SCOR CPE Agility April 15, 2012, Rose Street Stables, Cream Ridge, NJ

April 15, 2012 was the first agility trial of the season for  Scraps and Rags.  They both finished up 2011 strong, but after after taking the winter off, we didn’t know what to expect.  Additionally, this CPE trial required a small road trip to Cream Ridge, NJ.  Horse country in Monmouth County just minutes off I-195.

Kathy and I are spoiled in that most of our trials take place at St. Huberts, which we can bike to if we elect. Cream Ridge was to be an hour and a half trip from home which means a 5:45 departure and a 5am wake-up, neither of which are our forte. Nevertheless, we did pretty well and were on the road at 6am.  The trip was only an hour and a quarter and we were there in plenty of time.

Nice thing about this venue at an indo0r horse ring is there is little to set up.  The less of your stuff that enters the ring the better.  The ring was dark, dank, dusty and dirty.  The floor is dry dirt mixed with horse manure making the entire day filthy.  It does detract a bit from it all as the filth is omnipresent.  It’s a big difference compared to the bucolic St, Huberts field at which we typically train and trial.

Who knew how the dogs would react?  Rags has never been in and around horses and Scraps ran in one horse ring years ago, but that was it.  Last winter we were taking class after class coming into the spring, but this year all we have done is get to St. Huberts and several occasions to practice.  From the get-go Rags looked go and lively in her first run having a minor case of the zoomies but she was running.  After that she never got her bounce and she went 0 for 5.  Scraps on the other hand, seemed distracted by the dirt floor and only had a few moments of good focus and momentum but somehow he qualified in 4 of his 5 runs.

We helped clean up the place and were on the road by 4:30pm after snapping a few photographs of the horses.  While traveling on I-195 to the Turnpike we noticed the Turnpike was totally backed up going north so we kept going west on I-195 and took Route 130 north home.  I think this was a wise decision as we noticed a ugly looking fire on the horizon while on Route 130 that was coming from the direction of the Turnpike.  This afforded us an opportunity to stop at a McDonalds and wash up a bit while picking up a little bite to eat.  It wasn’t until we got home that I was able to give the dogs a good bath before they jump all over our bed.  It’s good to be clean once again.

SCOR CPE Agility Dec. 10 and 11, 2011, K9 Campus, Randolph, NJ

Day 1 – Saturday, December 10, 2011

This was the last agility trail for Scraps and Rags for the year and it was quite a year in agility for the two of them.  We started 2011 with Scraps taking classes at K9 Campus with Linda Bogart.  After one series of classes I was able to get Rags into the class and from then on, we trained with Linda at both K9 Campus and St. Huberts in 3 or 4 series of classes with Scraps and Rags together.  Rags had just finished her second agility class at St. Huberts in the fall and without getting her into this class with Scraps, it was going to be an agility-free winter or Rags.  Fortunately that was not the case.

Rags’ training may have eventually taught her to do each obstacle, getting her to run is another ball of wax.  In addition, none of it compares to getting her used to performing at a trial with all of the distractions and none of the in-ring rewards.

Scraps on the other hand really learned to run in unison with Kathy this year.  Linda taught them the “switch” command and with that they seem to run as a much more fluid team.  Additionally, they have done a lot of work on handling skills, discrimination and weaves.  All of this makes Scraps a much better dog in the ring.   Though he is now a veteran and we have lowered his jump height in NADAC to 8″, he still loves to run agility with Kathy and their success continues to build.

Though this weekend at k9 Campus is the tenth and final trial of the year, we haven’t practiced too much in recent weeks and our level of activity with agility has waned quite a bit, so we weren’t expecting too much from this weekend.  All of our practice in the past several months has been outdoors at St. Huberts.

At the last trail Rags for the first time was finishing courses on an agonizing difficult and slow but almost consistent basis.  Knowing this was indoors, distraction-less and compact, I had some hopes that Rags could run the courses and with a little luck, CPE friendly course times and the enthusiast  handicap, we may squeeze out a qualifying run.  After all, Rags earned her one and only qualifying score of her life here in August.

I was able to walk Rags through the almost every course and she missed her qualifying score in Jackpot by 3 seconds even though she finished the 4 obstacle Jackpot distance test.  It was pretty easy.  Finally, by the end of the day  we pulled out a qualifying score in Wildcard in 33 seconds, 7 seconds ahead of the 40-second course time.  Compared to where Rags was during her first trails where getting her over the first jump was not always assured, we were feeling pretty good.

Scraps on the other hand was right a home on the fast, cushioned surface.  He didn’t sniff and was fast and nimble.  He and Kathy scored a perfect 5 out of five qualifying runs.


Day 2 – Sunday, December 11, 2011

K9 Campus is a very tight so the variety of course layouts was limited and I could get Rags used to doing and out and back loop.  We started off the day with a pretty good jumpers run but missed the time by 11 seconds but still lots of obstacles to go in and out.  She showed more promise though and as we went on and we got a “Q” in the next run, then the next run and then the next two.  Oh, my G-d, four out of 5 qualifying runs.  Well they were walks but they were qualifying.  And that I call progress.

Scraps for the second day in a row was flawless and got 4 out of 5 Qs.  He was heading down his nemesis the teeter for his 5th out of 5 Qs, but Kathy caught it right before it hit and accepted the disqualification for Scraps’ sake.  Nevertheless, it was a perfect weekend in our eyes.

After a great weekend like this it kind of gets you psyched to train over the winter and get set for next years’ season of agility.

SCOR NADAC Agility November 5 and 6, 2011, St. Huberts, Chatham, NJ

Day 1, Saturday November 5, 2011

Day 2, November 6, 2011

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