Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gifford Pinchot State Park Camping and CPE Agility @ Rocky Creek Agility !!

This past weekend was my first ever camping trip + trial weekend combination.  It was equal parts fun and a lot of work and I would do it all over again in a heart beat.   (Next time it sure would be fun to bring the husband and camper along to replace the tent, though!)

We arrived on Friday night well after dark.  I pulled into the to site and got to work setting the tent up by car headlights and headlamp.   I nearly killed my car battery though.  I thought I was fast, but when I finished with the tent I saw that my headlights looked a lot more dim than they had when I arrived!  My car barely turned over but it thankfully did start, so I left it running for a while to charge while I "moved in" to the tent for the weekend, got ready for bed and got the dogs settled in.  "Lights out" at 10:30 and up early the next morning for the trial!

We were at the same venue that I took Molly to last week - where we had to crate outdoors and Molly was a reactive stressy disaster.  I was absolutely determined to get an indoor crating spot for her to limit this.  I arrived at 7:05, and you were not supposed to arrive before 7am.   The crating area was nearly full!  Thankfully my friend was there early and saved me a spot.  Yikes!  It is amazing to me that only in this month am I realizing how absolutely important an early arrival and ideal crating spot is for Molly's performance.

We started with Fullhouse - smart!  Molly was focused and working with me right out of the gate for the weekend.  We earned 30/25 points in 27.30 seconds, I could have tried for some more obstacles!  We did tire to tunnel and took the single jumps diagonally across the ring to the other tunnel.  We then did the single jump back to the tunnel on the right of the ring and then did that loop twice and down the single jump line to the tunnel.  

Next was Standard Level 4.  We had three refusals (Yes CPE doesn't count them but I am afraid that I do!) on jumps.  They ate up our time and we had three time faults as a result, but that is still a Q!  Molly was working a bit slow, I noticed and that continued for the rest of the day.  SCT 55 and we were 58.35s

Snooker Level 4 next.  I really loved my plan and it went off really well.   We NQd for a dropped bar in the closing.   She seemed to think she had done something wrong after the first part of the treadle (because I beat her, you know.) and was so slow going towards the jump.   She drug over it and pulled the jump down.   Sadness, we had a really nice run.   (Of note, Molly dropped three bars this weekend and they were all bars that she took while running towards the sunny open building doors.) 6R,6R,5R,Closing.

Next was Colors Level 4.  We did the Circle course and qualified!   That was our last needed Level 4 Colors Q so we got to move up to Level 5.  Bonus, we were under SCT!  (by .1 second haha.)

I entered Perri in Colors Level 1.  Very exciting, her first ever trial!  I was more than a little nervous about it but I thought that it might be a good idea to enter her very gradually in some CPE runs to continue building up her confidence.  And then, I missed the walk through and had to run the course cold!  I ran the circle course with her.
When I took Perri into the ring she gave a glance at the practice jump and then at me.  I don't know for sure but it was really as if she was wondering, "What are we doing in here?" (I have been bringing Perri to trials and playing with the practice jump at those trials for months now.)
We started off with Perri disconnected and unfocused, worried about ringside and not locked onto me.  We had a connection for about three obstacles and then I mishandled her and lost her after the 180 (this is where I wish I had walked the course!)   But all the same, she qualified with no faults (she had sniffed a tunnel in the beginning but did not step into it, so it was not considered an off course.)  I was so proud of her!

After that I had one more run with Molly.  It was a fun course with some fun , do-able challenges.  We had two bobbles that put us 7 seconds over time so we NQd.  No more than 5 time faults allowed.  I did not know we were that far over and was surprised when I saw the "NQ" next to Molly's name.  Oh well!  The last bobble in particular, I can usually count on Molly driving onto a jump line, but instead she didn't commit to the obstacle.  She was very tired from not sleeping well in the tent, and it was the end of the day after all.

Tired though we all were, we were camping and I thought the dogs might enjoy blowing off some steam on a little hike and also going for a swim in the lake.  Gifford Pinchot is a lake park primarily and there is not an abundance of hiking trails.  I usually look for a trail that is tagged "Difficult" and is squirreled in some far corner of the park so that I can let at least Ein off leash, but I did not really see anything matching that description.  We went on the "Lakeside Trail" and just faced the masses of people that I knew would be there.  I also had to keep in mind that Ein's foreleg is still not 100 percent.  We could not do a long hike, it would not be fair to him.  Ein and I actually hiked the entire 8.5 mile Lakeside Trail in 2008!
We walked a little way until the trail moved inland away from the lake, and then I walked through the woods into the lake shore.   This would put a little distance between us and the trail so that no one would mind some wet, off leash, ball fetching dogs.   Someone did pass by while we were playing fetch with a helpful yell of "Go Doggies!" to Molly and Perri.  

The lighting was awful for photos.  Everything felt rushed.  There were people absolutely everywhere, both on shore and on land.  It was not peaceful.  Since I am trialing so much lately I do feel a nagging sense of betrayal for my hobby of hiking.  I miss it.  We were camping at a beautiful State Park and I don't even think that I hiked a full mile!  I was also having a lot of sad feelings about our hiking distance being actually limited by Ein - my trail dog.  How could this be?  It all felt so wrong.  The dogs did not share my emotional turmoil and they had a wonderful albeit short time by the lake!

Molly was tired.  Oh, she ran out into that lake again and again for her ball.  But she does not normally swim this low in the water.  

Ein wasted no time finding a snack for everyone to enjoy.  

But I took it and threw stick for him instead.  (I only throw sticks for Ein in the water, where there is no chance he will drive onto one and injure his throat or mouth!)  
No one needs to be eating nasty old fish that possibly have fish hooks inside of them.

No friggin clue how tired she is!

With more guilt, I called Molly off the lake.  I didn't want to exhaust her too much, and I didn't want her to cut her feet up.  Tomorrow was to be another full day!  The dogs were so much calmer and happier on the walk back to the car than they were on the way there - of course!

We went back to the campsite and I fed everybody and made my own dinner.  I had no electric at the campsite, so I brought my backpacking stove and a little skillet pan.  I sauteed some green peppers, garlic and mushroom in olive oil, threw some cheese into that and wrapped it up into some mini quesadillas to enjoy.  

Meanwhile, in prison...

I hung blankets nearly around the entire thing, because a certain three dogs enjoy barking at people who walked by our campsite.  Every.  Single.  Person.  And god help me if there was a dog!

Someone enjoys digging and rooting in the dirt to pass her time...

My plan was to wait until about 8:30.  Get a shower.  Make some smores and read by head lamp.  Nature decided differently!  The sky got dark, thunder rumbles started, the wind slowly began to pick up.  I barely got all of my stuff safely inside of the car and tent before the rain started pouring and we were surrounded by a really loud thunderstorm.  Molly had her Thundershirt on and was pretty much crawling inside of my body for safety.  A little after 9 I gave up trying to read and just went to sleep.  Boo!

The next morning we were up early to break down camp.  The tent was soaking wet and so was the expen.  I shoved the mess into my car and planned to dry it out throughout the day while I was at the trial.  (And, I did!)

We started with Jackpot Level 4.  When I saw the Aframe in the gamble I decided that we were going to NQ.  Well, we got 45 points out of 44 needed, and we did the gamble perfectly!  We were unfortunately three seconds over time.  When the buzzer went off she was on the dog walk, so we had to come off of that, get all the way across the ring for the gamble.  And when I went to send her to the tunnel she went up the Aframe.  That all ate up too much time!  Regardless, I was very happy with our work on this course - it shows that we have certainly come a long way!

Next was Fullhouse Level 5 and this was a Q.  We officially have all of our C-ATCH level Fullhouse Q's.  WOW.  28 points!  

Next was Standard Level 4.  I was completely convinced that we were going to get an off course Aframe on the way to the 4-Tunnel.  We did not!  This run was our best of the weekend, not a single bobble and 6 seconds under SCT - I am so sad it is not on video!  Oh well.

Colors Level 5 up next!  I went with the Square course on this one.  I was not fast enough after that straight tunnel and she turned into me and seemed very demotivated.  I got her going again and we qualified , two seconds under SCT.  Good!

Last run of the weekend for Molly, Wildcard Level 4.  This run went perfectly except for a weave refusal.  I did not step out to support her into the entrance well enough.  But she went into them with little argument and we qualified with one time fault!  I did 3b, 4b and 9a.

I was so proud of Molly this weekend.  Her contacts were really great on the whole - the only time she blew was on the Jackpot run first thing Sunday morning.  Otherwise she was really all the way to the bottom on the Aframe.  The weave poles were a major improvement as well.  She was certainly slower than normal this weekend, espcially on Saturday - part of that is of course because of camping and tenting, and some part of it is because I waited until the absolute last second to pull her from her crate and go into the ring.  There was barely any time spent ringside while she is driven to distraction by rude and loud dogs.

Our last run of the weekend was Miss Poodle in Wildcard Level 1.  I was not sure how the dog walk would go!  She is still a little insecure on the dog walk and I would not have been surprised if she had bailed off.  She didn't!  She seemed interested in the ring crew at the bottom of the walk but came with me and ran the rest of the course really really nicely.  Clean and 14 seconds under SCT.  I absolutely love her joy and trotting with me and wagging her tail after we completed the course.  This is what it is all about!  I was over the moon proud of Perri, I cannot even say that enough!  

With those two Q's, Perri earned her Level 1 Handler title.  Baby dog's first Agility Title.

And just like that, it was all over!  Is it Friday yet?

I won some pretty amazing prizes in the workers raffle this weekend:
Three free entries for future Rocky Creek agility trial (their next trial is actually not-this-weekend-but-next, so I used this for Perri to try Standard and Jumpers at that trial!)
10 Dollar Starbucks Gift Card
Huge crinkly stuffed dog toy and box of treats!

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