Going to new heights- often a bit scary but quite exhilarating both in pursuit and actualization!
The start of the beta phase of our endeavor was largely positive. I'm glad... I suppose... To see that most of the bars were ME and not her lack of ability. Easier to work with I guess.
We had four runs, five bars. We've done worse at 22" in a single day, so I can't say it was some huge decline. Two of those were first bar down and I blame our frienemie the dogwalk. It was looking at her and she was looking at it. And in doing so looking through the jump. Homework!
The other three (and really, part of one of the start line bars) were me, me, Meee. Call your dog over a jump. Bad. Drop support while your dog is jumping. Bad. Give your dog a crap approach. Stupid and bad.
But I will learn to adjust, just like The Dog.
Part of MY issue is engaging myself more fully. While I can't be in her way, I can drive better and cue earlier. No lazy allowed. I was hoping these courses would be a bit more technically difficult ("international-y") to force my engagement but they were more speed kills and random spacing. But it's probably better this way, more telling!
We ran two rounds of standard type, one of Snakes and Ladders (where point robbing occurred and pipe tunnels blew her mind!) and one jumpers type. Strangely it was the jumpers course where she figured out the jumps the best (but I was smart to the engagement thing and providing much more information to her about collection by then) and didn't take any down. She was most off the pace there which isn't unusual in 22" either though she has been closing the gap there. I assume once she gets better at jumping at 26" there will be improvement in the new height too.
Her times were very good for the standard classes though, right in the mix (which uh, is saying something if you look at our 26" dogs around here). I think I was worried about an overall issue with being fast enough (since that's kind of required if we take this the long haul) but no need. If anything she was faster than at 22".
Observations for the record: I noticed that she puts in odd little collection strides here and there- not when called for. Probably in the name of being good and ensuring she keeps the bars up? But really need to find exercises to build her confidence to extend more and know what's appropriate for the situation. In slow motion it seems these are the times the jumping looks inverted.
A least things make sense. Nothing that makes me lose sleep asking WHYGODWHY??? (Not that I do that about agility. Well. Maybe the dogwalk. Once or twice.)
AS for her dogwalks. They were good! Her first (on her good side) was perfect. (Bad management after by me but no need to get into that.) Her other two were on the right, one was good though seemed slower to me and the other seemed off. "In" but strange, and in video it seems that she collected before getting on which makes no sense with the load (WHYGODWHY) and that threw her off enough to go to six strides instead of five. Odd. Something to ponder.
Overall, I'm happy and encouraged and all that. No one seemed aghast at my jumping her at 26" so it probably looked as ok as I think it did. AND. Her mood was excellent. She had fun; I think she likes jumping big. She had a naughty and ran around the ring while they were setting bars and she should have been setting up before our run in the last class- she only does that when she is high in practice. Good sign, bad timing. Nice judge, thanks for not E-ing us!
At this point, given all that, we will go ahead with The Plan. Some 26" from now until April, then 26" in AKC after that. FEO at WTTO if they will have us, and see where we are at around July. I DO want to go to Tulsa so if it isn't going well we may have to evaluate the long haul and resume 20". Likewise if she doesn't hold up physically we will abandon ship.
It's nice to have escape clause riders.