It should not have been a shock to me that our first agility trial in 5 months would have some rough patches along the way. I was surprised at how I reacted today, initially saying I didn’t miss trialing at all and wondering what I was doing there.
You triathlon people didn’t know me back then, but as recently as last spring I competed every single weekend, for months on end. Our world revolved around the trial that weekend – I thought nothing of driving 200 miles roundtrip in a day, for four days in a row, to spend a minute and fifteen seconds chasing my dog around an obstacle course.
This year, agility has taken a backseat to triathlon. We are competing in only a few select trials, in only one organization, to try to get Max qualified for Nationals again (which, conveniently enough, is 1 week before Ironman Arizona, in the same city!).
After having to run both dogs within a couple minutes of each other first thing in the morning, on opposite ends of the fairgrounds, I was feeling a little disappointed in how overwhelmed I had been. Stanley had a fairly nice jumpers run (knocked 1 bar) and Max had a disaster of a Grand Prix run. Well DUH! Here I think I can just walk into a trial and be mentally in the game again after so long AND run my dogs back-to-back perfectly? Silly.
I got my head on straight and focused on the next thing, which turned out to be not the thing I thought as they changed the order of events a bit. Great, now Max has to run in Standard (course with all the contact obstacles) before Snooker (more of a run wild and burn off your crazy energy type of course). Let’s just stack the deck against us. *smack* Where did this negativity come from? You got a MACH on this dog, you can handle it. I studied the course and formulated my plan and figured we would work it the best we could. Whaddya know, we walked out with our first Masters Standard (PIII) qualifying run (that means we did it right)!!!
Up next was Snooker. We LOVE Snooker. It’s a game where you have to put together your own sequence to collect points in the “opening” round (must intersperse obstacles worth points with red jumps that are scattered throughout the course) and then follow a set course for the “closing” of the run. In Max’s case, he is a momma’s boy and sticks close to me, so it is easier to run him from one distant obstacle to the next without worrying about him taking an off-course along the way, but for some people this is very difficult! I selected my Snooker strategy early – a pretty moderate approach, but still with some risks, going for one 5, two 6s and one 7 point obstacle in the opening. After we finish the first A-frame in this video, we begin the closing sequence – the goal is to get to the finish with as many points as you can before you run out of time. We had a great run and qualified!
Today was a good reminder that I am in charge of my own attitude and if things aren’t going well I am responsible for assessing and coming up with a solution. We have a few more trials over the next couple months where we will run a subset of the events, sandwiched in with triathlon training of course, and I’m glad I am getting on track to remember how to handle my dogs in the ring!
A few photos
Wake me up when we’re doing something interesting
(side note: could the puppy HAVE more hair?!)
Boys in their rest spots at the trial (I ended up having to cover Stan with my rain jacket so he wouldn’t spot me taking Max out for a run – he would scream bloody murder every time it wasn’t his turn!)
Cousin Roger waiting his turn
My teacher’s dog Kidd – total speedy superstar
Flying Kidd butt
Kidd’s A-frame enthusiasm