Monday, May 10, 2010

Outdoor Agility Season!!

OMG! It's here! And man are we excited about it! Well, Josie's excited and Wyatt is... well, it depends on the day, the temperature, his bio-rhythms and... me. Sigh. More on Wyatt in a minute.

Josie at the April USDAA trial in Farmington

We've taken part in three trials so far. If Josie's results are an indication, she and Suzie are on their way to a nice season. Josie is hitting her weaves more consistently (a bit of a problem area) and she is getting more comfortable running ahead of Suzie -- a must for a fast girl whose legs are almost as long as her handler's!

At this past weekend's AKC trial in South Jordan, Josie got more Qs than not and in just her second trial, she's a leg shy of moving up to Open in both Standard and Jumpers. (I note here that AKC Novice courses are ridiculously simple. My humble opinion anyway.) And the great thing about Josie is that she just loves agility.

Wyatt at the UKI Fun Trial ~ photo: Carol Clawson

Wyatt, on the other hand, probably won't miss agility at all when he's no longer running. The summer heat only adds to his occasional on-course apathy. Try as I do -- and if you've seen us run you know I am as much cheerleader as handler -- I'm starting to 'lose' him (his attention) with increasing frequency. Still, he got an Excellent standard leg this weekend and was oh-so-close in two Jumpers runs. So I think we'll run this summer and then Wyatt's gonna get a big ole 'Retired' sign on his kennel. Perhaps he'll pursue that modeling career he's always talking about.

That EXCELLENT photo of Wyatt above was taken by our friend Carol Clawson. As cute as "Mr. Never a Hair Out of Place" is, the photo illustrates one of the banes of our agility existence: contacts. W just loves to hang out on top of the A frame before frequently doing a leaping dismount.

And me? I had so much fun shooting agility last year that I'm just excited, almost giddy, to be able to photograph in good outdoor light again. At the same time, I'll almost certainly shoot fewer trials than last year. I will be at the local ASCA trial this weekend. It's a nice, relaxed venue and Robyn Garrett and Linda Hahn were very supportive last year in allowing me to shoot when I was still trying to figure out how to shoot these wonderful athletes we're so lucky to have in our lives! (And I'll be running with Wyatt.)

Here are a few photos from the April USDAA trial. I shot very little at this show as I was running Wyatt and, frankly, just wanted to relax and visit with friends... But a few turned out nice and kind of reinvigorated me for the upcoming season.

Cesar - airborn and with a tailwind


Lock-step. Can you see it?

Pushing through the chute