Monday, August 20, 2007

Blaze: AAC Nationals Competitor WOW!

Just got back from 4 days of competition at the AAC Nationals in Halton Hills Ontario. All I can say is WOW! Over 600 dogs competed over 4 days. It was a huge event, well organized, and such a fun and festive atmosphere. Blaze had some of his best runs ever in our agility career...... what a time and place to put it all together, at a national event. It looks like great coaching really pays off. We still have our issues, and the weave poles are definitely something we have to work on! Blaze had 3 clean runs that were under the standard course time. A feat we have never accomplished before at a single event. All 7 of his runs were run with the enthusiasm and motivation that is truly Blaze. This type of harmony between dog and handler is what we have been struggling with for some time. Our first run, the steeplechase, was marred only by the weave poles......he had fun and ran fast.

On Friday we did 3 runs. Our first run of the day was our standard run. He missed the weave pole entry twice, costing us refusals and time faults. After this run, I was doubting whether or not to continue on in agility. I was even doubting we should be at a national event....... I was so frustrated on my way back to to tenting area, I considered giving up competitive agility with Blaze.....
After a few minutes of contemplating this, I sat back and really thought about our run..... Blaze was having a blast out there, he ran the whole course fast, with enthusiam, and motivation..... He never once slowed down or told me he didn't want to do it...... this fact knocked me back into reality and made me realize that he is enjoying himself, what dog agility is all about.

Our next run was the jumpers run, Blaze's favourite event. We ran the course clean and under time, WOW! What a spectacular run. The chemistry was still there. Our final run of the day was the gamlers run. Typically our most difficult event. Blaze was the same enthusiastic, driven dog. It was a great feeling! We even got the gamble, in 9 seconds under time! Truly amazing! It was a great day for us.

Saturday brought on another jumpers and gamblers run. Our gamble opening was spectacular, with Blaze running fast and with lots of drive. We didn't get the final gamble, but it was due to handler error! Poor Blaze! In the jumpers run, I fell near the end, causing Blaze to move past a jump and get a refusal...... it would have been a clean run and under time......he worked great and had fun!

Sunday was the final standard run, it was a tricky, twisty course with lots of traps in it...... it would test all of our training skills..... We ran clean and 19 seconds under time!!!!!!! Simply amazing for me and Blaze, especially since it was the fourth day in a row of competition and he has never been to an event that long before.

It was an awesome weekend of agility, and proved beyond a doubt we have what it takes to compete at a national level. We can only hope to improve our skills, and with great coaching, we have high hopes for next year. I am so pleased with our performance I can't even really put it into words.

It was the experience of a lifetime!

Enjoying the moment,
Dianne & Blaze :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blaze: Masters Jumpers Dog of Canada

Blaze and his ribbons from the Tamsu Trial, Aug 11th, 2007
Blaze received his Masters Jumpers title today from the AAC. What a way to celebrate his 5th birthday! We did very well at the Tamsu trial, with Blaze receiving a qualifying score in one of his Standard runs, a Jumpers run, and his first Steeplechase "Q". He received 2 first place finishes and a 3rd place finish in the competitive 16 inch veterans class. He would have had a second Standard "Q" ( and his MAD title!) had it not been for handler error on the third last jump.....poor Blaze! Blaze seems to be enjoying his new jump height of 16 inches and the extra time a veteran dog gets. He worked very nice for me, I was very pleased. Things seem to be looking up for us. It's our first trial in 9 months, we took some time off to try and work on our training issues. Nationals are next week! Way to go Blaze!