60 dollars of entry fees.
A tank of gas.
5 cups of coffee.
One Standard Q. Priceless.
Today I drove further to a trial today than I ever have. It is official, I have C-ATCH fever! I loved the judge, two rounds of Standard were being offered...why not a little mini road trip?
We went to Victoria Farms in New York today. And it was cold. Really cold. Really. Really. Cold. My fingers and hands burned from it. I shivered. I kept Molly in the car when she wasn't running because even though it was only 25 degrees outside, the sun kept the inside of the car comfortable like a little mini greenhouse.
This is not to say I did not have a good time. In fact, this was one of the most fun trials I have attended lately! It was a very small group and we all had a little laugh about how clearly insane we all were to be in an unheated barn for an agility trial in the middle of January. It felt good to be insane. I was made to feel welcome and praised for my additional insanity of driving so far to attend such a trial. The whole trial we all worked and volunteered and there was no begging for jobs to be filled. There was breakfast, coffee and later on, lunch provided for workers.
Jumpers was first. It started with two jumps to a straight tunnel. Molly broke her start line stay and I heard her churning up behind me. And she was fast. Fast like I love her to be. She stayed on course out of total luck, because I was left in the dust, but when I collected her she stressed up even more and took the straight tunnel again for an off course. When she stopped zooming we ran the rest of the course and we were dancing. I was barely even looking at her she was flying so fast, if only I had it on video! I trusted her commitment and I was right to. It was a beautiful run and so much fun!
Next was the dreaded Standard! Molly broke her stay again! I walked away from her all confident because she doesn't really break her stays except for the first run of the day but I heard her stand up and shake her ear flaps and when I heard that noise I knew I was screwed. Actually we turned in a very decent run and she actually did fast weaves! We made it all the way to the bitter end with the dog walk leading to the last jump and she jumped off the dog walk and missed the contact zone. It was hard to be happy! If we NQ Standard it is far easier on me when it happens in the beginning of the run!
Standard Round 2 went just as nicely also. We navigated the course with no off courses or any other faults and even got a weave entry (but slow weaves.) And the dog walk contact, all the way to the bottom. Whew! I was grinning ear to ear and the other Insane January Competitors were all happy for me since they knew that I wanted a Standard leg. That sort of kindness to somebody that they just met for the first time today was very special to me!
Last of the day was Wildcard. Now all day as we came from outside to inside and about mid morning we encountered barn cats. Molly was already higher than normal but this sent her through the roof. Scrabbling, hackles up, chattering...it did not look good for our ring time. I kept taking her outside and rebooting her crazy little system with our Get Focused exercises and that did help a lot. But in Wildcard, the start line was moved to the opposite side of the ring. Nearer to the hallway where we had seen the cats. The hallway had gating in front of part of the entrance with boarding up but there was a narrow strip where you could see down through. And Molly noticed. I saw her get "taller" and interested in the slit. I did get her attention. She did hold her start line stay. As I was walking from her I saw her looking at that slit. I thought "Here we go. A cat is going to walk past there and then it is going to be a circus!"
I released her and she came to me, but it was jump to tire to another straight tunnel, to the first wildcard (a curved tunnel with the Wildcard being your choice of which end.) I got the "B" End, the harder end that I wanted but she was jacked up from the cat hallway. I haven't seen her run so hard and fast on a fourth run in a long time. Before I had time to think she was back in the straight tunnel. I needed to talk to her to pull her hard to the right for the next Wildcard but ... my brain wasn't working fast enough and she took the off course tire (NQ). Oh well! We finished out the course, got all of our Wildcards (the last one was an Aframe-Tunnel discrimination and she had no issues with it.)
Seven. Seven more Standard Qs to go.
And as far as enjoying my journey? Today will stay with me forever. That long drive through the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area as the sun was coming up. Our stop at McDonalds for a bathroom, coffee and geocache grab. Our long walk through the frozen field on the farm property that was just a little bit like skijoring because Molly was so charged up on the snow. The cat up on the ribbons table rubbing against a competitor trying to look at results. The food spread that was absolutely delicious and ice cold bordering on frozen (except the heated stuff!). It was one of those perfect imperfect days and even though we only got one Q today, I felt like we were just the sort of team that I want us to be. We just need a little bit more fine tuning.