Monday, September 18, 2017

Big Girl Ring

With all of Molly's recent health problems, it is an honor and a thrill to still get to go to an agility trial and experience butterflies-in-the-stomach "firsts" together.   This weekend we got to run in the Masters/P3 USDAA ring for the first time together.   I was nervous, surprisingly way more than I expected, nervous.   And as always, Molly put up with me being nervous.   She put up with my micromanaging and crowding on her obstacles, because that is what I do when I get nervous and Molly is used to my nonsense.   The poor girl.

We started with Standard, and I was of course late and nearly missed my walkthrough!   Only later did I realize that they split the walkthrough and after the Masters dogs ran, the P3 and Small Masters dogs got a separate walk through.   Whew!   We NQd on a wrong course tunnel in no time and some naughtiness on the weaves.   Molly did slip heading up the dog walk, but caught herself and that scared me.   When I was watching the other large dogs run the course I saw more slips than I usually do and on some very experienced teams.   Weird.

Our other two runs for the day with Pairs Relay and Snooker.   I was through the roof anxious about Pairs partly due to not wanting to ruin somebody's run due to mine and Molly's inconsistent nonsense and partly of a bad experience in P2 with a rude and judgemental Pairs partner.   I was assigned to the most laid back and wonderful handler and his dog who is also new to the P3 ring, and we both agreed to zero pressure and "we don't care!" and because of that I was able to do a beautiful job handling Molly and we had a clean run!   I feel a little more secure moving forward with P3 Pairs now.   It is so refreshing to be in the ring with somebody who understands good sportsmanship!

Snooker was last and Molly was tired and I thought she might not feel like weaving.   The weaves were #6 in the closing so I made a plan using all four reds and earned 39 points for our first Q in P3.  Yay!  Molly weirdly walked out of the weaves about halfway through, which was an odd thing for her to do but hey - maybe she knew I was feeling totally optional about her even doing the weaves at all.  Ha!

Day two, I didn't learn to be on time any better and truly did almost miss my walk through for Jumpers.   The opening was very tight and challenging for the big dogs and Molly and I did pretty well!   I was super crowdy and not trusting her commitment on this course and I kick myself for it.   We had only one refusal and no wrong courses and I am very proud of us!

We did Steeplechase/Performance Speed Jumping next - lovely lovely fast weaves this time and I kept her off of a wrong course tunnel but then....we got a wrong course tunnel elsewhere.   Oh Molly!   The rest of the run was lovely, avoiding two other wrong course tunnel options throughout the course.   I do love PSJ for the wide open flowing type of course and I know Molly loves it too!   

We ended our weekend with Standard again and had quite a few faults.   Wrong course tunnel, weave refusal and then my mind exploded and my handling disintegrated.   Oh well!   The course had a rather low Q rate, it was tricky!   

We survived our first weekend in P3 and I am looking forwards to being more relaxed next time.   We did not go to another planet, we just went a few steps away to a different ring!   I guess I'm being silly, but I was mainly more self conscious than anything.   

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