Remember when I mentioned that yesterday I was missing a weave pole and was delayed for 30 minutes? Well, since the other judge was able to start before me (yeap, he had ALL of his weaves), I naturally blamed him for my delay and claimed he stole my weave : ) Of course he didn't, but it was fun to put him on the spot!
Any way, on Sunday, I had planned to 'relocate' one of his weaves. Of course he got to the show site early and planned to do the same with me
OK, on to the Excellent Standard course. If anyone is interested in the Open & Novice course, just let me know and I'll be happy to send them as the courses were well nested with flow.
This general design was a take-off from a previous course that I had created & run, but wasn't so thrilled with the middle section. Sometimes it's fun when you can take a course and improve on it - which is what this is.
As far as challenges, there were a few and handlers definitely had to work the last sequence.
The first challenge was subtle and came from the wings on the #2 jump. Those who hung close to their dogs as they took the short beginning tunnel and wanted to keep their dog on the right found themselves working hard to get around the wing and had to push their hard dog up the walk and off of the off-course jump.
The next challenge was the weave pole entry. While it was 18 feet from the dog walk, dogs who went charging toward often had trouble making the entry. I have to admit, this area wasn't meant to be a challenge so I was surprised.
The next surprise area was from the #9 jump to the a-frame. Handlers who over handled #9 and pulled the dog in hard after the jump incurred a refusal at the a-frame as dogs were certain they were supposed to head toward the exit side of the #7 tunnel. Looking at the map, I wouldn't have thought about this possibility, but there were about half a dozen dogs who worked hard for some creative tunnel entries.
I'd like to finish this note by sincerely thanking the club and the exhibitors for such a great time.
I had a chance to think about the thankless job agility/club volunteers do and I'm reminded that without them, agility trials wouldn't exist. I was lucky enough to have two wonderful volunteers drive me to/from the Pittsburgh, PA airport (1.5 hours from the trial site), others who ensured I had coffee, dinner, workers and a host of other items that really make a trip so much easier.
Exhibitors are also a major part of the weekend. When exhibitors are great, it really helps to make the event even more special. For example, this weekend after a lady earned a MACH and I was congratulating her she said "I'm so happy it happened under you" - oh my gosh, tears welled in my eyes. I mean if that isn't just the greatest compliment! Not only does it say that I'm forever a part of her dog memories, but that she thought enough of me to include her in that moment. That's a very, very special moment that I'll never forget.
If you have a compliment or kind word for your judge, don't hesitate to share! We do remember those moments and they do mean a lot to us!
Next week I'm in New Mexico for 3-days, so look for more courses after Thanksgiving. Speaking of Thanksgiving, have a great holiday everyone!