On Saturday, Louie was kind enough to take Marge and I to a brand new trial site about an hour and a half away in Yaphank, Long Island. Marge was coming off of a great weekend and I was confident that we'd pick up our first Excellent qualifying score (in either class).
Standard was first, and I LOVED the course.
We got out there and it was apparent that Marge was ready to go. She fired through the weaves. She completed the teeter (and heeded my instructions to wait in the middle while I front crossed). She climbed the A-Frame quickly and moved across my feet in to the tunnel underneath it. She got on the table and stayed put.
After the table, though, things got a bit funky.
First, she swung wide when she got off the table (which might have had to do with my positioning). She fixed that and turned tightly over the double, but nearly bypassed the chute (hard to tell in the video). She took the bar jump and was in perfect position to get on the dog walk.. but didn't.
It took three tries, including one moment where Marge decided to jump OVER the dog walk plank rather than execute the obstacle correctly.
Finally, she got on the dog walk.. but then leapt from the middle of the last plank, missing the contact completely, and took off for the final jump, which stopped the time and NT'd us.
My knee jerk reaction was to yell "HEY!!" at her (which I do not condone doing) .. not because I was mad at her for goofing up the agility (I wasn't), but because I was afraid she would exit the ring and go on a jaunt in the corn field behind us. I then called her to come, and we finished the last two obstacles in the order that they were intended to be completed.
My personal feeling is that something stressed her at the table (maybe the table itself), but others who saw don't agree and think that she was just goofing. Either way, I'm not terribly concerned (yet) because this was a new site and a longer course than she's used to (Open has less numbers), but this does make the second time where Marge has had dog walk trouble (not counting her slip last week, where she still held on to hit the contact) this year.
We had a longer wait than I anticipated until our next class, Excellent Jumpers with Weaves.
We walked around the site a bit. I liked the site quite a bit, but there must be some shooting range or something nearby, because I kept hearing gun shots. Marge heard them, too - she wasn't horribly scared by them but they definitely made her a bit uneasy. This, unfortunately, truncated our walk time (I would have loved to go on a longer walk). I'm not sure if I'll trial here again.
So, no Q's to show for the day, but Marge definitely had some moments of brilliance. She's not going off course, she's not really running zoomies or anything.. so over all, I think she's handling the transition to Excellent very nicely. And all of our runs this year, so far, have been NICE runs, whether they are Q's or NQ's. Nothing like the crazy stuff that we had going on at the end of last year. Fingers crossed that it stays this way.
Our next trial is not for almost a month, at a park near our house. Removing transit time from the equation has been helpful for us in the past, and my familiarity with the site usually makes me more comfortable, too. I just know we will pick up our first Excellent leg then!
We ended the day with a trip to Louie's house. He had to pick something up from his parents, and it was on the way home. Marge met Louie's parents and did fabulously with them. It was really cool to see her relatively comfortable in a strange place that had NOTHING to do with dog events. We stood outside the front door and chatted for a while, then went home and passed out on the couch. It was a long day!