Saturday, October 6, 2018

September USDAA Trials

September was a "busy" trialing month for Molly and I, with three different weekends of USDAA trials.

The first weekend of the month we went for one day and played Gamblers and Standard. Gamblers ran first and I thanked the judge mentally over and over in my head for having a Gamblers course that I could set up a nice big wide open speed line for Molly. She loves that so much, I truly believe I can see pride on her face when she gets to run fast and open! We did NQ the Gamble - Molly used to carry out into gambles/sends/jackpots much more in her younger years and I am finding that I need to give some extra support to her. I just haven't mentally switched that gear yet!

Here is our Standard. We started out a little goofy but ultimately I was happy with the run. I missed a jump, both in my walkthrough and our run, oops! And then Molly would not weave. Sigh.

The next weekend we again only did one day, and this time Jumpers Gamblers and Standard! We started with Jumpers and my head was sooooo not into the zone. I had not been feeling well the day before and I had a terrible night's sleep. We actually did a decent job with only one knocked bar fault - an error that I am sure I caused with my handling as Molly is still not a bar dropper even as she has grown older.

Gamblers was next and again! I got to plan a big wide open run for Molly! I ran into an issue of not being where I wanted to be when the buzzer sounded and it killed Molly's momentum. And again, here she could have used a little extra support into that tunnel.

Standard: Molly was hot. We got a refusal early on as I misjudged her commitment on a jump. And then no weaves. I was really happy with the ending,finished strong!

I wasn't feeling very great. I was feeling like maybe Molly is truly tired of agility trials. The evening after the above two runs we went to class and Molly was super sassy, running fast and hard and happy. Great weaves. Refused to out her toy. Nipping at my hands. Having a blast! But maybe not trials? It was a confidence hit.

One issue: I had already entered a trial the last weekend of September and it was new territory for us. "Team". Performance Versatility Pairs. I entered with a classmate who has a green dog she wanted to start out in Performance. I was very upfront that Molly often does not weave at trials, and we are...not a consistent team. Even doing one-run Team Relay stresses me out so much that I do not enter it unless I specifically have a friend who wants to run it with us. (I was doing better with this until Molly crashed off the dog walk in relay during a zoomie jag.)

My friend assured me, we are going to have fun. "We don't care!"

Ok. But what if my dog won't weave??

I was really having a lot of stress over my choice to do Team. But also, some excitement. It was really exciting to share another "first" with Molly. With Molly being a "senior girl" I will not do more than 2-3 runs a day with her anymore, but this hosting club was offering Team over two days. And we ended up having a blast. The weather was warm outside but super cool in the building. The hosting club blasted 80s music during every walk through. We had faults, our teammate had faults. We ended up dead last but Molly weaved every single set of weave poles! She was running fast and happy and I could tell that she was enjoying herself. And the best of all was two people we had never met taking the time to come tell me they love watching my girl run because they can tell she's having a blast. I needed that so much right now. That's my Hot TaMolly, my party girl.

We ran Gamblers and Standard on the first day. Gamblers we racked up a lot of points in the opening but again I fumbled around and ran out of obstacles to take just before the buzzer went off. I killed our momentum and got a refusal on the first gamble obstacle so we did not get those gamble points. Standard we had two refusal faults on the weaves. The first time she ran past the entry. The second time she stressed. And I pulled her back out of it and I really just said to her "do you see 'em? you can do this! you can do it! now GO!" and...she did! She ran into the entry and hopped right through and from that point on she was fine. It was a really good moment for us. A moment we needed! And then she naughty-blew the dog walk, second to last obstacle but hey, we still did not "E"!

The second day was Jumpers. My favorite run of the weekend. We got a refusal and then we E'd because of a horrifyingly late front cross on my part. But oh man, it was such a rush and dem weaves!

Next was Snooker and I felt like I was crazy micromanaging her but we did do well and get decent points (although not all through 7!) I was proud of her - and also glad weaves were not included haha.

And last was our Team Relay run! Our team name was "Tastes Like Chicken" because you know, big pitbull, little pomeranian mix. Hahaha, get it?? Molly starts weaving slow, ends fast. I'll take that!

"Tastes Like Chicken!"

I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to play PVP with Molly again but I have to say that I really enjoyed it! A lot more than I thought I would! I like the time plus faults style, it was a fun change from the normal "clean runs only" style of titling classes. It reminds me that I really want to start playing more Steeplechase with Molly. September finished strong and it finished fun.

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