Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hattiesburg MS Trial - Aug 2011

Maxie 6 runs, 4 Q's (3 XJ, 1 XS), 2 4th places, 1 QQ, 1 TITLE MXJ, 36 MACH points. Videos posted
Lucky 6 runs, 2 Q's (XJ-A, XS-A), 2 3rd places. Videos posted
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 4 runs per day.
Judges:  Jill Roberts, Alan Arthur

Hattiesburg Arena entrance
Having beaten down the bugs problem - (previous post); beaten down the calf problem (Monroe Trial) to where I think I can run again, arranging special permission to crate at ground level (see Trial Site Summary for Hattiesburg), and finding the missing house key so the neighbors can feed my pets, I felt confident heading off to Hattiesburg for a 4 day trial, despite the strange new rattle in my car.

Crating at ground level, in the hall. There
was space for dozens more people.  It was cool and
quiet, and the car was parked just outside.  Arena entrance
is in the distant background of this photo.
Left Baton Rouge Wednesday at 12:30 and arrived at Motel 6 on 49 at 3:15.  Interstate all the way, not much traffic.  Checked in, hung around til 4:30, then drove 8.5 miles back to the arena where I crated in the hall around the back (South) side on the ground floor.  Hung around and helped set up both rings, all of us sweating like pigs because the arena A/C was out of freon and they had to call in emergency maintenance. My eyes were stinging with the fumes of urine, which I was told would clear up when the A/C was fixed.  Mercifully by next morning, it did.

THURSDAY:  Thursday morning, up bright and early, well rested, no stress, made it to the arena way ahead of time, stepped out the car and realized -- I was still wearing my Tom's slip-on shoes (they are so comfortable I forget about my feet).  Tennis shoes were 8.5 miles back at the motel!  On the way back, a terrible car wreck stopped traffic a good long while, which got me back to the arena just in time to walk the Excellent Standard course a few times.  This didn't seem to unnerve me.  However . . . . .

Maxie: Maxie was the 6th dog to run XS.  The course flowed well in 2 beautiful loops with the Table at 11.  I could run the whole thing in my head. Maxie was alert. We were in sync. When I found myself putting him through the weaves a second time, though, it hit me that I was repeating the first loop.  CRAP, I went left instead of right after the table! The humiliation would have been terrible last year.  Now I just told the judge "I'm lost", waved goodbye, and took a few obstacles on the way out.  Maxie made no mistakes, but Mommy didn't Q.  My fault entirely. Later that day, in XJ, we Q'd . . . . . but almost missed the run.  Running 2 dogs now in Excellent, Lucky had just finished his XS run and I heard them calling Maxie for XJ.  I hadn't even walked the course.  The "walkthrough" apparently occurred while I was out pottying Lucky before her run.  Alan Arthur, the judge, invited me to walk the course with the 16" dogs, and offered to set the bars at 8" so Maxie could run first.  How sweet! That worked, Maxie Q'd and got his MXJ title!  This judge was awesome handling scheduling conflicts.

Maxie didn't run as fast as usual, though.  Came in 5th.  That was, I think, because my calf muscle starting aching about half-way through the run, I started limping again, and Maxie could tell.  Afterward I hobbled back to our crate space where I immediately hooked my calf up to my new TENS machine for 30 minutes of electric therapy.  I had to run Lucky on that same course in about an hour.  Would I make it?  A bit of tension building now.

Lucky: Long story short, Lucky Q'd XS-A in her first run, 3rd place.  She was 3 seconds over SCT, (-9 points), but in Excellent A you can score 85 and still Q as long as you have no other faults.  Only 3 out of 11 dogs Q'd.  1st and 2nd place dogs tied, both running a full 20 seconds faster than Lucky!  All the other dogs logged approximately the same time as Lucky, so she's not the only slow dog out there.  On her second run XJ-A, she ran without faults, but so slowly she NQ'd due to being 6 seconds over course time (-18 points).  What am I going to do with her?  She only races hard for tug toys.

Skipped dinner with the club folks.  Went home to ice and electrify my calf, prop up my leg, and watch TV.  Actually, I ended up downloading Thursday's videos, and working on this blog first.  Oddly, my computer won't play back the videos.  Now what's wrong?

FRIDAY: Slept okay, but had a weird dream about "a blog writing it's own blog about what it's like to be somebody's blog - disdain for all the stupid things they write, laughing at their jokes, etc". A blog from the blog's point of view.  HA! Blogs and dogs on the brain!  Got to arena in plenty of time, properly shod, and taking care not to walk around more than necessary, my leg held up.

Lucky: Lucky ran both Standard and Jumpers before Maxie ran at all.  She scratched in XS-A, by popping out of the weaves, and ran 11 seconds over course time. In XJ-A, she Q'd with a 3rd place, score of 91 because of running 3 seconds over SCT (again). 
Maxie: In XS, he scratched -  came off the A-frame fast, took the jump ahead and raced straight for the chute instead of following me left to the table.  It was an easy course and he made good time, but I couldn't call him off of that chute for anything. Bummer!  Usually "Here!"  or "This way!" works, but not this time.  Then he burned up several seconds sniffing the dirt until I hollered "Leave it!" and lunged toward him.  This got his attention and we completed the run without fault.

Everyone crashes after a hard,
noisy day at the arena.
Top to bottom:  Lucky, Maxie, Willow
Later he Q'd in Jumpers, with 5 seconds to spare but 10 seconds slower than the 1st place dog, another Papillon named Lily, from Pensacola, a few years older and far more experienced.  Everybody fusses me for slowing Maxie down, saying I need to run faster, etc. Of course placement is sweet, but Q's are nice too.  Unfortunately, what Maxie really needs are 4 more Standard Q's, more QQ's, and lots more MACH points. Maybe we'll Q tomorrow.
The food served at the trial was so delicious (unlike some trials where hot dogs, mac-n'-cheese, and junk food are standard fare), I got introduced to "Texas Caviar", and brought home my portion of pulled chicken barbeque, put it on sourdough bread with some lettuce, and that along with fresh fruit, was supper.  While I watched videos, everyone else crashed.

Maxie QQ'd.  Two beautiful runs, no problems, good time, 2 4th places, missing 1st place in XJ by just 6 seconds, and missing 3rd place in XS by 6 100ths of a second.  I was making a point of running faster, even though my calf pulled on the second to last run, and I ran Maxie's last run with the TENS machine attached to my leg.

Lucky struck out both runs.  In XJ, she balked at a jump for no apparent reason, stopped then walked around it, which screwed with my concentration, I got lost and sent her over the wrong jump, after which we got straight but it was too late.  Also, she ran very slowly.  I was so miffed that I crated her, called her "Bad Girl" and didn't give her any treats for her run.  She understood I was upset, cowered down and didn't budge for a couple of hours, but I doubt she understood it meant "next time, RUN".

VOLUNTEERISM:  After my runs were over, I volunteered as TIMER for EXCELLENT FAST and EXCELLENT NOVICE, where I wouldn't have to walk, timing for the first time.  What a class to start on!  It was fast paced and hard to hear the judge's calls with all the barking dogs and chatty observers right behind us.  One lady stood behind us with her huge black deep-throated non-stop barking lab.  I yelled at her to move away but she didn't hear me.  Someone else heard me and asked her to leave.  After about 5 runs and asking somebody to bring me a course map, I learned the value of each obstacle and so long as the judge made a noise, I was able to tell the scribe what to mark.  It will take a few more times to learn to operate the Timer box.  The judge had to come set the times for each jump height.  A few times the timer started counting on its own (apparently the scribe's metal pen was glinting light across the eye, which the judge finally figured out and set the eye at a different angle).  I had to eyeball the start line between two poles and press the button when the dog's nose crossed the line.  I did the best I could, but the system isn't exactly accurate and nobody seemed real picky about it.  Now that FAST is a titling class, I bet that changes.

Maxie's Ribbons:
Green for Q, White for 4th place, Red and Black
for MXJ (Master Agility Jumpers) Title.
Big darn bummer, Dog Gone Fun doesn't give out rosette ribbons for titles.  Maxie's MXJ titling ribbon is a plain blah double red/black ribbon, no rosette, not much bigger than a Q ribbon.  I'm going to complain to Monica about all of us working so hard and spending so much money all year pursuing titles, then getting such a plain ribbon to show for it. Nedra agreed to let me have an AKC rosette from our club's ribbons, and I'll attach the Mississippi Mavericks ribbon to that for my display case.

I also forgot to pick up one of Maxie's Q ribbons and sticker.  I'll have to snag one next time I'm at a BARK trial.

The meatballs served for trial workers was again delicious.  Swedish meatballs and bread. Fresh veggie platter.  Fresh fruit platter.  Lots of desserts. Yum!

Met up with 6 of our Red Stick gang at Oscars on 98W for a margarita and Mexican dinner.  Everyone was chatty and cheerful.  I was too tired to eat and couldn't wait to get home and snuggle in with my doggies.  In bed by 9:30. We are all wiped out.

SUNDAY: Didn't run, just hung out, shopped at the vendors, took pictures for my Trial Site Summaries, photographed my score sheets, etc.  I awoke at 6:30 (without an alarm this time), packed leisurely, got to the arena around 8:30, and headed home around 11:30.  Stopped at Mandeville Seafood for a dozen crabs for me and a lb. of boiled shrimp for John, and still arrived home by 2:30, unpacked the car, did laundry.  All was done by 4 when John got home.  He had mowed the whole yard.  Looks like a park.  Sweet! Audrey came over for dinner.

Trial Site Summary:  See links.
The arena didn't seem quite so huge this visit.  Guess I'm getting used to big arenas. It makes a world of difference being able to crate on the ground floor, though, and having the car near by.

Every NQ was only one little mistake.  We are so close to getting it right.  Just need to analyze the mistakes.  Are they often the same?
  • LUCKY, exceeding course time, walking thru the weaves, stopping in front of a jump where I am attempting a rear cross.  Do box work. Figure out how to get her running faster like she does at home.
  • MAXIE, sucking into the tunnel, chute, A-frame or dog walk.  Have to block, pull harder, call "here" or "this way" instead of naming the next obstacle.
  • ME, getting lost on course, missing walk-throughs.  Need to learn to handle scheduling conflicts, anticipate how much time I have between runs, etc.  With 2 rings going simultaneously and 2 dogs running, this has become a must.
  • When timing or scribing FAST classes, make sure the Course Map is at your table and become familiar with it beforehand.
Used my new Igloo Ice Cube 60 qt. ice chest for the first time.  I got it by trading with Nathan for an older non-wheeled cooler he wanted of mine that allows you to sit on the lid.  He needs the seating for his new boat.

Assessment:  4 blocks of frozen ice (in Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice bottles) did not last 4 days, and lining the bottom of the cooler, did not keep the top tray cool enough.  Need to put ice cubes from the motel over the blocks each day, also put ice in the top tray and refill daily.  If ice is kept in ziplock bags, it shouldn't be messy.  Also learned, anything juicy needs to be in a water-tight container.  When wheeling the cooler around it tilts, and salad dressing got all over everything because the plastic lid I had my salad in wasn't tight-fitting enough.  But I love my cooler.  It has a smaller footprint, wheels easier with the weight right over the wheels, handles better, makes a great coffee table, foot stool or desk.  But you can't sit on the lid!

  • Get Lucky running faster like she does in practice.
  • Learn to run faster myself.
  • Heal my calf.
  • Work on Lucky's rear crosses.
  • Work on Maxie's "this way" and "here".
  • At the next trial:
    • 1 XJ-A and 1 XS-A to get Lucky's AX and AXJ titles
    • At least 1 more QQ for Maxie and 179 more MACH points by November.
    •  3 more XS Q's for Maxie's MX title.
  • Find out what's the rule at trials about dogs that won't stop barking?
Upwards and Onward!

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