Whew, what a way to try to get back into the swing of things! After exactly 2 months from our last trial, I entered both dogs in a local USDAA trial not knowing that this thing would eventually become a 3 ring major indoor event! Craziness. Both dogs were on teams….Miles with Melanie Miller’s Viszla, Austin as the “Spider Monkeys” and Rue with Bill Gates’ young Golden, Shadow and Samantha Seal’s young BC, Early to become “Rue’s Shadow–Early Spring”. I had high aspirations for Miles’ team and wanted to focus on fun and training for Rue’s team. I also did enter Miles in PII Standard both days along with Perf Speed Jumping and Grand Prix, while Rue’s only titling class was Starters Jumpers on Sunday.
I arrived very early on Saturday morning after meeting my friends the night before to set up our little city of crates to get Rue measured. My first run wasn’t scheduled to be until about 1pm, so I crawled out of bed at 5:45, threw on my running clothes, grabbed Rue and headed out to Raleigh. I was first in line for measuring and the little monkey was the perfect angel to stand very still for the measuring judge…..20.75″, sweet!! I then grabbed some course maps, threw her back in the car, drove home, ran 11 miles, showered, ate, and headed back to the arena with two excited pups.
First run was Team Standard. The way they were running things was you were assigned a group, either A or B. You walked a course in one ring with your group, then switched to the other ring, then ran both. This was a lot for my feeble out-of-trial-practice brain! In any case both courses looked very fun and unbeknownst to me there are no tables in any of the team/tournament classes, woot! Miles was up first and I was psyched to be able to use our mad skillz with lateral distance off of the poles. I was late getting to the gate, so the poor boy didn’t get any cookies. Of course on the way to the ring, he dropped his ball and it rolled into the middle ring just as a man was about to lead out….gah! Knucklehead. So anyway, they were shouting for us, so in the ring we went. We were clean and this was undoubtedly his best run of the weekend and, of course, it’s not on tape 😦
Lil’ Rue got to play next in Team Standard. Unfortunately, since we’re not teetering right now I had to “E” us right off the bat. I planned a nice fast loop around the outside that allowed her to do her dogwalk (she got a good hit and a nice push out to the tunnel) and her favorite, the a-frame. She had a blast and looked great!
Next, Miles got to run Team Jumpers. I thought he did a great job, but it was evident that he was looking at the crowd. I think in his first run it was so rushed that he hadn’t gotten the chance to even think about sight seeing before we ran. He put a lot of extra strides in on the run and hesitated in the poles a bit, but overall he did great and got another clean run for the team 🙂
Rue followed pretty quickly and I think this was her best run of the weekend. A little slow to start, but overall a brilliant job by the littlest one!
Somewhere in the midst of all of this I had to walk Miles’ PII Standard course. Nothing like trying to be in THREE rings at once! Nice course, lots of fun and a solid Q for the boy despite losing a ton of time on the table. This was his first PII Std leg.
It didn’t seem long before we were walking both the Steeplechase and Team Gamblers courses. Steeplechase looked like a blast and I felt like I had a solid plan for Mr. Man. I ended up running Miles in Team Gamlers, then Miles in Steeplechase, then Rue in Team Gamblers I think. In any case, it was a blur. Monkey had a great Team Gamblers run, but something spooked him going into the last tunnel…..he fortunately got enough points to nab a Q.
Steeplechase went as planned, but I forgot momentarily where I was going after the first a-frame. Thankfully he was a good boy and hit his contact while I gathered my thoughts 😉 It was a little slow for him, but I figured it was his 5th run of the day and his first day back into trialing in a stressful environment, so I was pretty pleased. He got a Q for this run too!
Last run of the day was Rue’s Team Gamblers run. I picked a fun teeterless course for her and thought it went pretty well. She was a bit slow on her dogwalk…not quite sure why that happens sometimes, but it seems when the course starts jump or tire and then dw, she’s kinda slow. Although that wasn’t the case in Team Standard, so something to work on. She did a good job for me…flaked out for a second to look at the judge, but chose to stay with me for a Q 🙂
I wake up to a sad and mopey Miles 😦 He barely wants to go for a walk and I drag him down the street. He had a little bit of soft stool, but generally just looking tired or something. We get back to the house and his typical insane “I’m gonna eat” routine was not present at all. He just kind of moped into the kitched and layed down to wait for his food. When I released them to get their yogurt and egg concoction, he was slow to go over to it and slow to eat. Hmmmmm, wth? Then as I’m getting ready for the trial…showering, etc. he’s falling asleep with his head up in the air in the bathroom. Definitely not a good sign. Is he sore? Sick? Stressed? Just tired?? Gah. Knowing that I have 5 more runs planned for him was not encouraging. I decided to head out and see if maybe once he got there he’d perk up. No, not really. He wasn’t acting sore at all, just tired, or stressed, or sick. or all three. I asked my friends to help me to keep an eye on him during our runs to see if they could notice anything wrong. If he looked lame at all, I’d pull him….especially from Steeplechase finals.
Grand Prix and Team Snooker were set up first. I was so worried about Miles that I basically just stood in the middle of the Snooker ring and stared. I couldn’t find a plan for either dog for the life of me, so I just figured I’d look at the map later, watch some other dogs, and wing it. We got to run Grand Prix first anyway, so I knew there would be a lot of other dogs to watch. Miles did a decent job in GP, but was definitely slow. He looked around a bit and crawled across the dogwalk. He looked at the teeter like he might refuse it, but decided to get on it anyway. Somehow we squeeked out a Q. After his run, he squeeked out some more soft stool….
Somehow by the grace of God, I figured out two different Snooker plans for my guys. I ran Rue first and we had a great run going until I forgot which side of the frame I was supposed to be on and made a severe push into her line and she launched herself off the frame. Too bad because if we had finished that obstacle, we would have Q’d 😦
Miles’ run went a bit smoother, but I forgot that I had to go to the closing, so wasted precious seconds which caused us to be one weave pole away from finishing the closing. He still Q’d which gave him his 4th Q for his team 🙂
Again, somewhere in the midst of this I had to walk and run Miles in PII Standard. By the time we got to the line for this run, he was definitely not acting himself. He barely pushed back at me when I held him at the start line and it showed. He was slow and stressed….slow to down on the table and worried about the photographer which ultimately led to a teeter refusal….his first since July 😦 He was brave and got on it and then flew for the rest of the course 🙂
Our last set of walk throughs were for DAM Team/PVP relay and Steeplechase finals. I debated about pulling him from Steeplechase finals, but wanted to see how he did in his relay since I actually thought the Steeplechase course looked like one that he would enjoy. The “Spider Monkeys” were the 2nd team on the line for relay and I picked the 2nd half for Miles….no teeter 😉 Melanie and Austie had a great run and we weren’t too shabby. Other than a refusal at a jump…was he looking at something??…we were able to Q, take 3rd place in relay, and our team came in 6th!!
Rue’s little baby dog team did remarkably well in relay too! Sam and Early went first, then Bill and Shadow, then Rue and I. All 3 dogs ran fantastically well and our relay Q kept us out of last place 😉 No video for this one which is most unfortunate.
I debated again about running Miles in Stp finals, but then just decided to go for it. Well, I should have pulled him b/c he was definitely not all there. Very slow, lots of extra strides, looking around everywhere, wide turns, etc. He was clean, but no where near fast enough to get any $$. Lesson learned for next time. I must say he had me quite concerned by now.
Our last run of the whole weekend was Starters Jumpers. I don’t think they could have come up with a simpler course for this run to be honest. I guess I was overconfident or Rue was overtired because we made a mess of this run. She didn’t want to come off the line, then went to visit a ring steward, then some tunnel bags, then another ring steward, etc. At that point she had gone around 1 or 2 jumps, so I just made it a point to reconnect with her and try to finish the course. I asked her to “sit” which she did very quickly and then we went on to finish the course. She even got a burst of super speed!
I left the trial with mixed emotions. On one hand I was super proud of Miles for getting all but 1 Q for the weekend. This was our first time back together in a while since we hadn’t had class or done much practicing. On the other hand, I was worried that I had a very sick or very stressed dog on my hands. I told myself that if he didn’t seem “back to normal” by Tuesday that I’d take him to the vet for some lab work. Little Rue really impressed me with her focus (except for that last run, hehe) and her ability to handle the tough Team courses. She ran 3 tough courses both days and did Gamblers and Snooker for the first time. She actually carried her team with only having that one “E” in Team Standard 🙂