March 9th, 2008

bothonbale

A Gray, Cold, Windy, Sunny, Cloudy, Sunny Agility Trial near Charlotte, NC

This is one of my favorite AKC trials--no, it is my favorite AKC Trial. The club members are really nice and they have a nice trial site, very large with lots of room to run the dogs and close to a Starbucks and with indoor bathrooms. Also, and maybe the most important factor, they have the best food vendor bar none. He serves authentic Greek and Turkish food including real lamb, beef and chicken gyros, stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush, tabbouli, etc--even baklava and birds nests for dessert. Oh yum!

Good food is always a real treat but when it's served up hot at an agility trial, especially when it's gray and cold and windy, then it's more than a treat, it's a life saver. I should have taken some pictures of his spread, there's a line pretty much all day.

The weekend started out fairly cool, cloudy and windy and then got colder, cloudier and very windy. At one point a small Sheltie was blown sideways completely off the A-frame at the apex. Luckily she wasn't hurt but that's how strong the wind gusted. Sometimes it felt like you couldn't  stand up straight. Every so often the sun would peek out for about 30 seconds only to disappear again for 30 minutes.
Neither of my dogs seemed to mind the weather, though. In fact, most of the dogs seemed to find it quite invigorating and sometimes got a little wild out on course. Devon and Jaime were both in Open FAST and both in Exc JWW so there were almost no conflicts. Very nice not to be constantly wondering which ring you'd be running in first and which run you'd screw up because you didn't get a chance to walk it.

I was very pleased with how most of our runs went and I think I owe it all to Silvia Trkman. I felt very inspired by her philosophy that agility should be all about the joy of running as fast as you can with your dog. My style isn't exactly all about running fast but I did try to be where I could give my dogs the information about where the course went as soon as possible so that they could run as fast as they wanted. And both judges provided us with some nice flowing courses along with the chance to fashion a nice flow for our dogs on their FAST courses.

Both Jaime and Devon won a couple of classes each and seemed to appreciate the roast chicken, cheddar cheese and sirloin steak that I used to reward their efforts. I tried to view everything as much from their perspective as I could and make sure that they had as good a time as possible, including some quality time chasing each other in the field and sniffing all the places where the other dogs had peed.

I'll just upload all the video in one lump and refrain from a play by play of what went right and what went wrong. I will definitely try to hang on to this enlightened frame of mind for future trials, it's far more enjoyable for us all. 


3/17/08

I didn't realize I had posted this entry as private so I'm making it public now.