Friday, September 28, 2012

Port Allen Trial - September

Maxie, 6 runs, 4 Q's, 2 QQ's, 3 3rd places, 1 2nd place, 32 MACH Points, 6 videos
Lucky Lucy, 6 runs, 1 Q, 9 MACH Points, 6 videos

L to R:  Pepper, Maxie, Willow
with Maxie's 2 QQ's and placement ribbons.
John and I both headed off to Port Allen for our dog club's 2nd 3 day trial this year. Our first experience of pulling off 2 agility trials in 1 year.  I brought the motor home so John, assistant to the chief course builder all weekend, wouldn't have to leave the house at 5 a.m. each morning.  He spent Thursday and Friday nights with me, then went home Saturday night after the RV'ers "BringYour Own Beef" pot luck barbeque to bring our car back across the river.   He caught a ride back to the arena on Sunday morning with Nedra because he drove the U-Haul full of equipment back to BR Sunday night. We didn't want to have to go back across the river and get our car like last year, which took our last ounce of strength after the gruelling weekend.

John worked his ass off.  Two rings, always a course to build, for 3 days.  Few breaks, then pack up the truck and bring everything back to the field.  All I did was manage our RV, our crate space, and ran our dogs, trying to save my hip for my runs.  I didn't video other people, just my own dogs and a few of our novice competitors.  My hip didn't hurt a bit all weekend - must have been adrenalin keeping me from feeling it because it was sore before the trial, and is sore now.

Maxie ran clean the first 2 days but didn't run as fast as usual, walked the weaves, and on the 3rd day he went off course on both runs, attracted by some scent at the back side of the arena.  The first of those NQ's, XS, he ran clean except on the second to last jump he ran completely out of the ring and around the column, but the judge only raised her hand for a refusal of that jump and the score sheet showed Maxie's time and 1 fault.  Why we weren't Eliminated I can't figure.  Here's that run.

On the XJ run, he ran around a jump which was his only fault, but didn't leave the ring.  But the score sheet showed we got eliminated and no time.  I can't figure that out.  Plus which, the video shows that the clock kept running for at least 4 seconds after we crossed the finish line. Here's that run. 

I pat myself on the back that all weekend I didn't lose track, kept on going, never got lost on course. I've changed one tactic.  If my Excellent dogs miss an obstacle, I don't go back to correct it.  I'm NQ'd anyway, but I keep the flow going to encourage speed.  Will this come back to bite me if my dogs start thinking they can skip something?  We'll see. Does it worsen my score?

Lucky Q'd once with 9 MACH points on her first XS run, but otherwise she was not much interested in participating.  It was hot.  Her tongue was dragging. Even when clean, she was always over course time. On one run, a spectator was eating a plate of fried fish at the edge of the ring. She smelled it and ran towards him. DON'T EAT FOOD RINGSIDE is now added to my Tips list. 
I'm still processing both dogs' composite videos, but my microphone is acting up, as is my video editing program.  I'm trying different things, still not satisfied with the programs I've tried.

On Friday and Saturday both, I had visitors. Audrey came Friday and Saturday. Nathan and Allison came Saturday morning.  Laura and Portia hung around all Saturday afternoon and evening. 9 year old Portria unabashedly interviewed several dog owners about their breeds, and one of our own club members spent lots of time showing off her Corgi's. I was also impressed with a lady who showed us her Shelties.  I've always been attracted to the dainty ones that look like miniature collies. If Portia gets one of those, I'll be thrilled.  My cousin Lois also offered her a Papillon puppy, 5 months old, but Portia now has Shelties on the brain.

Portia with my Paps
The most encouraging thing that happened all weekend was the interest shown in my new "Tips For The Novice Competitor" paper, which is a work in progress. Competitors shared their pet peeves and gave me lots of encouragement to publish the list. One experienced competitor said "No matter how long we've been at it, we're all still novice.  It would do everyone good to review the rules and especially the etiquette."  I agree.  There's a lot to take in.


I'm running a little faster, with a slightly longer stride. Courses are easier to memorize.  My nerves aren't frayed.  My heart isn't in my throat as I enter the ring.  I don't agonize over mistakes.

Maxie's first 2 QQ's in one weekend was a real surprise.  This leaves only one more QQ to meet my year-end goal of 10.  We're at 493 MACH points now, and my goal is 550.  With 2 more trials this year, we have a good chance of making these goals.

Lucky actually did run her weaves once. She never stopped on the top of the A-frame. She didn't miss any contacts.  That's a little progress, at least.

My goal for Lucky is still the same - to figure what it takes to get her moving in the ring like she does in practice.  For starters, I've entered her in our next trial at 24" and we'll practice at 24" from now on.  She seems to like jumping higher. Maybe this will boost her enthusiasm, and she will get a few more seconds to complete each run. The cooler October weather may help too. She needs 3 more Q's in XS to get her MX title.  We could well accomplish it this year, but with her speed issues, her MXJ can't come until 2013.

Pepper, my livewire 8 lb. Pap, at 11 months old, wasn't the least bit unnerved by the trialing atmosphere.  Crates beautifully. Not shy of dogs or visitors. Tried to mark everything, though. I measured him several times at 11.25", so looks like he may be jumping 12". I hope cousin Lois is right that Paps shrink a bit at about a year old. I'd prefer him to jump 8". When I hooked his leash to our cart going too and from the RV, just expecting him to tag along, I discovered he's a great cart puller.  Here's a little video we took of him pulling, with Maxie and Willow riding in the caboose.  Notice that 46 lb Lucky, in harness, is often on a loose leash, while Pepper is pulling the 50+ lb cart all by himself.  I've got to get him a harness before he strangles himself!  He is unstoppable.

Got a whole month to practice before Kiln, and Pepper just got booted out of Intro up to Beginners.  Got to see what classes are available.

Upwards and onward!

1 comment:

Catalina said...

Awww I love the video of him pulling the cart. How do you get the other two to ride so nicely?? BTW your trial videos are both marked as private :(