Friday, July 1, 2011

Monroe Trial 2011

Maxie:  6 runs, 3 Q's XJ, XJ, XS, 2 3rd places XS and XJ, 1 QQ, 39 MACH Points Videos Posted
Lucky:  6 runs, 2 Q's, 1 1st place, 1 2nd place OJ, OPEN JUMPERS TITLE Videos Posted

Lucky, Maxie and Willow cozy in their crates,
bedecked with ribbons, and finally, me in a "crate space" picture.
The black X-pen propped up behind Lucky's crate, rugs
 draped down the back and sides, and the cooler,
gave them a "front view only and almost complete privacy.
This was my second visit to the Ike Exposition Center in West Monroe.  Last year it seemed huge, so this year I made sure I arrived early on Wednesday so I could position my crate space with some privacy.  To my surprise, the arena seemed smaller!  Still, it's a 4 day trial, away from home 5 days,  with 2 rings going at once -- very stressful.  We stayed at Motel 6, a roomy ground floor "handicap" unit with king bed, microwave, fridge and desk, very comfortable, and only 1/4 mile away from the arena.  It was $44.75/night, including tax, and no pet fee. My cooler was packed with 4 Ocean Spray bottle blocks of ice, which actually lasted thru all 5 days.  As it melted, we drank our own Baton Rouge water.

1-3 Q's XS, if 3, he earns his Masters Standard Title (3 chances).  DONE! Earned 2
1-3 Q's XJ.  DONE! Earned 1
1-3 2Q's.  DONE! Earned 1
A few Placement Ribbons  DONE! 2 3rd place ribbons, 1 QQ ribbon

1 Q OJ, earning her Open JumpersTitle OAJ (3 chances)  DONE!
2 Q's XS - A, earning her Excellent Standard Title AX (3 chances)
More Q's if possible, of course.   DONE! 1st Q in XJ
Improved time.
A few placement ribbons.  DONE! 1st place in XJ, 2nd place in OJ

However, I had another goal . . . . . . .  to run my dogs at all.
Nursing a 3 week old calf injury, I went to the doctor Tuesday Morning, who okayed me to run (nothing seems torn), but fixed me up with Naprelan 500 mg. anti-inflamatory and Metaxalone 800 mg muscle relaxer.  Supposedly, both are non-drowsy.  I took my first pills Tuesday around noon, and by 3 p.m. I was so loopy I tripped and fell once, and felt tongue tied all evening.  But by Wednesday my calf was only slightly tender.  Things were looking good. Left at 10 on Wednesday, and had the highway to myself the whole 200 mile, 4 hour drive.

My strategy for the weekend, therefore, was to take these pills after settling in for the evening, let them work their magic overnight and leave me pain free and alert the next day.  Secondly, recognizing myself as a complete wuss where pain is concerned, I primed myself to ignore any pain I might feel.

This didn't work at all!

THURSDAY: Maxie was the 9th dog to run.  The XS course was easy enough, I walked it several times with no discomfort, and felt confident.  But 3rd jump into the run, I felt my calf rip, pain jammed thru my leg, I winced, Maxie got confused and missed the next jump.  I managed to hobble thru the rest of the course without fault, but of course we NQ'd, and my weekend came to a screeching halt. 

Maxie was perfect, and there he was prancing around expecting a treat.  But the crate area now seemed blocks away. The arena seemed enormous again. My face felt like a water balloon, filled with tears, but none came out.  My heart was so heavy I could barely lug it around. Tracy, who was videoing us, came up and said the camera misfired, so more bad news.  I didn't catch any more videos this day.  That night I discovered the memory stick had become dislodged.  I pushed it back in, and we were good to go.

All of my aforementioned goals -- down the toilet.  All my entry fees lost.  My weekend ruined. Or so I thought, until Tracy offered to run Lucky in XS.  They have never run together but Lucky has played with her at the field.  So, after a bit of bonding and tugging, they headed onto the course, and miraculously Q'd!  It was a beautiful run.  MOST UNFORTUNATELY, I didn't have the good sense to hide, so when Lucky crossed the finish line I screamed for joy, she heard me and leaped over the ring gates to me . . . . . . . and was immediately disqualified.  SHIT! SHIT!  SHIT!   It seems I have to learn each and every single lesson in this sport personally, at cost.
I caught this run on my Sony Cybershot, and will certainly add this blooper to my ever-growing list of WHAT CAN GO WRONG IN THE RING.  Here it is:

On their second run of the day, Open Jumpers, Tracy took Lucky around the ring like the pro she is, Lucky Q'd and my first goal of the weekend was miraculously met -- Lucky's Open Jumpers Title.  Plus 2nd place!  Lucky walked thru the weaves and her time was a few seconds over SCT, but she Q'd.  I made sure I was hiding this time, and only screaming for joy on the inside.  My heart was pumping, though.  What an adrenalin rush!

Noel offered to run Maxie's second run of Thursday, and they did amazingly well, too, but not a Q.  Noel has never run Maxie, but she pretty much taught me how to handle so we handle similarly.  They warmed up awhile, Maxie pretty much paid attention to the hot dogs in Noel's mouth, but a few times during the run it seemed Maxie was looking for me and missed a few of Noel's cues. She did manage to catch him after the run.  I videod this with my little Sony Cybershot, but I can't find it now.  Bummer!  I'll keep looking.

Went to dinner with clubmates at El Sombrero Mexican restaurant, next door to Motel 6.  Wonderful enchiladas!

Tracy/Lucky with OJ TITLE ribbon,
1st and 2nd place ribbons
FRIDAY: Again, Maxie was 9th dog to run in XS, only this time Sandy R. ran him.  He ran wonderfully for her and Q'd . . . . . .  BUT, afterwards she couldn't get his leash on, he kept backing up and eventually ran out of the ring looking for me, and got eliminated.  Another perfect run gone awry.  Later, she ran him in XJ and they Q'd with time to spare.  She had practiced slipping the leash over his head beforehand this time, and he sat for her.  Another goal met.  It was a QQ day in my estimation.  AKC disagrees.

Lucky fared about as well, with Tracy running him, and me hiding up in the bleachers.  It was her first XJ - A run and a difficult course.  She ran 3 seconds over SCT, so 6 points were deducted from her 100 score, but she was the only dog to Q at 20", so she got 1st place.  What a frickin' shock!  Another goal met.

Went to dinner with club-mates at Outback Steakhouse.  It was Brittany's birthday (Noel's friend). The spinach/artichoke dip was a big hit.

SATURDAY:  With 4 runs to go and my leg no better, Tracy and Sandy agreed to run my dogs again on Saturday.  Both claimed they were enjoying it, though both were running multiple dogs of their own!

Noel and Sandy pose with Maxie,
wearing his QQ ribbon, 2
3rd place ribbons, and 3 Q's.
To my great joy, Maxie double Q'd with Sandy, and both were 3rd place runs.  So 2 more goals met.  Sandy said Maxie was "lots of fun to run", so now somebody besides me knows that!  I did hobble through the courses with her and gave a few handling tips, such as calling Maxie hard off the dog walk or he will take it every time, not front crossing after the A-frame because Maxie shoots down that sucker very fast, that he sends to the A-frame, dog walk and see-saw from a great distance, and that he has good "go outs". I learned later than one of Maxie's 3rd place wins was only by 1/100th of a second!  If the 4th place dog had exactly tied, there would have had to be a runoff!

Lucky didn't fare so well.  No Q's.  She just couldn't seem to focus, ran around jumps, and walked thru the weaves.  Her time was terrible.  Tracy chalked it up to "doing that hound dog thing".  Plus, by the 3rd day Lucky is always tired.  Tracy didn't seem quite herself either.  I myself was so tired from all the adrenalin pumping and stomach churning, not to mention trying with each step not to limp and make other body parts sore, I fell asleep by 4 p.m. watching TV and icing my leg, and didn't make it to dinner at Olive Garden with the gang on Saturday night.  I didn't even have the energy to download and watch the videos I took, and I always look forward to that!

All of these goings-on this weekend, with the Noel/Maxie, Sandy/Maxie, and Tracy/Lucky teams demonstrating that dogs can run for multiple handlers,  led to various comments among LCCOC clubmates about running each other's dogs once in awhile at practice, for insurance purposes. 
Reactions were mixed:
  • Some claimed their dogs would never run for anyone else.
  • Others opined that they didn't want to confuse their dogs with different handling techniques.  In my classes we practice each sequence several different ways. How can one know what what works best for you, until you try them all?
  • One person claimed she could never concentrate well enough to do the close handling my dogs take. 
  • Another said she would never let anyone else run her dog, because she didn't want to be shown up!   Oh, contrare!  I am so happy if someone can show me up, Q my dogs. I have no grand illusions about my skills, and what better way to learn how to improve myself.
  • Someone summed it up that dogs who enjoy agility will run for just about anybody, and dogs that don't enjoy agility just do it because they are velcroed to their handler. 
All I know is, Maxie will follow anyone who offers him food.  Lucky will chase after anyone carrying her toy. The hussies!  And having someone else willing to run my dogs this weekend really saved my ass!  All my goals were met!
Maxie, Willow, Lucky, Michele

  • Make sure to train my dogs so anyone can grab their collar, and put on their leash.
  • If someone else runs my dog, disappear.
  • Don't tug too long with Lucky before a run -- it tires her out.
  • Lucky does best with a long lead-out, where she can see H standing on the landing side of the jump.  If not, she tends to go around the first jump.
  • You never know where your help is going to come from.  Someone you might not have expected to be there for you, can suddenly save your day.
  • Travel with instant heating pads, and instant cold packs. 
  • I learned that for inflammation or swelling, use cold packs (makes sense to reduce the "flames"), for tight muscles or charlie horses use a hot pad (makes sense that a hot bath relaxes you).
Packed up to head home, I wheeled us thru the arena and heard lots of comments how cute Max and Willow look tucked in the caboose, how awesome my red wagon is.  I finally got someone to take a picture of me by my wagon.  On the way out, I discovered Lucky loves to pull the cart.  I had her leash attached to the upright pole (by my shoulder), and she just steadily walked by my side and pulled, pulled, pulled all the way out to the car!  Is she a cart-puller?

  • Maxie is 1 Q away from his MXJ title, and 4 Q's away from his MX title.
  • Lucky is 2 Q's away from her AXJ title, and 2 Q's away from her AX title.
  • Need to attend at least 2 more trials before November to reach these 2011 goals.
  • Not exactly a goal, just a fact, Maxie needs 2 more QQ's and 189 more MACH points by November 30, 2011, to qualify for AKC nationals next year (6 QQ's and 400 MACH points required). It would be sweet to qualify, whether we go or not, but I don't think I'm up to that level of stress yet.  
  • Heal my leg completely before any more running!  Give it 6 weeks, at least.
  • Learn to teach my Wednesday night class without running!  Nedra says I demo too much anyway, just let them run the sequences and figure it out for themselves.
  • Get signed up for the Hattiesburg trial on August 18-21, only 8 weeks away.
  • Get signed up for the 2 Kiln trials in September and October.
  • Find some first aid cold packs and hot packs.  Need a box of each. 
What a weekend!  I will never forget the friendly support extended to me by my clubmates, and their professionalism, which saved our weekend and made it possible to stay on track with my 2011 goals.  They told me to disappear, get lost, etc., and I never worried that they would forget to go get my dogs out of their crates, warm them up, treat them right, do their best.  Even with Sandy, who was running Tango in the same 8" XB class, I was totally confident she would do her best for Maxie, and she did.

Upwards and onward,

No comments: