Our big adventure at the Cluster

Add this to the list of intended posts for 2016 that didn’t quite make it to fruition until now.

In late November, we went to the Thanksgiving Cluster in West Springfield, Mass. I swore I wasn’t going to go, but I went to help with a fund raiser for a friend, so I entered both dogs.

Chico ran Jumpers with Weaves and my goal was for me to stay calm enough that he wouldn’t die on the start line – that’s how he shows that he’s feeling my stress, which is usually caused by waiting for our turn. It’s a tough one to unwind. Anyhow, we got it right because the standard course time was 50 seconds, and we went through in 35.8 (or was it 38.5? No matter really). An off-course, muffed weave poles and something else that I now forget, but I had a fast, happy, almost 12 year old, dog. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I was walking on air for a good twenty minutes.

Then Bonney did a very short course in Novice Jumpers, and had two runs in the non-competitive, after hours, B Match. I have video of her first run, which includes what I realize was a kinda mean trick – I didn’t give her a chance to explore the seesaw before she ran it, and it was full height, something that was pretty new to her at that point. You can tell by the way she flies off that she was totally surprised. But I think she made an excellent recovery.

Sadly, there is not video of the spectacular fall I took when she ran around a jump and right between my legs in the second run. I cued the jump, honest I did. Voice and body. But it seems I needed to hold that send-to-jump position a fraction of a second longer to assure her commitment to the jump. I moved and she came with me. They call that handler focused. Or they say your dog has a lack of obstacle commitment.

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