Monday, May 23, 2011

Secret's First Outdoor Trial!

She rocks. Really, I could end the post with that. 'Nuff said!

Yeah right. Like I'd really stop there! :o)

Secret continued her streak as the best baby dog ever and totally blew me away at her first outdoor trial. I hemmed and hawed and waffled about making the three hour drive on Friday because the weather report was not favorable. BUT, Accuweather claimed that Savage, MN was only supposed to have spotty showers (despite the wicked radar all around the Cities) and that it was actually supposed to be DRY from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Considering the trial started at 5:00, I thought it was worth going. I do, after all, really hate flushing money down the toilet.

The weather was gorgeous when we left the office at 1:00 p.m. We didn't really hit any rain until Cannon Falls, and it was (as predicted!) spotty. It wasn't raining when I pulled into Savage Park and parked the customary 10 miles from the trial site (okay, not THAT far, but it feels like it). But by the time I checked in and schlepped my crates clear across Timbuktu, the skies open up and dumped on us like nobody's business. I hadn't even set up my stuff yet -- it just sat out in the rain and got soaked while I stood helpless under a tent. The dogs were still in the car.

After realizing what a horrible conflict I'd have by running three dogs in Elite Weavers at a small trial, I moved the car and my gear to the other side of the rings to be closer to the action. I elected to not set up my tent, as it would have been more trouble than it was worth to try to do that in the wind & rain. Instead, I set up the crate/x-pen and wrapped the tent around it. It worked. For the most part.

I did not have high hopes for Secret's Hoopers run. Not because it was her first time running Hoopers. Not because it was an outdoor trial. And not because it was raining. But because it was thundering. I'm pretty sure I freaked out about that more than she did. I was certain she would absolutely shut down. And really, she was pretty ooged out coming out of her crate and then waiting our turn (although she saw a Cardigan Corgi right before it was her turn, and boy does she LOVE Cardigan Corgi dogs, so that made her happy). As soon as we stepped to the line and I took off her leash, though, she was all business! I didn't try for a lead out because I was so worried about her freaking out and shutting down -- so I was a little surprised when she actually took off and ran in front of me. Go Secret! Our first test involved two hoops side by side -- requiring us to take the "out" hoop. We practiced "Hoop Weaves" on Thursday, but we did not practice "out" hoops.... So we had to go back and fix that, but she got it on the second try! After that we did the serpentine-thingy test that was no problem at all.

Weavers was just plain awesome. It was Secret's first Elite run in ANY class. I have a "history" with Elite Weavers with Luke. It took us FOREVER to finally get a Q in that class and for a very long time those Q's came very far apart. Time was always an issue. I feel that the times in that class are tighter than any other in NADAC. I probably only feel that way because Luke had issues qualifying. He almost always makes time now -- Largely because I improved my handling and tightened our turns, but also due to the move to 24" weave poles. But still, we all know that Secret is not the speediest beast on the planet right now and I really had my doubts that she would make time.

She rocked it. She nailed every entry and she got faster as the run progressed! Her third set of poles was FANTASTIC. Yes, still hopping, but she was blazing! Go, Seeker, Go! :o) She came in two seconds under course time and won the class! Against very experienced dogs!! (Like Luke, who skipped a pole in the third set, so we just kept going.) Running three dogs in a small Elite Weavers class darn near killed me, but I recovered quickly when I saw how well Secret did.

It was pouring for Tunnelers. By that time I was so wet that I didn't really care anymore, but I wasn't sure if Secret felt the same way. Apparently all was good for her, though, since she didn't even feel like holding her stay at the start (naughty, naughty -- but then again, I hadn't asked for one the entire day). We recovered from that little bobble and she put in a good run. She slipped a couple of times and I think adjusted her speed accordingly -- So it wasn't blazing fast, but it was plenty fast enough to make time in Open and win the class. I checked and she was one second under Elite time, which is good, but we'll continue to work on improving that. She was, after all, only 0.3 seconds faster than Kaiser. From watching them run around the yard together, I'm pretty sure she can shave a few seconds off that. lol

Apparently running in crappy weather is even more exhausting than running in a normal trial. The dogs all crashed HARD for the trip home -- which is good, because then they weren't begging me for their dinner (which they didn't get until we got home at almost 10:30). I was exhausted all weekend trying to catch up on my sleep (I had to work at the shelter at 10:00 on Saturday, so it wasn't THAT bad), but it was totally worth driving up and running in the rain. So proud of my baby girl.

Thanks to some awesome friends who were willing to stand out in the rain, I have video!

I am uber-excited about our trip to Iowa this weekend!!! This week we will be working discriminations every chance we get. The a-frame is still in the garage...... Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. She did so amazing I had to watch the video again! ;) Im really excited to see her progress at Davenport this weekend!