3 Titles in 1 Weekend - Smack Dab's AKC Trial

11 Mar 2010Steve Schwarz

I’m thrilled with how well Meeker and I did at the Smack Dab’s AKC trial in Naperville, IL this past weekend. It was a big trial with 3 rings and all three judges had the maximum allowable number of runs; the trial was full all three days. Going in I half hoped we could complete all three of Meeker’s Open titles. We needed 2 Open Std, 1 Open JWW and all three Open FAST qualifying scores to get all three titles. What do you know, we earned them all even though the weekend didn’t start out very well.

I won’t bore you with the play by play of every run, the video below covers all the runs and I’ve annotated it in areas where I messed up or could have made improvements. Thanks so much to Nancy, Liz, Cindy, Mike and Tim for video taping!

On Friday we Q’d Open FAST and then in Open Standard I thought something looked a little strange when Meek went into the weaves, but I thought I just imagined it. I should have noticed which side of the weaves he came out on; he’d entered 2nd pole. So I crossed the line thinking I’d had a pretty good run (the rest of it was fine). It wasn’t until the scores were posted that I found we hadn’t Q’d and the video confirmed what went wrong. Oh well. It was almost 4 hours later that we ran Open JWW and my concentration just wasn’t there, I was so concerned with supporting Meeker on a push over a jump that I disconnected with him on the way to the next jump and pushed him over an off course. So I went home disappointed in my handling.

The next morning didn’t start off too well, the sun was shining so brightly that I had my sun glasses on. I didn’t noticed that right next to my car was a thin sheet of black ice. I fell right on my wrists, spun around and ended up on my butt almost before I even knew what was happening! Luckily no real damage done. Handling wise, everything clicked, I stayed focused on Meeker, worked his contacts, and my handling felt good throughout most of the runs. I was running to qualify so I was a little cautious. We Q’d all three runs on Saturday so I was able to move Meeker up to Exc A JWW on Sunday.

Sunday morning was a little exciting, I foolishly hadn’t checked the running order for Exc JWW and thought that 20” dogs were running last like the day before… Luckily Anne saw me walking FAST in the Open ring and hollered for me to walk the course. I got 3-4 minutes of walking which was enough. I was intent on getting our last Open FAST leg, since FAST isn’t always offered I wanted to get it. I think I almost got a refusal on the first obstacle of the send/gamble when I was further behind Meek that I had planned and he turned off the obstacle. I spun him around me and we were fine from then on. I was able to watch some of the Exc B dogs run in JWW and when our time came I tried a Serpentine Serpentine Handling TechniquesSerpentine Sequence of the offset jumps in the closing segment as I’d seen some folks do successfully and it worked very nicely for us. Getting our final Open Std leg right after lunch time was a great way to end the weekend.

So the summary was we earned 7 Qs for 9 attempts, 5 1st places, a 2nd and a 4th. I’m most proud of the Exc A JWW run on Sunday; our time was within 0.5 seconds of the fastest Exc B 20” dog so that is a pretty good result when competing against over 150 dogs. Looking at the video I can see where I could have improved my handling to recoup that time. In the past I’ve had some folks tell me how Meeker is only a “middle of the pack” Border Collie. Now I have seen how we can do in comparison to a large field on the same course. He may not look like he is going all that fast, but if I handle him intelligently, we can cover the ground with the “big” dogs.

There are certainly areas in which we need to improve. But right now I’m enjoying the moment. It is a great feeling when Meeker and I start to “click” on course and a lot of good things came together this weekend. I’m so proud of my boy.

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