Yesterday marked our first agility trial since the beginning of May. It was hot!
It was a brand new trial site for us: Thompson Park in Jamesburg, NJ. I was initially hesitant to take Marge to a new place after all the new things we've already been doing this Spring, but after a few minutes of adjustment, she did really well. What a great site. Quiet, shady, lots of woods, and I think I even saw a lake at the other end of the park.
She also did well with measuring, and now we'll never have to deal with that again.
Our Open Standard debut was our first run of the day, around 10 AM. I almost missed the judge's briefing because the ring was at the opposite end of the trial site from my canopy. I had to run down there to catch the end of it.
Walking the course, I was extremely confident. It was an Open course that actually made sense (I've heard that some are really atrocious). The ending was the only thing I was worried about. It was a chute to the teeter, and then a tricky 180 before you had to pull, pull, pull into the final two jumps.
It was, indeed, the ending that killed us.
It started out so nice.. she hit her weaves beautifully, which I was really happy about. After the table was the dog walk, and I cued her to "zone" (her contact word), and she kinda didn't and kinda didn't. So, I didn't use my release word, which confused her. She gave me some nice distance getting in to the tunnel, and then another jump to the A-Frame. I cued her at the very top to zone and she didn't do it. So I think my mind just got scrambled, I sent her to the chute and then called her back to me to the teeter. BUT, she took it too fast and I didn't get my "teeter" cue in there so she thought it was the dogwalk.. again.. and took off into outer space for a brief minute. If not for that, we would have qualified.
Just watch the video.
On a bright note, she didn't seem terribly concerned afterwards (even though she was on the wrong side for the finish and then spun when I tried to back cross) and we were able to finish the course. She didn't take any off course obstacles, which I think bodes well for the future as the courses we encounter start to get harder.
Now all I hope is that no teeter issues pop up. We'll have a private lesson after class on Tuesday to work the heck out of all three contacts!
We had a long wait before Novice Jumpers. We mostly hung out under our canopy (which worked really well, though it hasn't yet been tested in the wind). We took a walk in the woods, too. Marge enjoyed it, but I kept it short because of the heat and the threat of ticks still murmuring in my mind.
When we got back, Marge hung out in her crate with our surprisingly powerful battery-operated fan. I also brought along a washcloth and wet her down frequently, much to her dismay.
Eventually, it was time for Jumpers. It was in the mid-80s by then, and all three of us were pretty worn out. But we had stuck it out all this time, and I knew we could squeeze one more run out. Turns out I was right.
Not much to complain about in this one. I was definitely sloppy because I was beat, but Marge saved me a couple of times. I'm so happy I did that back cross to the tunnel. I was worried about her taking the wrong tunnel entrance, but I really didn't think I could get a front cross in. Another nice set of weaves, and the whole effort earned us a first place in 20" Novice B.
So, despite our mishaps in Open, I think we had a successful day. We got measuring out of the way, we discovered a new trial site, we were able to stay with each other in Open, and we got our 2nd leg in Novice Jumpers. We'll do it all again next weekend at a local trial. Hopefully it won't be too hot. After that, no more trials until September!