I thought the opening was a straight forward two jump start to a front cross; but off the start, Devon was tentative. After the first jump she headed for an off course jump, which I called her off of but she went around the second jump. I started to go on, but then I realized we were in Open so I had one refusal. I wanted to Q; I'll admit it. We've had so many beautiful runs without a Q, I wanted that green ribbon.
So, I turned Devon around to get that second jump. It wasn't pretty, and she was stressed. She almost went off course again, but I got her straightened out and at least flowing again. I think at this point I said, "Ok Devon, we're back on track! Let's go!" and we did! I can't remember a time when Devon ran so confidently. She did an incredible job with this course, and I was no where I had planned to be.
It wasn't a pretty score, but she did Q and earn 3rd place for her second OAJ leg. Even more impressive to me was that she was only 3 seconds over course time with all the fussing around we did at the second jump. That means she was moving really well!
I was intimidated by the Open Standard course because it look really challenging to me on paper; it was a lot like the Excellent course. I was also completely wiped out before we ran this course. The two days of working had hit me by this afternoon. I have to say with all the work Liz and Annie did to help me in the JWW ring, it wasn't a tough job. And have you ever been to a trial where you had to turn away workers? We had so many workers! But being on my feet and watching the ring and rearranging schedules took it's toll. I was really glad we ran 1.5 hours earlier in Standard today than we did yesterday.
Once again Devon came through. She was hot and tired, too. And the batteries for the timers failed between the 24 and 20 inch dogs, which delayed her run. Those two things were minor, because worst of all I was micromanaging her on course. I knew it, and I couldn't help it. But I have a great dog who ran clean, did an awesome teeter and sprinted to the finish without even looking at the off course tunnel.
This clean run gave Devon her OA in four trials in two weekends. I'm so very, very proud of her!
I learned two things this weekend. First, Devon is a great dog who knows and LOVES this game. She's really starting to have a good time out there. Second, if I relax and run her, Devon runs great and fast. If I micromanage, she slows down into "being perfect" mode. I definitely want more of the great fast runs, even if they come with no green ribbons.
This is our last weekend of trialing for a while so we can concentrate on field training and tracking for the rest of the summer and fall. We'll still keep up with weekly classes so we can be ready for late fall and winter trials. I can't wait to start this girl's career in Excellent and start relaxing into an awesome team!