Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kiln Trial–January 10, 11, 12–1st Trial of 2013

Maxie: 6 runs, 3Q’s, two 2nd place, one 3rd place, no QQ’s,  44 MACH points, 5 videos
Lucky Lucy: 6 runs, 3Q’s, 1QQ, MX TITLE, 7 MACH points, 5 videos

Kiln is generally a great place for RV’ers.  But 9 days of rain made for slushy grass, water filled ditches and puddles to slosh through. My freshly washed Papillons were filty at the first pottie break, and my freshly vacuumed interior was tracked with red sandy mud within minutes.  Fortunately I had old sheets to drape over the upholstered furniture and floors, except the dogs thought them great opportunities for digging. Worse, due to hard rain, we had left home at 4:30 p.m. instead of 1 p.m., which put us there to set up at dusk. While trying to maneuver into a high dry parking spot, I backed over a water spigot and broke the pipe.  It began gushing, we got drenched finding the cut-off valve, the ditches flooded even more, and a whole line of RV’s went without water Thursday night thanks to me. They were not very happy, but the repair guys had it fixed by next morning. Since I carry my drinking water, plus half a tank of water for flushing and rinsing out my coffee cup, and towel bathe or take showers in the arena, I don’t really need water, but I found out some others rely totally on their city water connection, even to flush. 

What I DO NEED is golashes!  Everybody had some but me.  My socks and tennies were soaked, so I made sure to dry my feet as soon as I got in.  And I had plenty of shoes and socks for a dry pair every day.

While packing at home between raindrops, I had discovered a new leak over the bed had dampened the quilt, sheets and mattress cover, fortunately in time to put them all in the dryer.  I had to protect the bed in case of further rain with a vinyl tablecloth.  Good thing John promised me a new rubberized roof as my Christmas present (sweet), but I haven’t done that yet.  Now I’m motivated. This makes 2 leaks now, at each dome roof window, caused by me driving under a low hanging tree branch and making huge scratches in the roof.

Due to the anticipated difficulty pottying the dogs in mud and rain, I decided to bring only Maxie, Lucky and Pepper. Willow screeched in torture as the rest of us departed! John reported she laid by the door for 3 days waiting for our return.  But it was a lot easier managing just 3 dogs.  Her travelling days may be numbered.

Ring conditions were horrible.  Even under cover, the ring dirt was saturated, and the more we tromped on it, the more the water rose.  Here’s how it looked by Day 3.  I’m surprised no one slipped, but I know I ran slower each day, and neither Maxie nor Lucky liked having cold wet feet. You can hear squishing on the videos.

Despite all these and other problems, I felt totally calm. I attribute some of this to working on my mental game, as outlined in my previous post.

FRIDAY.  (dogs ran small to tall, only one ring.)
Maxie was my first dog to run, but not til around 9 a.m. after the FAST class.  So I got to stay up til 11 and watch some TV.  My new air antennae was picking up 8 channels and all came in well despite the weather. I popped open a beer, watched a cooking show, and slept like a baby all night. I don't generally drink on trial weekends, but if this works again, I’ll replace my half sleeping pill with beer!

Maxie had a smoking good XS run, very fast, with a few bobbles but no saves required.  Alas, he took a wrong course near the end.  It happened so fast, I didn't see it coming.  Just an imperceptible push, or not enough pull, on my part.  Even with that WC, his time was 8 seconds faster than the 1st place dog.  I could hardly keep up, but I felt great and never got lost or rattled.  It was the most memorable run of the day despite the NQ.  His XJ run was clean and solid, with a 2nd place and no bobbles, and while an analysis of his SCT and personal time showing he ran even faster, it didn’t feel as fast as that first run.

Lucky Lucy got what I thought was her 1st QQ ever, running faster and surer in both XS and XJ, walking the weaves, but at a faster walk.  She didn’t get distracted.  We felt connected.  Her jumps at 24” were pretty, with ample clearance.  (I found out later checking her records, this was actually her second QQ!) To celebrate, I joined the Red Stick gang at the nearby Delsey’s Seafood restaurant, and bought the table some appetizers. I made Q’s out of the onion rings to decorate. And brought some hush puppies home for Lucky.  The food at Delsey's was somewhat pricy but huge portions and delicious.  Lots of items on the menu, and the best onion rings I've ever tasted, served with a dipping sauce made of Ranch dressing, wasabi, and cayenne pepper.  It kicked ass!

Karen, Christina’s mom, was thrilled to video my dogs on Friday if she could also video her daughter. What a sweet deal.  Too bad she’s just there for 1 day. I hate scrambling for people to take my videos.  I want a mom along who wants to record my every run!  But I if I brought my mom to a trial, she would soon be bored to death “watching dog after dog do the exact same thing”.  It takes a practiced eye to see the endless variety we see. No one but us knows the difficulties we face attempting the miracle of a clean run.
SATURDAY: (dogs ran Tall to Small, Lucky on the line at 8 a.m.)
Lucky earned her MX title!  That’s 10 Q’s in Masters Standard (what used to be called Excellent B).  She only had .87 seconds to spare in her XS run, but she made it! Her XJ began with a whimper but ended with a blast.  After falling asleep in the weaves and NQ’ing, she noticed the tripple bar jump, which she loves, and decided to run the rest of the way.  The half run that was good, was very, very good. That's a sequence I'll play over and over in my head.

Maxie scratched in Jumpers, missing the weaves, but Q’d in Standard.  His times were good, not counting slow weaves.

SUNDAY: (dogs ran small to tall, Maxie on the line at 8)
Maxie Q’d in Standard, NQ’d in Jumpers, again popping out of the weaves, otherwise clean. His times were slower, I suspect due to muddier conditions. I know I was walking fast more than running.

Lucky NQ’d both runs, seemingly tired and not focused.  Her first run XS she stopped on top of the A-frame, plcking up Ken's scent in the stands, went down and headed for the sidelines trying to get to him.  Lucky has a serious thing for Ken.  We always have to arrange for Ken to disappear during Lucky's runs, but we both thought up in the stands was far enough away.  NOT. This is developing into such a problem, we may have to stop training together on weekends.  Lucky literally quivers and whines looking in the direction of his RV whenever I let the dogs out.

Didn't get video of either of their last runs.  Couldn't find anyone willing to take them.  I have to quit letting that bother me, but I feel I'm missing valuable information I can use to improve.

There's going to be a fun run in 2 weeks at the same arena.  I'm going.  I can't wait to show some of these agility folks how fast and well Lucky runs when I'm carrying her toy, and I pray someone will take her video then.

I'm having trouble with my AVS Video Editing Software.  I discovered that one of my USB ports gives an unreliable connection, resulting in problems with voiceovers, and it sometimes takes forever for these huge HD videos to load into the program.  After futzing with it for several days and trying Windows Movie Maker again, I got AVS to produce something.  It's still better than WMM.

Maxie's Composite Video, with commentary.  I learned that as Maxie improves, I no longer need to push or pull him very hard to get him to veer. I have to become more subtle in my corrections.  Without watching the videos, I probably would not have picked up on that.  Also need to time my front crosses better.
Lucky's Composite Video, with commentary. I managed to capture a segment in slo mo showing Lucky's beautiful 12' jumping stride, which no one seems to notice but me.  I may have a long ways to go with her enthusiasm for trialing, but I know I've got great jumping skills to work with.

  • My goal of another QQ for Maxie was not met, but we racked up two more Q's in Standard and 1 in Jumpers, leaving only 1 more to go in each class for his Master Bronze Agility Titles - MXB, MJB.  (25 Q's in a class)
  • Lucky's 2nd QQ was a great achievement, plus her MX title. I don't know how long it will take us to get MXJ with 8 Q's to go, but I WILL GET HER THERE.
  • Work on my mental game.
Otherwise the weekend was full of too many oddities to mention, including a see saw whose end got stuck in the mud leading to many fly-offs, how few dogs qualified in class after class, and some turse comments.  The courses were not that difficult, but some of those border collies were running wilder than usual.  Was it the weather?  The barometric pressure?  The wet ground? Handlers unsure of their footing?

There was one magical moment worth sharing.  My friend Sue Cohen handed me a thumb drive with info for a story we're working on, said she needed it back tomorrow.  I promised to download it that very evening, and stuck it in the bottom of my wagon on my way into the ring.  But when I got the wagon back to the RV it had vanished.  I searched high and low to no avail, then retraced my path to the arena, searching the ground.  About tearing my hair out, I told another RV'er about the jinx, and she suggested I look up St. Anthony prayer (patron saint of lost items) on my iPhone, say the prayer, and see what happens.  Said her mother swears by it.  So I went back to my RV, lit a candle, and did it.  Here was my prayer:

     St. Anthony, St Anthony, please come around.
     a thumb drive is lost and can’t be found.
     Dear St. Anthony, I pray
     Bring it back without delay.

Within 5 minutes, a voice said “look in the basket on the table”, where I found a thumb drive I had lost 3-4 months back.  I have NO IDEA how that one got into the RV!  Apparently, one has to be very specific in wording ones prayers to St Anthony.  I repeated the prayer saying “Sue’s thumb drive”, then a little voice told me to look again in the duffle bag I’d already gone through 3 times.  I did, and there it was, sealed in a ziplock bag!!!!!  I will not be forgetting St. Anthony's Prayer!

Is there a patron saint for agility?

Upwards and onward!

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