On Saturday we started with Open FAST and would have qualified and gotten our title if I had known that I wasn't supposed to cross the send bonus line until Peyton was all the way out of the tunnel (or maybe just 2 paws out, I'm still not sure). An OOPS on my part, otherwise it was a nice warm-up run.
Next was JWW and we had a great run going up until the end when I pretty much sent Peyton right into the off-course tunnel. This is a great example of what happens when you get caught up watching your pretty spotty dog run!
Our last run on Saturday was Excellent Standard and we got our 2nd AX leg with 1st place! The last half of this run was pretty messy - we had one big circle at the end that seemed to cause quite a bit of problems for dogs...or rather, handlers. In our case, I didn't cue a turn after the triple and Peyton didn't know where he was going. Oh and circles make me dizzy. :) Despite a lot of wasted time near the end, Peyton was the fastest qualifying 24" dog and 17 seconds under SCT.
Sunday wasn't exactly our day, but we did manage to have a few good moments. I really struggled to come up with a plan for these courses and even once I had a plan, my timing was really off. For the most part, Peyton ran where I sent him so I can't blame him. He was, however, higher than a kite! I think the chilly weather had him wound up a little more than usual.
Overall I think it was a successful weekend! I'm getting a little braver on my handling choices even when I know they aren't always the "safest" options...I've decided that I need to run like I train and trust that Peyton has the skills even when I know that they aren't always going to translate in a trial setting.
This trial was also a much needed reminder that I need to work on the timing and placement of my turning cues. Peyton HAS to know that a turn is coming before he takes an obstacle and there is very little room for errors on my part. He's not a dog that can be called off an obstacle at the last second, partly because his stride is so big and partly because he doesn't have enough handler focus at this point in trials. Not to mention that I would rather not have to rely on call-offs.
He's such a good boy though and despite being handler challenged, he's always so much fun to run!