This weekend I volunteered with the local dog club to work their summer agility trial. I was the scorekeeper -- responsible for entering in all of the scores and times and preparing the paperwork for the judge and AKC. It was pretty cool. I got to be in the coveted RV -- with air conditioning and satellite TV. No one gets to come inside the RV unless they are a member of the trial committee.
I learned a lot about scoring the runs and rules for agility trials. It was a great learning experience. I would have liked to have been able to watch more of the runs. I got to see about the first 4 or 5 dogs of each class before I had to run back to the RV to start entering their scores. Now that I know more about agility and am handling a dog in agility watching the runs is a great teacher. It is interesting how people walk through the course before the runs begin. What are they focusing on? They look like idiots waving their arms, turning in circles, talking to an invisible dog. However, these are important planning and visualization moments, and the people who do this well are usually the ones that get the Qs. Well, it really depends on whether your dog feels like going through the course that day or not....
All in all, it made me excited about the idea of one day competing with Fred. We of course have to wait for a CPE trial to be offered in our area (becuase I am not traveling great distances for this). We are supposed to have a CPE match in January and our first CPE trial at the club a few months after that. That's a great target time for me and Fred. Most of the trials in our area are AKC, and my poor mixed breed dogs are excluded from such events. I think they are afraid the mutts will crush the expensive purebreds and all those people will stop buying from breeders and get their competition dogs from the Humane Society. What a tragedy that would be to find fun homes for the millions of homeless pets.
I did leave the trials feeling more confident that Fred and I have potential. We couldn't have any worse of a run than some of the people at this trial. There were quite a few dogs running out of the ring, ignoring the handler, hamming up to the crowd, etc. However, I am confident that if Fred did get distracted that I would be able to get him back to me and we could finish the course. It just may be a while before we move out of Novice A.
I have always said that the horses are my real priority. I do the agility and obedience with Fred because I love working with him. But I do it for fun only. I ride the horses for fun, too, but I have bigger goals of competition with them, especially with Zoe. So my money and my time (but especially my money) go to the horses. Heck, if I could, I would quit my job (assuming independent wealth) and devote my full time to training horses and dogs. That would be the perfect life for me.
And maybe I'd have to move to a place that has a little less humidity in July. Nah, I think I'd miss the cornfields.
Monday, July 25, 2005
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