Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Lonely MACH Point

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.
On the bright side, she held all of her contacts, got on the table, and actually read a landing-side front that I put in.  But, we still don't have a connection in Standard the way we do in Jumpers.

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!


Two French Bulldogs June 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM  

Oh Marge you sure are talented. You run those obstcles like a champ. Good luck in P.A
Benny & Lily

Raegan June 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM  

I LOVE the tire picture! Purple and bright yellow are such Marge colors.

Chris and Ricky June 30, 2011 at 9:09 PM  

woohoo! great job with that jww in the heat! we have 2 MACH points - 748 to go - lol!

andrea June 30, 2011 at 10:05 PM  

hey a q is a q and a point is a point - well done!

I am always a bit at a loss when I find myself with a different dog than I was expecting and all three of the beasts here will do it to me on occasion!

Lorenza June 30, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

I am sure you two are going to do it great in P.A.!
Kisses and hugs

Amy / Layla the Malamute July 1, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

Congratulations! I don't think of it as "one lonely MACH point", I think of it as, "holy shit, that's a MACH point!!".

I think the speed is from the heat. I'm absolutely positive that she'll be her regular self at cooler trials.

I loved your JWW plan, especially the rears. When you reared the triple, I yelled, "HA!!" And scared the cat so bad she ran into the other room. Layla can handle triple rears too, but people constantly tell me "you can never rear a triple, it just won't work." Even at class tonight I rear'd the teeter and got bitched at for it. I liked seeing Marge's gorgeous rears.

Good luck next weekend! I'm excited to see how you guys like the site. Their food person is ridiculously overpriced, so I'd recommend either bringing lunch from home, or going back to McDonald's or some other place for lunch. You'll pass some places on your way there, but I won't pay their crazy prices.

If you can, can you let me know how the parking situation is? We were there for obedience and the parking sucked. They didn't even have a loading/unloading zone. I'm wondering what adjustments they'll make having it be a large agility trial.

Also, did you get in to JAG??

Diana July 1, 2011 at 7:08 AM  

Congrats on your first MACH point. WhooHoo! It probably as the heat. She looks really good.

Tucker The Crestie July 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM  

Great job, Marge! You look lovely with your green ribbon, and I hope you had fun - which is the most important thing!

Natasha July 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

Congrats on the first MACH point! I'm sure the heat was just getting to her -- Marge isn't slow, and you'll get the rest of those MACH points in no time!

Muttsandaklutz July 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

The first of many! Everyone has to start somewhere, right? She does look pretty hot but she did seem to get more and more into it as she settled into the groove.

AC July 1, 2011 at 4:29 PM  

Nice work Team Smarge! But the biggest congrats on year three (and a happy 4th birthday to Marge Dog)!!

What a year for you two. It seems like it was a real blossoming year for your girl. It's so fun to watch you on this journey, especially as each big milestone passes.

Sara July 1, 2011 at 4:56 PM  

You handled that course beautifully! It is hard to deal with trials in sun/heat. I think Marge did awesome! Congrats on your MACH point :)

Kari in Alaska July 1, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

Is she sticking her tongue out in the tire pic?


Cheryl and Kirby July 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM  

Congratulations on your first MACH point!!! and happy belated birthday and gotcha day!!

I love your video of Marge's 3rd year...nice job capturing her determination to become the best dog that she can be!

Kirby's mom

Nicki July 4, 2011 at 4:28 PM  

Woohoo! The journey begins! Ours started with just a 5 point run. And now we are getting oh so close. At least it seems close to me. Rescue dogs rock!

petdoginsurance July 7, 2011 at 9:37 AM  

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it.I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Dog walkers Phoenix

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