Last Saturday, Marge and I spent the day at a local agility trial. Normally, we would have spent the weekend, but the weather at this trial has been, in the past, extremely hot.. so we took our chances on one day only.
Our first run was Standard, and, as is becoming a bit of the theme, the run was completely botched. We actually had two shots at the opening because the timer didn't start before I started running, and we NQ'd on the second and third obstacle, respectively, both times. She then took a wild off course (because she just can't resist taking a straight line of jumps), and offered her A-Frame contact twice. She also missed her weave entry and popped out at the 10th pole or so. It was a wild run.
|The little devil. She doesn't look particularly stressed - I sure hope not. I don't want those|
crazy runs from last year to sneak back. I think Standard just requires a ton of mental
focus that we still need to work on.
I was not hopeful about Jumpers (what else is new?), particularly because it was super sunny. Since the sun likes black dogs, Marge wasn't exactly thrilled with things. I had her in her crate, covered with my sun-blocking mesh silvery thing (that I commonly refer to as my space ship blanket), my small fan hanging on the door.
The wait wasn't terribly long, as the trial was small, at only 397 runs. That's about 200 per ring (as opposed to 330 runs, which is the maximum number per ring).
As usual, I walked my Jumpers course with all rears (just one front cross, after the weave poles, where a rear would have been highly inefficient. When I stick to my strengths (rear crosses), we qualify.
Turns out I would have to employ a bit of a different strategy to get around this course. When I released her from the start line, she began moving at a snail's pace! I had to play cheerleader throughout the whole course, and even put a front cross in that I hadn't even walked - just because there was no way I could wait for her to pass me to do the rear! I do not think it was stress in this case - I think it was the heat, as well as the fact that the front of the ring was extremely soggy (see how she trots out of the first yellow tunnel?).
Her speed picked up considerably at the end of the run. Once it was over, I searched mightily to see if we made time.. and we did. Our time was 40.16 seconds, and the allowable course time was 42 seconds. That meant we picked up our first MXJ leg (out of 10), and our very, very first MACH point (points are awarded for every full second you are under course time).
As is customary at every trial we attend, I had her pose with her loot. In this case, she only received a green qualifying ribbon.. yep, you have to be faster than that in Excellent B around here in order to place.
By no means was it a great trial. After all, the weekend marked one year since our last Standard Q, other than the lone one we picked up back in April to get out of Open. But it certainly wasn't a bad trial. How could it have been? - now, we've only got 749 more MACH points to earn! And while that seems like a big number (because it is), my hope is that runs in the cooler weather will yield us way more than 1 point at a time.
Next weekend, we're heading out to PA for a trial in a sports building. I've never been to the place before, but from the set-up of the rings that I've seen on YouTube, I'm hopeful that Marge will like it. Keep your fingers crossed for us!