Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Iberia Agility Trial

Maxie: 6 runs, 4 Q’s, 1 QQ, 2 2nd place, 2 3rd place, 49 MACH points, MXB and MAB TITLES, 6 videos
Lucky Lucy: 6 runs, 3 Q’s, 1 QQ, 5 MACH points, 6 videos

Our setup, right at the entrance. 
Each support beam has a 30 amp hookup and water.
the asphalt parking lot was studded with limestone rocks,
which is going to hurt us later.
It's Valentine's Day weekend and I'm off to a trial, leaving my sweetheart at home. We agreed to postpone our celebration til Monday night. After a 1.5 hour drive, and another 1.5 hours to set up the RV including my fenced yard, I was completely settled in 3 hours.

The Sugarena has electric and water hookups on every metal beam front and rear of the arena.  I was one of the first to arrive at 4 p.m. Thursday so I got my pick of spots right at the entrance, not far from the rings. No need to set up a crate space, which saved me lots of effort, and the dogs were warm and comfy between runs.  Sweet!  These hookups are new. The weather was cool, crisp, and dry.    Furthermore, most other RV'ers parked in the back or way to the side, so I had the whole front to myself.  The dogs seemed calm and happy.

I got several compliments on my fenced yard, and discovered that by bungying my 2 little wooden tables to the outer corners, was able to increase it's stability when Lucky lunges against it.  So much so, I didn't mind leaving them alone outdoors for short periods. It's always been bungied to the awning uprights and the 2' x 4' table, plus the white strips on top keep it mostly stable, but it needed more.

Temps in the low 40’s with wind early mornings and evenings, in the 60’s during the day. So glad to have my Trapper’s Hat! Still need to work on looser layered clothing that doesn’t make me feel stuffed in a sausage skin. Also need warmer, looser lounging clothes for evenings when taking the dogs out. I had to stay dressed in my day clothes for enough warmth.

Dogs ran small to tall all weekend, and Maxie was the 1st 8” dog on the line all 3 days, Lucky the 2nd 24" dog.

Friday, Feb 15, - Trial started at noon so I stayed up til almost midnight Thursday night, and slept in til the dogs woke me up for breakfast at 8. I'm on vacation!  Maxie's first run wasn't until 2 p.m. He Q’d in Jumpers with a 2nd place win and pretty fast times.  NQ'd in Standard by entering the weaves on the wrong side. Otherwise a nice run.  Lucky miraculously Q’d in Jumpers -- with 2 seconds to spare, then scratched in Standard with several WC's and R's, like she didn't want to be in the ring.  Curious.  I earned 1 raffle ticket for gate keeping T2B, and won a $25 gift card to Chilis’.

Maxie with his placement ribbons, and a
purple ribbon from Mommy for his 11th QQ.
Saturday, Feb 16 -  Up at 6 a.m. Maxie on the line at 8 a.m.  Maxie QQ’d, with a 2nd and 3rd place win.  Darnit, the hosting club offered no purple QQ ribbons!  Lucky scratched both runs, one with so many errors I removed her from the ring. She was totally distracted. I had noticed her licking her right front paw incessantly Friday night and all thru Saturday, leaving wet pools of slobber on the couch and bed.  When we did our traditional hand shake and she gave a cry, I felt sure a lodged stone or bruized paw accounted for her dismal performance Friday afternoon and Saturday.   She would not let me examine it, but by Sunday she wasn't licking it any more, which is maybe why her performance improved significantly with a QQ.

Lucky Lucy's 3 Q's and a purple scarf from
Mommy for her 3rd QQ.
Sunday, Feb 17 – Up at 6 a.m. Maxie on the line at 8 a.m. Q’d in XJ with a 2nd place.  Lucky, to my absolute amazement, QQ’d!  She barely made course time both times, one with only 2 one hundredths of a second to spare, but walked/ran clean and made it. I earned1 raffle ticket on Saturday for gate keeping but too late for the raffle.  They gave it to me for the Sunday raffle plus another, and I won another $25 gift card to Chilis’.  I'll use these cards to take my husband and our dog sitters out to dinner.

Composite videos, with commentary, will be posted when I get enough time.

  • a QQ for Maxie and 35 MACH points, which earns him both bronze titles: MAB, MJB.  All that and more accomplished - 4 Q's, 4 placements, 1 QQ, 49 MACH points.
  • a Jumpers Q for Lucky.  We did a QQ, and 2 Jumpers Q's, which was beyond what I expected.
  • get all my videos taken without stress.  That happened thanks largely to Karen Des Roches and others who stepped up and offered to help willingly.
  • Get Pepper used to the trialing environment.  He seemed OK with the noise, let several people hold him, sat in the bleachers a long time, and pranced about like the wild man he is.  He doesn't mind the noisy, bouncy motor home, a great relief as he used to throw up in the car as a young puppy.
  • Relax and have fun.  Yes, one of my best trials ever in that regard.
  1. Rhonda Crane was a very pleasant judge.  Her courses were "melodic".  They flowed beautifully and while challenging, were not tortuous. She nested her Open and Novice courses so they could be built with just a few changes from the Excellent setup, making the course builders' jobs much easier.
  2. I'm always trepidatious about those limestone parking lots.  How can the dogs not get bruised paws? I must try to avoid them whenever possible.
  3. I came home with the outside of my shins aching something terrible.  Someone speculated it's because the hard packed dirt had no "give", like running on concrete.  Do I need to train for that?
  4. Gift Cards: I really like the way this club gave out a raffle ticket for each class worked, with a drawing near the end of each day.  (Plus, they also gave out a $5 lunch ticket to spend at Concessions.) They had a range of gift cards from Starbucks $25, Burger King $10, Subway $15, Chili's $25, plus an assortment of agility books and T-shirts.  At other trials I've also seen gift cards offered instead of raffle items, where you purchase tickets for $1, or 6 tickets for $5, or 15 tickets for $10, etc., with cards for Home Depot, Pet Smart, and others included. Much easier for the hosting club to pull cards together (and possibly members would donate cards) in lieu of the extreme hassle of hauling and assembling hundreds of raffle items.
  5. Maxie would easily have 20 QQ's by now if it weren't for his hesitation in those darn weaves!  Lucky would make course time way more often.  I've begun to suspect it's the white metal spacer bar that throws them off at trials.  We don't have those at home.  I'm going to paint my spacers white and see if that helps.
  6. Most interesting maneuver I learned was in MS on Sunday, second to last obstacle was a 20' tunnel going under the dog walk and pointing straight to the exit.  Very few handlers reached the end of the tunnel before their dogs did, resulting in D veering left to find H (like Maxie did), and taking a WC at worst.  Only way to do this well was to cross before the tunnel and run like hell, which few did.  I noticed it from the stands, and corrected my own performance by the time Lucky ran and she Q'd by 2/100th of a second. A bobble there would have killed her Q. I analyzed video snippets of several people doing this below.
  • The road to Lafayette is bumpy as hell in Lafayette and I-10 out of Lafayette towards BR.  They need to fix that road. Good thing I had my cabinets bungied shut because 2 of them popped open slightly and scared Lucky so badly she raced up and jumped over my gate to hide under my drivers seat, with her butt almost touching my gas peddle and I could not budge her, and me on the Atchafalya bridge.  I managed to pull off at the Atchafalya Welcome Center a few miles up the road and calm her down, then chained her up so she couldn't reach me, but that could have been a disaster.
  • Label everything.  I left my new Trappers Hat and gloves on the workers table.  By the time I remembered, the crew had packed up and left.  I hadn't labeled them but I emailed the trial sec and she has them.  She'll bring them to me in Monroe.  If I'd have labeled them, someone would have found me and delivered them.
  • I'm comfortable as Gate Keeper, but on Saturday I was handed the gate list and envelope of scribe sheets for a large T2B class.  I taped up the list and people began checking in, but when the scribe was nowhere in sight and only 5 minutes to go, I began to sort the the big stack of sheets according to the list as best I could (never done it before).  Many people hadn't checked in.  Those marked ABS I pulled those sheets.  Oops, I was just supposed to mark them ABS and leave in correct order.  Those Moved I moved into the new order.  The unchecked people I left in order and waited to see if they showed up.  If they didn't by their turn I  ran over to the scribe telling her to mark them ABS.  It was controlled chaos.  Next day I was visited by the Trial Sec, who very nicely thanked me for a good job but in future please do it differently . . . . . . . Yes Ma'am!
  • Next day I asked the Gate Keeper to move Lucky from 2nd to last (about 5 dogs down) on the 24" running order so I could film a friend running late in the 20" jump height. The gate keeper happened to be a judge, and OMG, how she fussed me for that! "Oh No, you don't get to move because you want to film somebody. You have to have a real excuse, like a conflict getting your 1st dog put away and your 2nd dog on the line on time. If you miss your run in the correct order, you will just miss your turn."  Again, Yes Ma'am!  But then, I'm glad she wasn't gate keeper on Saturday when I didn't get Lucky to the gate on time and the friendly Gate Keeper just moved her to the bottom, as I've done for numerous people in the past. Didn't know that was a wrong thing, especially in a friendly game.  I've seen people move themselves to the bottom and never give a reason why.
So I continue to ask, how hard would it be to teach a little class or write an instruction sheet on how to change your place on the list?  How to put scribe sheets in order??????  Gate keep??????  Time??????   Scribe??????  I hear over and over people say they'll "do anything but scribe", including this weekend.  Getting it wrong affects a team's score, so it's serious stuff.  Learning to watch the judge instead of the dog is hard for some, and scribing what the judge signals instead of what you think you saw is another level of difficulty.  Marking the wrong sheet with faults and time would be a sin.  I propose at the very least providing a laminated chart on every scribe table showing the judge's hand signals. Who knows those starting out?  AKC provides such a chart, shown here, and linked to here. I'm going to print up and laminate a few for our club, plus give them out to Gate Stewards at every trial I go to from now on!  Enough of this nonsense of not systematically training people, then fussing over not having enough volunteers and/or fussing them for getting it wrong.
Despite all this complaining, the Acadiana Kennel Club did an outstanding job rounding up volunteers.  I know it was a tough haul for them, but they enlisted some outstanding helpers from other clubs.  If not yet, I hope future Trial Secretaries, Chief Course Builders and Gate Stewards get comped for their trial entry fees or other financial compensation.  They work very very hard all weekend on top of trying to run their dogs.

Next trial in 2 weeks, in Monroe, LA. I look forward to another cool weather trial.

Upwards and onward!


Unknown said...

Could you please post the course map for that standard course? Would love to set it up for practice.

Michele Fry said...

Sorry, I don't have the course map but you could probably set up something comparable just from watching the video, so long as you have 3 or 4 jumps and a 20' tunnel. You don't even really need a dog walk.