Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hattiesburg Agility Trial - August 2012

Maxie: 4 runs, 2 Q's, 1 3rd place, 41 MACH points, 4 videos
Lucky Lucy: 4 runs (3 clean), 1 Q, 5 MACH points, 3 videos

Despite surviving a tornado, locking myself out of the RV, only 3 Q's in 8 runs, and my most embarassing moment ever at any trial, in retrospect I am moderately pleased with our trialing weekend.  The RV's maiden voyage was mostly successful.

I left Baton Rouge Wednesday afternoon to give myself time to set up the RV and rest up before competing on Thursday. We had a very pleasant day and evening and all of us slept well.

Pepper, at 10 months, was excited but not nervous, and a great companion for Maxie.  He received many compliments.

Thursday, dogs ran small to tall and the FAST class went first (which I didn't enter), so Maxie's 1st run wasn't until around 9:30 a.m.  I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn until Friday, when he was the 4th dog on the line at 8, and even after the stress of being caught out in a tornado Thursday afternoon, I felt fine on Friday. Here's the video composite, with commentary (missed one). I'm still not satisfied with the audio, which sometimes cuts out.  Since both dogs are running the same courses now, I decided to put identical runs together for comparison.

In every run, Maxie ran the course in less time than Lucky, ranging from 1 to 10 seconds faster.  Odd considering the difference in their stride and leg length, and Lucky's strength.

Maxie ran well, only popped out of the weaves once out of 4 runs, and I pulled him off the second to last jump on another run.  2 errors out of roughly 80 obstacles.  His time was good but he had some stiff competition, including one Welsh Corgi, Stella, who smoked all the other 8" dogs every time by several seconds.  Lucky handled well and only made 1 mistake in 4 runs, she was reasonably focused, but again she didn't make course time 3 out of 4 runs.  Her weaves were slightly faster this weekend.  She walked less and ran more than previous runs.

Saturday I woke up with my shin muscles very sore, probably from my struggles in the tornado on Thursday.  I could barely maneuver my legs, was off emotionally, and it turned out to be a horrible day.  I hadn't entered my dogs, just planned to hang out to cheer on and video our novice competitors (our club has generated many new competitors this year, more than ever!)

My most embarassing trial moment to date: 

Ken and Casey on the start line Saturday,
Novice Standard
Ken, a new friend and enthusiastic club member, at his first trial, was 4th dog on the line early Saturday morning, his 2nd Jumpers run ever. I left my dogs in the RV and and ran to the arena to watch and video him. I was near the start line, camera running. Ken took a long lead out as we had practiced.  When Casey broke her start line stay, Ken headed back behind the1st jump to sit her again.  Before I knew it, confused on the rules myself, I yelled "NO, KEN, NO", the judge blew the whistle and disqualified him for "Outside Interference".  Shocked at this unfolding drama, I begged the judge over and over to give him another chance, it wasn't his fault, it was all my fault, etc.  But she said 'NO, SORRY, NO, BOTH OF YOU CAN LEARN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE, BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME".  Incredulous! 

I thought that was such an unfair ruling for a Novice A handler.  Punish me, not him.  Take away my last Q, whatever.  That would have somewhat assuaged me but nothing worked.  After he left the ring, I was unconsolable.  Ken told me later he would have led out again past the jump and been disqualified anyway, but that doesn't excuse my outburst, nor my confusion about the rules.  I left the arena, cried all morning, almost threw up several times.  Of course , nobody from our club had gone over the start line rules with him, Ken hadn't read the AKC regulations, and I hadn't reviewed the rules in 2 years!  Conclusion, something needs to change.
Reviewing the rules is something our dog club should do with every novice competitor.  Maybe as my penance, I should write those up in layman's language for us to hand out to our newbies, and to remind myself of the rules.

Secondly, nobody in our club had measured Ken's dog, so he's been jumping Casey at 20" all year long in practice. The VMO measured her at over 22", which required her to jump 24". She managed to do it, only knocking 3 bars, but barely cleared the rest. They Q'd 5 out of 10 runs the whole weekend, but the surprise height change was quite a shock.

Every dog in our club intending to compete in agility should be measured by the time they enter Advanced Beginner level.

Next trial I'm entered in is our own in Port Allen, just 4 weeks away.  Til then Lucky is enrolled in Monday night Competition class, Maxie is enrolled in the Tuesday night Competition class, and Pepper in the Wednesday night Intro Class.  Lots of Agility going on.

Upwards and onward!

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