Four years ago I travelled to Louisville for the big Kentuckiana Cluster for my very first AKC agility trial with my parents and Dally in tow. I was excited, and maybe a little nervous, and Dally didn't really seem to care either way. I vaguely remember walking the courses what seemed like hundreds of times, each, and worrying about how Dally would handle the weave poles, but that's about it. I do remember walking away with three blue ribbons (we Qd and won our jump height in Nov STD and JWW on Saturday and Nov STD on Sunday--I didn't enter her in Nov JWW on Sunday, and I think the reasoning was because she wasn't consistent in her weaves...don't ask, I couldn't tell you how that made sense four years ago). After that, I was hooked, and it began a journey that you are currently following now.
Flash forward to 2012, and I drove to Louisville with Merinda for one day of running only. I mostly entered the trial so LaMesa's breeder could finally get to watch her run live, and Dally got a last minute entry when she didn't make it into the Queen City trial and I wanted to run her one more time before Nationals. I was just crossing my fingers that LaMesa handled the insanity decently (it's a three-ring trial with tons of people and dogs--it can be very stressful for any dog, let alone LaMesa, who easily stresses before any run no matter what). I had hoped for a QQ from Dally to add to our tally, as well as some PACH points, but mainly I just wanted two solid runs from her.
Let's focus on the positives first. LaMesa was a little rock star! She ran a great Excellent A Standard course, nailing the tunnel/A frame discriminations both times. She was so pumped up that when she got on the table she started barking at me, almost jumping off too early! After the table was the weaves, and unfortunately, momma messed her up by crowding too close to the entrance, so we missed it. Not a problem, I pulled her back and she nailed the entrance a second time and finished great! She ran a fast 50 second run that would have put her on top of her Exc A height class and in the top 10 for the Exc B 12s! I was very proud of her.
Debbie finally got to watch LaMesa run live during her Open Jumpers course. It had been a long day for us, but she handled the course (and all three pinwheels) beautifully--even nailing her weave pole entrance the first time! We had one refusal, which might have been caused by me leaving a jump too early, but she ran great and stayed strong throughout the course. I was a very happy momma! This earned her third place and her Open Jumpers title, which means she's now in Excellent A for both, and we no longer have conflicts between her and Dally! Yay!
Her Jumpers run was the only one that was able to be recorded (Louisville is too crazy to try to figure out who is recording who and when):
You know how I said, "Let's focus on the positives first"? Well....then there were Dally's runs....
Dally started out her Standard run in typical fashion, running well and happy. We were doing fine until I tried to throw in a front cross too early, caught myself, and tried to save the refusal. I don't know if the judge called it or not, but it didn't matter, since when she got on the table, she stood there for two seconds then promptly trotted off to smell a sandbag. I was totally shocked--she's never done that before! I called her back to the table, and after a moment of her saying, "No," she hopped back on and we finished the course in good speed. No worries...I shrugged it off with a laugh and moved on (I had to run LaMesa after that anyway).
Jumpers, though, totally concerned me. When it was finally our turn, I thought all was well and that we were fine--she warmed up fine, got revved up in good shape, no worries. The timer calls "Ready!" and I take off like normal. Dally, though, doesn't... She trotted up and over the first jump, did the same for the second, then promptly stopped. She stood there and looked at me. I went back to try to rev her up again to run and have fun, she walked a couple of steps and that was it...we were done. I thanked the judge, picked her up and walked out. She didn't seem sore or injured...didn't seem stressed or upset... I have no clue what that was all about. All I know is that it left me in pure shock.
How can this happen two weeks before we're supposed to be competing at the AKC National Agility Championships? An event in which you had to be on your game and qualify? We didn't look like a nationals-caliber team out there.
My friends told me not to panic--Dally's thrown her "Corgi attitude" at me before, and bounced back just fine. I should be used to it all, right? Sure, but it doesn't make the stress decrease any before Nationals...
This evening we're headed to the chiropractor for a check to see if she's out badly or extremely sore, followed by one last class before Dally heads West. LaMesa pulled up lame yesterday, so I'm just about out of luck it seems.
More on that tomorrow...