Thursday, April 18, 2013

When Agility Makes Me Cry

I didn't get a chance to blog about it, but Arrow earned her final MXJ leg under my handling on March 30.

Some backstory: I have been showing Arrow for almost two years.  I ran her just for fun in a Jumpers run in June of 2011; I wound up with a blackened thumb, since I had no tugging experience, and we totally destroyed the course.  I had never run her before, but it was a lot of fun. I eventually began to run her in class and started to handle her at some shows. She needed two more MXJ legs to get her title.

She and I began to do pretty well in Standard, picking up a few legs, but Jumpers continued to be a problem.  With no place to stop and regroup, like a table or contact obstacle, I often wound up out of place, Arrow got faster and crazier, and bars inevitably came down.

We qualified ONCE in Jumpers in June 2012, but the dry spell otherwise continued, until this year.

I felt kind of silly, but I truly and honestly cried when I left the ring. I was more emotional after this agility run than I have ever been before. I think it was just the combination of working on it for so long and never expecting that it would happen this day, during this run, our first trial back of the year.

The real kicker is that Arrow went back out the following day and qualified AGAIN in Jumpers.  Two Jumpers Q's back to back?  After struggling for so long?  She would have it no other way.

Arrow has been an amazing teacher to me.  Handling Marge is really pretty easy; I point her in the right direction, and she goes.  Handling Arrow is another story.  Timing, verbal cues, arm position.. everything matters.  She always tries her hardest, but if I'm too close to a jump, the bar comes down.  If I take my eye off of her, she's 5 jumps away in an instant.  And if I call her in mid air?  She instantly folds herself in half to come towards me.. but takes the bar with her.  

Marge also really enjoys her company at trials - I credit Arrow (and Spirit) with teaching Marge to settle in just about any agility setting.  Marge thinks nothing of walking in to a new trial site nowadays.

Arrow is 12 years old. She is obviously in impeccable shape for her age. But, now that she has both of her Masters titles, she'll be running at a jump height 4 inches lower, in the Preferred classes.  It'll be easier on her body and our hope is that more bars will stay up.. though it does mean that she'll be running faster, so I'd better be prepared to keep up.

Her Preferred debut will hopefully be Saturday.  I'm being given quite a welcome to the world of showing two dogs at two jump heights - Marge's Standard class and Arrow's Jumpers class are running at the exact same time, first thing in the morning!

Photo by M. Nicole Fischer Photography
I am so thankful to have had this experience and am excited to start a new chapter!


Frankie Furter and Ernie April 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM  

Agilities are SO much FUN to Watch. We have furends that do it... Butt NOT Ernie and ME.

Bravo fur a job well done!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ April 18, 2013 at 4:30 PM  

We have to agree with Frankie and Ernie. Agility looks like a lot of fun, but we know it is also a lot of hard work and takes a lot of practice. Congrats to you and Arrow - you did great!!!

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Bailey's Food Dispenser April 18, 2013 at 5:38 PM  

Such a great run! I'm so glad I was able to see it live. Good luck on Saturday!

Diana April 19, 2013 at 8:15 AM  

Congrats! I think a lot of people don't understand how hard it can be to handle a fast dog. Timing is everything. Now imagine your dog is almost six and you just got your AXJ. So frustrating to never q and your friends just keep Qing every weekend. But it lets you realize what is important. Truly the Q s don't matter after a while, just have fun running.

Jo's World April 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM  

For a 12 year old, Arrow is an amazing pup and you have done a great job with her. It was so much fun to see her run!


Jo, Stella and Zkhat

KB April 19, 2013 at 9:16 PM  

That's great news about Arrow! What a turnaround. Isn't it funny how everything clicks all of a sudden? It's awesome that she's in such great shape at 12!

Anonymous April 21, 2013 at 7:01 AM  

So enjoyable to watch you, Arrow and Marge having such a super time and the bonus of doing so well! Yay! :D

Waggin at ya,

PeeS: got your note about the Mall - if you follow the Mall Blog, more info will be coming out on a frequent basis up until the Grand Opening. Hope to see you there :)

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