Posted by: allstaragility | September 5, 2013

Individual Pentathlon Speedstakes Finals.

So we have now come to the final course of the WAO Individual Pentathlon judged by Emiel Vervoort.  I apologize for the course map being a bit fuzzy, the link for the course in CRCD did not work so I had to take a screen shot from the PDF version.  You can see the video of our run HERE.

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Solei and I were in 2nd place going into the final round.  We were just under 3 seconds behind Saskia Vansteelant and Zorhan from Belgium who also had 4 clean rounds coming into the finals and a second ahead of Shaun Hunt with Phix from England (who had somking fast runs, but incurred a 5 second fault in one of them).  I knew we had a decent chance to make the podium if we ran clean. The team in first was so far ahead that 3 seconds was a tremendous margin to make up in one run and Shaun was right on our heels.

Speedstakes is somewhat similar to our USDAA Steeplechase.  Just the AF and weaves besides jumps and tunnels.  I was a little worried that this course would be hard for us to separate from the pack because they tend to be really straightforward, but when I saw the map, I knew we could take advantage of the more technical areas.  My biggest fear on this course was the set up from the weaves to the AF and following jump.  It really felt like an awful angle to the AF and I was concerned about her hitting the contact if I left her to get where I needed.  I am very grateful to Linda for reminding me how many A-frames we have done and just to trust my dog to do her job.  I appreciated those words of confidence.

The opening was pretty straightforward and where, as I was running from 2-3 thought I had just lost any time we could have gained on this course.  I think I was so in “run fast” mode that I didn’t tell Solei in advanced that we were turning after the tire.  I wanted to make sure she didn’t make contact with it, so perhaps that is why I didn’t give her a turning cue soon enough, but she sure did take a long look at the off course tunnel behind me!  I really didn’t even need to rush at that part, because I was already planning on throwing her out to #4 so I could get down the line to cue #6.  Oh well, chalk it up to jitters from being in the highest-pressure scenario we had ever been in.  I think I eased my mind after that and we both settled into the running the course.   This had very tricky exits after every tunnel so my main goal was to be in the right spot so Solei knew exactly where we were going next.  As she took the #5 tunnel, I started rotating my body so she would know we were turning afterwards to get the correct side of the jump and set a nice line for her to the weaves while I crossed behind her.

I flip-flopped so much while walking this course as to how I wanted to handle the section from #7-12!  As worried as I was about supporting Solei on the A-frame, I also knew it was critical for me to be in the right position to get her turned out of the #11 tunnel to the next jump.  Once I decided to trust Solei’s contact, I knew how it would best flow for us.  As she hit the weaves, I drove ahead enough to push a little to the A-Frame without getting behind that she looked at the wrong jump.  As she came off the AF, I gave a rear cross cue and sent her to the #10 jump with a wrap cue while I worked to get ahead of her to get a tighter line out of the relatively straight tunnel. It was a tricky balance for teams to get their dogs to take #10 and still be in position for the jumps after the tunnel.  Thankfully, Solei does a great job finding her line and taking responsibility for it so I can get ahead of her!

The same principal worked on the section from #12-15 as I got the tight turn to #12 and sent her to #13, I took of down the line to get ahead to cue the next jump after the tunnel.  I had to hold just a moment to make certain she pulled back in to take the #14 tunnel, but was thankfully far enough ahead to cross and take her to the correct side of the #15 jump.  Send and meet, send and meet was the theme of that whole section after the A-frame!

After the #15 jump, it was a bit of a footrace to get to the closing sequence and I knew I had to take advantage of working tighter turns through the end.  This is where I will be forever thankful that I taught Solei verbal wrap cues!  Even though I took off pretty quickly when Solei was on the correct path to take #15, there was no way I could beat her down to cue a front cross with deceleration and body cues.  As she drove over the broad jump towards #17, I gave her the cue to wrap the jump to the right and was blown away with how well she responded to it in that scenario.  she took that jump very lovely and I know it made up for a lot of time we lost in the beginning. As she collected to take that jump, it gave me the opportunity to cross and cue the Ketschker at #18.  I don’t believe she was as tight there as she could have been, but she kept her momentum going very well through the end.

We placed 4th in this round.  Saskia and Zorhan had an unfortunate fault in the round while Shaun and Phix gained about 0.5 seconds on us, but Solei and I managed to hang on for the win.  There were only 2 of us teams in the 650 division who ran 5 clear rounds, the other being a team from Portugal who ended up 7th overall in cumulative time plus faults.  I was over the moon that we could “run the table” and have 5 faultless rounds and broke into tears hugging the best blue doggie in the world when I found out we had taken gold.  Shaun Hunt and Phix earned Silver and Susan Garrett and Feature won the Bronze medal.

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Coming off of the Speedstakes final run!  What a good girl!!!

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Getting our gold medal!  Solei isn’t impressed with all of the pomp…Image

The medal podium for Individual Pentathlon.  Pretty proud moment for us!


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