This weekend, we loaded up the car and headed to Medicine Hat for a fun weekend of agility.
Maggie had a pretty good weekend. She didn't miss any contacts and only knocked one or two poles all weekend. She didn't miss one weave entrance (which we have been working on) but her weaves were painfully slow. Only one time all weekend did she actually weave with any enthusiam. It was very frustrating because I know she can fly through the weaves, but at trials she acts like she just learned to weave yesterday. Her table was not so good either, I was surprised at that because in her last couple trials she did not hesitate on the table at all.
Saturday we had 3 standard runs and a jumpers run. Her standard runs were pretty good - a few rough spots in each of them and some really good spots too. As the day got warmer, Maggie got slower (it's the end of September, it's not supposed to be hot). Her last run of the day was novice jumpers. Jumpers is always a hard course for us (it has all those jumps) and the course time is quite fast. Maggie is not the fastest dog and jumping is not her strongest feature. Right before we went into the ring, Amanda helped me hose Maggie down (hosing Maggie is at least a two person job) to help cool her off. Maggie's jumpers run was very nice - smooth and it felt good and we actually got a 'Q'! Our very first jumpers 'Q' and Maggie was 9 seconds under time. This was the last 'Q' we needed for Maggie's Starters Game Title.
Sunday was "games day". We started with Gamblers. I picked an opening sequence to run with Maggie but then changed it and then changed it again (with the help and advice of others). Maggie was flying through the opening sequence, so much so that I ran out of all the obstacles that I had planned to do and then just had to make things up until the whistle blew. The whistle finally blew so we could start our closing gamble. The closing gamble was a tire and then two jumps that were all in a straight line. However, between the line of jumps and the gamble line was the dogwalk. I sent Maggie to the tire and she flew down the "homestretch", over the second jump and the went to take the last jump and pulled off of it at the last second. I didn't even care - she ran so great the whole run and her distance from me was great. I was very pleased - it was probably our best run of the weekend.
Next we had team. We were paired with Jolayne and Tag. It took me a long time to enter the team runs, but I really like it. It is most likely because we have such good team partners. Tag and Maggie both ran well, but we had a couple of "oops" moments on both our sides, so no team 'Q', but it was lots of fun. Tag is so fast, I always just watch him in amazement, wishing he could send a wee bit of enthusiasm for the game Maggie's way.
Steeplechase was next. It was a fun course - very open and fast. Maggie picked up speed as she went along but she knocked a bar and had some trouble in the weaves.
Our last run was Snooker. I am really starting to like Snooker, now that I have the game figured out. It is fun to watch - I like to see the different strategies and people get very animated as they try to get their dog though the opening sequence without "breaking the rules". It is also interesting to see people think on their feet when something unexpected happens. In Maggie's run, I found a path (with Sarah's help) that would be fairly flowing for Maggie. If we got everything as planned in our opening, I would need to get to the end of 6 in the closing sequence to get a 'Q'. Right before entering the ring, Maggie got another hose down, and she went in with a lot of pep. Our opening sequence went smooth and just as planned. I knew the clock was ticking down so we started our closing and I took off running. Maggie was feeling good and she ran very well (even getting the weaves). We started the number 6 sequence (a 3 jump pinwheel) and just as Maggie's feet touched down over the 3rd jump, the time buzzer went. I wasn't sure if we made it in time, but we did - the judge called out the last 6 points we needed to qualify.
So what is Maggie's secret to an Agility "Q"? Well, this weekend it was a good soak down with a water hose. Maggie says she hates being soaked down, but she feels so much better after. It is like a doggie version of Red Bull - it gives you wings!
Maggie and her "Q" ribbons and her title ribbon!
Maggie jumping - I think this was steeplechase.I sure do have "pointy fingers" when I am running. Even the hand that is not directing Maggie is pointing. Maybe that is why Maggie sometimes runs so slow. She is looking at my pointing fingers trying to figure out which pointing hand she should be paying attention to.