Aussie girl Trick, Wonder Hill's Trick Rider, owned by Beth DeLozier

Aussie girl Trick, Wonder Hill's Trick Rider, owned by Beth DeLozier

Life with a baby... :D

Beth, Ready & kid

aussie male Ready, Starstuff Rapture Ready, owned by Beth DeLozier

aussie male Ready, Starstuff Rapture Ready, owned by Beth DeLozier

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) was having a big competition in Oklahoma City so I went to watch that with Beth and saw some real, live cow roping!! Very cool... We also went to take a look at the behind-the-scene area where all the horses were and wow... Some serious money I must say! They had decorated the temporary stalls with these fake, Hollywood-style sets and huge banners and pictures. It was pretty amazing. I also went by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (known as the Cowboy Museum) and it was my lucky day, free entry! That was my first - and probably last - cultural thing on this trip...

First you lasso it...

Then you jump of your horse...

And tie it up! No big deal. :D

Who is faster?


I left on Thursday afternoon and drove about 4 hours to Bolivar, Missouri. I was definitely feeling the drop in temperature and was NOT happy :/  I arrived pretty late to visit Pam Watson, kennel Sage Creek. We sent a good few hours just talking dogs, how is it that I never tire of talking dogs? The next morning it was raining, but bravely we went outside to face the cold and work some dogs! Firstly Pam introduced her pack, mainly working aussies from Crown Point lines. I was again surprised by how friendly the dogs were, and also quite small and compact! With the working lines you can really get anything in size and built depending on the line!

Pam worked her dogs Jet, Kellie, Gaby, Spook, Charlie and Punch - so quite a busy day! I also got to work Dracu, we did quite a long workout with her on sheep in Pam's nice, dry indoor arena! I got some really good tips about how to move, when to put pressure and when to release it. Poor Dracu was so tired after we worked her for almost an hour!

Don't think  posted these pics yet! My new cowboy boots, from Texas :D

Far too soon I had to bid my new friend goodbye. We were in a rush to get going as I had an agility trial the next day in Columbia, Missouri, a 3-hour drive away. When we finally got there, it was getting dark, raining and very cold! I was already in a lousy mood and then we spent a good two hours trying to find a reasonably priced motel for the weekend. But, as I learned way too late, it was game weekend (stupid, stupid American football be damned!) and all the priced were pretty much doubled!!! I finally settled at a Motel 6, seething angry. WHY did I have to pay extra if I'm not here to watch football???? So the weekend was not off to a good start...

Kinda felt like turning the car around and driving back South, or the desert, or Florida... Hrr...

maanantai 29. marraskuuta 2010

ASCA Agility trial in Rendon, TX

There was a 3-day ASCA agility trial in Rendon, Texas, which is just about 15 minutes out of Fort Worth. Driving South from Whitesboro would have been a 1,5 h drive, but I hit some NASCAR traffic! It was insane, just standing in line for 20 minutes without moving anywhere! :O

I did eventually make it to the competition area. It was a big horse arena that is normally used to host rodeos, barrel racing etc. A roof and some walls, but no heating. The first day (Friday) had three runs, one Gambler and two Jumper-runs. I had entered Dracu in only Novice class because I had no idea you could start from Elite if you wanted and just get your Novice and Open titles there! The classes were super small but everybody was really nice and welcoming. AND I won the prize for longest distant traveler! :D

Our first run was Gamble Novice. Dracu jumps in the 20'' height (about 51cm) and that is lower than what we would normally in Finland, 23,5''. The Gablers class in something we had never done (as we don't have anything similar in Finland) but I had read the rules and everybody helped me out. Basically you have 30 sec to collect as many points as possible by doing any obstacles you want. Different obstacles are worth a different amount of points. When 30 sec is up there is a buzzer and you need to do a 4-6 obstacle course the judge has made + there is a line that the handler can't cross so the dog has to do the so called "Gamble" in a distance.

So what could be better for us than a competition where you don't get faults (you just don't get points for a faulty performance) and you need to be fast and work at a distance? We had a load of fun even though Dracu was a bit confused that after doing the contact or what ever we just turned around and did it again! Our first run was a Q (qualified) with 1st place and high points :)

 The two Jumpers-classes were super easy, just straight lines and only jumps and tunnels allowed. But the jump distances were a bit different and Dracu knocked a bar or two down on both runs. But man was she fast!! She was going about 6,5 YPS (pretty much the same in meters)! Because the jumps were so low she could just plow on like a crazy dog!

On Saturday we had quite a busy time with 5 runs total! 1 Gambler, 2 Jumper and 2 Regular. We got an other Q from Gambler and got a new title GS-N - Gamblers Standard Novice! The other runs didn't go as well with more bars coming down. Even though the courses are a lot easier than Finnish courses there was one really difficult thing in even Novice, tunnel-contact combinations. We have not really gotten to train these yet and had some trouble with them. We made one more Q, this time from Novice Jumpers. We also had one VERY nice, fast and clear Regular class, but were disqualified because I went back to correct Dracu in the beginning because she stood up. In Finland the course has not started before the dog comes over the first jump but here it apparently is...

On Sunday we had 5 more runs! Again 1 Gambler, 2 Jumpers and 2 Regulars. We had gotten special permission to move up the Open Gamblers but didn't make the gamble. It was super hard, you had to stay way behind and get your dog into the farther side of a U-tunnel :O Even though I could laugh that the Elite courses are easier than the Novice classes in Finland, some of these Gambles are super hard! The dogs here really have to know long distance work and know the difference between the obstacle names! We did get a Q from Jumpers and got our title JS-N - Jumpers Standard Novice. We also qualified on the second Jumpers course, but had a bit of a commotion! A border collie got loose and chased us around! It was no big deal because Dracu didn't even notice, but they couldn't get our time. So we got to run the course again right away to get a time. We knocked some bars down this run but they only marked the time :)

So we got two titles and had a LOT of fun :D But the courses (all straight running, hardly any turns) really killed Dracu's turns! Also all the speed she got leaded to her knocking bars a lot more than normally. But it was cool just running like crazy and sending Dracu off to run like crazy! A lot of people were really impressed with her and she was the fastest dog in the trial, hands down.

Oh and just for me, our Gabler points were in total: 51, 60 & 35 (without gamble). Dracu's speed (YPS) were at best 6,58 (on Jumpers) and 5,62 (on Regular)