Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gulfport Trial - Sept 2010

Michele and Maxie, Sunday
Proof photo by Michael Loftis
Legs Earned:  Maxie: 4 Q's out of 6 runs,
OJ2, OJ3, XS1, XS2; 3 1st places and 1 3rd place.

Just got back from a 3-day Gulfport trial (actually in Long Beach).  Stayed at the Ramada Inn in Gulfport, about a 20 minute drive from motel to arena. Roomed with Sheryl Mc and Charlie.

NOTES:  Brought too much luggage.  Continental breakfast provided an extra banana during the day.  I don't need to bring so much food or extra clothes.

Brought Maxie to compete and Lucky to get used to the trialing environment.  Both did fine, but 3 days on a sandy, dusty surface with horrible rain storms beating down on a hot tin roof was taxing on all our nerves. 

Trial Site Summary:  See link, upper right corner of this blog.

Lilly and Linda, from Pensacola
"Poetry In Motion"
Photo proof by Michael Loftis
Performance notes: Maxie and I earned 4 Q's out of 6 runs, 3 1st places and 1 3rd place.  At X level, I became interested in filming Maxie's 8"competitors, and discovered that 4 out of 8 of them are Papillons.  One, Lily, a black and white, is extremely fast.  We'll never beat her on time unless we start training for speed.  Lilly is also very accurate in her performance.  Very focused.  A seasoned 5 year old.  Puts her all into every run. A joy to watch.  I met with her trainer, Linda Walters, from Pensacola.  Very friendly, easy to talk to.  We exchanged emails, and she shared that Lily is her first agility dog.  They have been competing together since 2007.

I met my goal of earning our Open Jumpers title.  We did this on Fri and Sat, then moved up into Excellent Jumpers.  On Sunday, our first XJ run, we NQ'd.  Maxie popped out at the 5th weave, skipped a few poles then entered again.  He got distracted by something.  The weaves were alongside the bleachers and people were milling about.

Maxie In The Weaves, Sunday
Proof photo by Michael Loftis
 A bit harder for us, we NQ'd in our first XS run of the day.  So far, 2 XS runs, no Q's, same problem both runs. Maxie has a penchant for taking the dog walk even if I am pulling him hard towards another obstacle.  He is fascinated with the dog walk.  Head checks for it before we start our run, which shows up on the videos. Lesson learned:  BLOCK THE DOG WALK if it isn't the next obstacle I want him to take.  Also, say HERE very loud.  Our Friday run was good but for that wee tiny flaw.  He did pop out of the chute going backwards, but the judge didn't count that against us.

Our 2nd XS run, we Q'd with a 1st place, 65.2 sec.  It was crunchy, sloppy, and slow, but all the other 8" dogs were eliminated! I thought Maxie would never come off the table or exit the chute. Seconds seemed like minutes.

On Sunday we Q'd again in XS-A and won 1st place, 54.23 sec.

Videos: All of our performances for this weekend are posted  here. It's interesting to compare the different dogs, handler styles, and what can go wrong.  It's very hard to get a "clean run", though it looks almost effortless when you do.  Viewers learn a lot more about agility from watching the mistakes.

1. for the first time I didn't feel nervous before or during a run.  No stage fright. It felt no different than practicing at home. WHEW!  What a tremendous hurdle that has been to cross.
2. I have finally learned the routine.  Get my arm band first thing in the morning.  Check the running order for the day, know when I'll run, when I intend to film people, and when I can volunteer to work (when none of my teammates are entered).
3. I proved to myself I can get up early and get to the arena on time.
4. Lucky is proving herself to be comfortable in the trialing environment.
5. For the first time, I filled out my Agility Competition Recordbook using the scribe's notebooks.  Now I can keep track of the other 8" dog's performances, especially their times, and have some standard to train Maxie towards.  Maxie's 3rd place ribbon was because 2 other 8" papillons beat him on time, one by 3 seconds, the other by 1.5 seconds.  We just need to practice tighter turns, less pausing on the table and see saw, and running a little faster.

Maxie in the air, looking straight at the
photographer instead of at me!
Proof shot by Michael Loftis
New Goals:

1 more XS Q to earn our XS title; 3 more XJ Qs to earn XJ title.  That's my goal for 2010 -- 2 Excellent Titles. After that we will be competing for our Masters titles.  Oh, and more blue ribbons if possible.  It takes 10 Q's to earn a Master's title, so that will probably be my goal for Maxie in 2011.

Kiln Trial coming up Oct 24.  I've entered Fri and Sat only.  Goal: XS title for Max (need to Q on 1 out of 2 runs).  2 legs on XJ, then on to Lake Charles trial. 

Fun Match, Kiln, Thurs Oct 23.  I've entered Lucky in 4 runs and Maxie in 2, for practice.  My goal for Lucky is to get her ready to compete at novice level and enter her in the LCCOC's trial next April in Port Allen.

Stamina: I hope by then I have built up enough stamina to run 2 dogs in one day, a total of 4 runs per day.

I'm bringing my pop-up camper to Kiln for 3 nights, 4 days.  Flat terrain I'm told.  $15/night.  Still trying to get the camper gig right.

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