The running order for this trial was tall dogs down to small dogs, so I had a long wait for our next run in Excellent A Standard. This course wasn't too difficult, the trickiest thing for us looked like the dogwalk to the table (our usual nemesis). Oddly, Jimmy messed up his weave poles, skipping one pole in the middle. He had done the same weird thing in FAST as well. He never messes up in the poles so I am not sure what was off. He was pretty pumped up for his runs, and I think he may have been trying to go too fast. My mental game may have been off as well (which can translate into funky handling) because I knew this run *could* earn us our Excellent STD title. Whatever the cause, the weave pole burp disqualified us. From there it was on to the dogwalk and then the table. Jimmy gave me a beautiful table! He nailed it and stuck to it. I even stayed away by several feet and he held for the count. We finished the rest cleanly and our time was good. So although it was disappointing not to earn our title, the wonderful table performance made me very happy since that has been our issue for so long.
Our final run of the day was Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves (JWW). At the beginning of the day, I pick up the course maps for our runs. However, I rarely look at all of them at once,
just the one for my upcoming run. I like a clear mind and don't want to be worrying about my last run of the day when I haven't even run the first. When I finally saw the map for this JWW run, I laughed out loud! I can say I have never seen this configuration before.
Here's the map: (for those of you who don't do agility, just follow the little numbers in the circles. No.1 is in the lower left corner with the 2 S's indicating the Start. No.19 is the Finish. Nos. 3 and 13 are the tunnels and No.9 is the weave poles, the rest are a variety of different jumps.)
Two side by side, straight tunnels was absolutely bound to be a challenge for lots of dog/handler teams. I sat and watched the 20 inch class for a while. It was not easy to get a fast dog into the proper ends of the tunnels and even more difficult to get yourself down to the other end to direct them on to the next jump. Many, many teams disqualified themselves depending on how they chose to handle getting into the tunnels.
If you didn't have a startline stay with a fast dog, it was pretty much a crap-shoot as to which tunnel you would get.
I ring-crewed for the 16 inch class and got a good idea of what was working and what wasn't. The smaller dogs were definitely having a more succesful time with this course. Their shorter stride was giving the handlers more time to cue the proper tunnel ends. The judge who designed this course runs very small dogs and you could certainly tell from the results.
When our 12 inch class came around, Jimmy was calmer than he had been in the morning. We were much earlier in the running order so he didn't have as much time to watch other dogs and get amped up. I put him in a stay and lead out past the second jump, blocking his view of the wrong tunnel with my body. I released him and he shot straight into the correct tunnel. I didn't make it to the other end of the tunnel before he was out, but I had just enough time to cue a rear-cross over the next jump. Fortunately, Jimmy read it perfectly, as rear-crosses are not usually my forte. Onward a few jumps to the weaves where I was careful not to pressure Jim. This time he did them just fine. Whew! Three more jumps to the other tunnel this time. I front-crossed after the 3rd jump, and swung Jimmy around my left hip, out far enough that he had no reason to think about choosing the wrong tunnel. Another sprint from me to catch up to him, another rear-cross over that same jump to an outer grouping of jumps and into the home stretch. We made it through clean and in 34.54 seconds. Woohoo! This was leg # 6 out of 10 toward our Masters Jumpers (MXJ) title and 9 more MACH points.
Since this was our last run, I gathered up my stuff, headed to the car to get organized, take the boys out for another walk, wait for the results to be posted, and get my green Q ribbon. I figured we probably ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack. Much to my surprise and delight, Jimmy placed 4th! It is very difficult to place in Excellent B JWW as we are competing against small, light-weight shelties, Paps, JRTs, and even those speedy Cavs! To make this sound even sweeter, Jimmy was "in the ribbons" with the newly crowned 12 inch NAC (Nat'l Agility Champion) sheltie, Sparkle. Sparkle took first place in this run. Now of course, truth be told, Sparkle beat us by a whopping seven seconds (an eternity in agility), but hey, it's still feels good to come in just three dogs later!
Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:
Excellent B JWW legs: 6 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) More than halfway to his Masters Jumpers title!
Excellent B STD legs: 0 (out of 10 needed for his MX)
Double Q's: 0 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH)
MACH Points: 80 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH)