MACH Diva goes Novice!
August 13 and 14, 2005 Diva and Susy competed in their first NADAC/ASCA combined sanctioned trials. Two full days of new games with fun people and dogs! Since this was the first time in these venues, Diva was a Novice dog once again. What fun! The courses are fast, fast, fast. Wide open and exciting fun for the handler and the dog, The days were packed with activity.
There were 5 runs each day unlike the AKC trial days with just two runs that we are accustomed to. The rules are a little different and the courses are much more wide open at all levels. On Saturday we did two Jumpers runs and they were really fast. As a matter of fact we completed one run in 18.25 seconds! Wow I didn't know I could run that fast myself. Of course we were at that Novice level so the course was a very smooth easy pattern for us, but boy did Diva really run, run, run.
The third set of runs was called weaves, but on this one it might have been called tunnels and weaves as it had a lot of tunnels! The course was the same for all levels, but the allowable times were different for each level and jump height. For tunnel loving dogs, this has got to be fun.
Saturday finished up with two sets of standard runs with the new embedded gamble within the run. The judge determines where to put the gamble line and if you want to do the gamble you must stay on one side of the line and your dog on the other. If you enter all 4 standard runs in a weekend you are given two gamble "chips". After walking the course you decide if you want to go for the gamble and turn in your chip. Well the first standard run on Saturday had the A-frame in the gamble. Now the NADAC A-frame is lower than the AKC one, but it has no slats. Diva has never competed on one without the slats and our contacts still remain a weak link in my opinion. So going for this gamble was really a GAMBLE. Diva did all the required moves, but as she came down the slatless A-Frame she looked to me and missed the contact zone. Well that disqualified the run and the gamble. Well it was a gamble! We then did the next standard run and the gamble and made both.
Sunday brought 5 more games: Again 2 standards with the embedded gamble, Touch-n-Go, and two tunnelers. Since we used up our chips on Saturday we couldn't get credit for the gamble, but I tried the non-contact gamble and made it. The contact gamble-well I chickened out and didn't even try it. I wanted the qualifying run, which we got. Touch-n-Go was nothing but contacts and tunnels. Well we made all the contacts and it was very good practice too. Everyone had the same course, but different times by level and jump height. The Tunnelers runs were nothing but tunnels and again the same course with different times for different levels. Great running exercise, mostly stretched out tunnels with some curves, the dogs could really go-go-go. Wow at the end of the day, I knew we both had had some exercise!
Final results: 7 first places, 2 second places, one qualifying gamble and and one non-qualifying 3rd place. Now if I have figured out the different requirements between NADAC and ASAC we actually earned a NADAC and an ASAC Novice title in Standard plus a ASAC Jumpers title too.

Link: NADAC: North American Dog Agility Council

Link: ASAC: Australian Shepherd Club of America

Diva doing the weave poles
Photo by Pinebreeze, graphics by Susy Harris: May 2005 AKC trial at 9 Mile, WA
August 20 and 21, 2005: We just finished two days of AKC agility trials (back to Excellent B <g> level) in Enumclaw, WA. What a nice and friendly group of people! The weather was clear. Nice and cool in the morning, but very hot by the afternoon. The club ran both rings at the same time on Sunday so we could get done earlier in the day and miss most of the heat. Plus we were able to get home by 7:00pm since it is about a 6 hour drive for us! Final result: 2 double Q's and a placement in each color: one first (blue), one second (red), one 3rd (yellow) and one 4th (white), plus a green qualifying ribbon for each. We now have enough speed points for MACH 2 so all we need is 3 more "perfect" days (3 double Q's).

September 6th, 2005: We are back from Argus Ranch in Auburn, WA after 4 days of trials. Each morning brought lots of wet grass and on Sunday a few showers. Monday morning brought fog that soon burned off to a beautiful day. During this fun 4 day trial 3 MACH's were earned, but alas not ours.

On the first day Diva was really excited and so was I. The end result was a jumped contract on the A frame and then she did an extra A-frame later on in the course. Even with the extra A-frame her time was very very fast. Much faster than any of the Q'ed dogs in our size. She was flying. Well there were still three more days to make our 3 double Q's.

On the second day my left knee and left calf strained while running the standard course which was the first course of the day. I limped and hopped through the course and we even achieved a 3rd place! However even after icing my leg when I got up to run the second course of the day, Jumpers, my leg was very stiff and painful. We were going really well through the course, flowing and smooth, but right at the end I needed a reversed pivot to pull to the correct end of a tunnel and I miscalculated and Diva started to poke her nose into the incorrect end. So no double Q and no more pressure for MACH 2 at this trial.

The next morning I got up and the knee was much better, but the back of my leg was sore, swollen and turning black and blue. I could go downstairs much better. I figured I might as well try to run, but I knew that I would not be able to do a front cross if the weight had to go on the left leg. Well I got lucky and was able to plan my courses with only right footed fronts or well timed rear crosses. We achieved our goal: another double Q! Plus we got a 1st and a 2nd place -wow. We were not trying for fast.

On the last day, Monday September 5th, my knee felt fairly stable, but the calf was really sore and swollen. I knew better than to try a front cross on the left leg and again planned for a "slow" easy on me run. Well our slow standard run turned out to be a 2nd place and our jumpers earned a 4th place. So even with my "war" injuries we did very nicely.

Our next trial was Oak Harbor, WA September 17 and 18. Well here it is, one more double Q needed for MACH 2. Oh to stay calm. We started our run nicely on the morning of the 17th, but somehow I ended up way too close to the teeter. I barely missed tripping over the teeter and we continued on to Q. Now I called my husband on the cell phone so he can come watch in case we double Q and go MACH. No answer! He is suppose to be at the hotel room awaiting my call. I walk the course and call again. Again it goes to voice mail. Well too late, it's time to run. We run the jumpers and it is a Double Q and MACH2! Yippee! But what happened to my hubby? I leave another message. Finally he calls me and asks if I have run or not! He never got a ring tone and didn't get the voice messages! He had put the phone in a speaker kit with Blue Tooth wireless connection and somehow it turned off the ringer! Well so much for seeing us make our MACH2. The next day went OK - we Q'ed on the first run, but on the second run Diva missed the tunnel entrance (I started to move just a hair before she committed and pulled her off). So no double Q.

We stayed the week in Monroe for the trial on the following weekend. I spent the week sleeping and resting my left leg and knee which were hurting quite a bit. The first run of the day was very challenging, plus there was a lot of fog and the grass was very wet and slippery. We got through all the technical parts of the course and I thought we did really well. Except I found out after the run that a bar came down after the teeter. It was just a little too slippery and I didn't give Diva enough of a V set to the jump (this is my guess) so her hind foot nicked the bar. No double Q's toward MACH 3 - yet. We did a very respectable jumpers run, but no placement. I just couldn't run fast, so I didn't push her. I wanted to complete the course with some flow. We did fine and we were 8 seconds under course time. Sunday we qualified in the standard run and earned a second place. Unfortunately the jumpers course didn't quite go as planned and we NQ'd. By the end of the day my cold that I had felt coming on the previous night, had bloomed. So home and to bed.

Oct 9, 2005: Home from 3 days in Helena, MT. A wonderful friendly group, the Helena Montana Kennel Club has put on another wonder trial. Indoors on really nicely packed dirt this was a small one ring trial with Carol Spoor as judge. I had never trialed under Ms. Spoor. Her courses had good challenges, but were do-able. It was really nice to have the trial indoors and out of the weather. The heat is gone, but the cold has not set in as yet. The dogs do best in this type of weather. We had a very successful trial with double Q's on all three days and to top that off 5 of the 6 runs we placed first and the one other run we received a 2nd place! Wow, I am really happy <g>. Next weekend, Boise, ID - stay tuned.

Oct14-16: 3 days in Boise, ID. We did very nicely coming home with 2 more double Q's, 2 first places, 2 second places and a third. Only 15 more double Q's and 153 more points to MACH 3 <g>.

Las Vegas Oct 28-30 was fun but somewhat disappointing. We had several 'unusual for us faults' at this trial. Some how, some way Diva stopped short before entering the teeter on one run and got a refusal and on a different run she popped back out the entrance of a u-tunnel. She got called for missing a down contact on the bridge on the final day, but I know in my heart I saw both front feet in the yellow, but what the judge calls is what you get and I must say there have been some calls that were probably generous so I really can't complain. On the upside we did have one double Q day and what a day it was! Both runs were first places! Yah-hoo! We also participated in the Clean Run 60 Weave Pole Challenge. Let me say that 60 poles is a long distance. I yelled and screamed the whole way and Diva made it! We didn't break any records, but at this challenge in our height category we were first. Some great Pappillons were the fastest overall. They were speedy and I was very impressed. It was a fun challenge and I am glad we got to do it.

14 more Double Q's and 97 points to MACH3.

Future trials: New Years I have already entered a 4 day trial in Pomona, CA. What a neat way to greet the new year-doing Dog Agility!