Typically, I run Marge in two classes per day at AKC agility trials: Standard and Jumpers With Weaves. Yet, this Friday, I was sporting a black-and-white dog at the end of a fiery-red leash who was tugging her heart out. Marge was still in the trailer. Why?
My friend, Karen, invited me to run her Border Collie, Arrow, in Excellent Jumpers. She doesn't like Jumpers and thought she'd let me have some fun. Arrow is 10 years old, but acts like she's 3.
After nearly getting my thumb bit off (through no fault of Arrow's; I'm not used to a dog who tugs!), I stepped on to the line with this crazy, crazy girl who I've NEVER practiced with.
It was... interesting! It started off well enough, but then Arrow took a wrong course and popped out of her weaves. We skipped a few jumps here and there and a couple of bars came down, but were actually pretty together by the end of the course.
It was one of those things that was over before it started. She is lightning fast... I am truly not used to running such a speedy, quick-reacting dog. But it was a blast!
Now that that was out of the way, I was able to focus on Marge. I fetched her from the trailer and started my warm-up.
Our run went a little bit better.
Though it was slow, at 4.33 yards per second, Marge qualified with me on this tight, tight course. It was the second of three legs needed for her AXJ title.
But that wasn't the last time I'd see this Jumpers course. Spirit's owner missed her walk-through (I can't blame her at all; the rings were running on all sorts of weird schedules), so she sent me in to pinch-hit for her with Spirit right before my Excellent Standard run.
I ran it really, really, well. The problem was that I ran it as if I was running Marge; Spirit performed the rear crosses I requested of her, but not over the jumps! So, we incurred two refusals in an otherwise beautiful run.
Close (as in, NQ'ing at obstacle #16), but no cigar.
Not a great run, but not a horrible one, either. I didn't like her moving around at the start line, and we ran in to a bit of trouble after the chute. The middle of the course was nice.. I even managed to put in a blind cross to get on the side of the teeter that I wanted to be on. However, the closing sequence after the table was too much for us to conquer, and it kind of fell to pieces.
Still, one out of two ain't bad. Or, one of of four, if you count my runs with the other two stooges...
Stay tuned for Part 3, a recap of Sunday.