Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our First Rally Trial

It's been a whirlwind of a month and as I look at the calendar I can hardly believe I haven't updated in three weeks! A lot happened mid month then I was out of town missing my girl for a week. Now that I've been back home, more is bound to happen so it's time to catch up! First and foremost and as a follow-up to my last post, Vegas and I did go to Albany on Friday the 16th of July for our very first rally trial. Our friends Jennifer (with her Australian Shepherd, Clue) and her friend and breeder, Lisa (with her Aussie, Mardi) joined us for their first runs, too. It was a small class with just the three of us entered in Novice A.

We were good and early and got a parking spot in the shade, too, just in case I had to leave Vegas in the truck while I walked the course. Unfortunately the parking lot was a short trek from the ring and there were so few of us in rally that it wasn't possible to leave her and go back in time to get her. Jen was nice enough to ask another competitor if she could hold Vegas who then volunteered her husband.

Since we had extra time before Novice A and a certain four-legger had excess energy I desperately needed to harness, we took off wandering at the park. At the outskirts and sort of out of sight was a wonderful, overgrown area used for frizbee golf. It was perfect for our purposes - I wanted to let Vegas off leash and that is not allowed on the show grounds at AKC shows. Plus it served as a great area for me to enjoy nature and my girl in relative peace and quiet. Here are a few pictures I took on my BlackBerry.
Okay, so zoomies out, tongue hanging down a little, we headed back toward the ring. We still had a while to wait so we practiced some of our moves, healing, etc. Vegas had a bit of water and it was time to walk the course. As I said, a gentleman very kindly held the reigns on my big girl. She was fairly good and he was wise enough to stand in front of her to try to shield her from watching me and getting over excited and anxious. Here is what our course looked like:
Our judge was Carl Lentz who was absolutely perfect for our first time. He was kind, patient, and explanatory. I was extremely nervous going in, feeling like we had no chance. He said the biggest problem and what would be most likely to NQ someone would be too tight of a leash. I know I felt like my leash was too tight throughout, that I had to repeat myself too much, and that Vegas was looking around a lot. In reality, I talked to her a ton (which is good - a sign of teamwork!), kept a steady pace, didn't have to retry any exercises, and only struggled to smoothly complete one or two stations. All in all, we did much better than I thought and our friend, Andrea, said it always feels like you do worse than you actually do in rally.

In the end, I could hardly believe it when Vegas and I scored 97 out of 100 and earned our very first Rally Novice (RN) leg! Whoohoo! I was super excited and proud of her and am determined to enter her again when convenient so we can complete at least her RN title. We'll see where we go from there as time and life allows. But whew, step one done and it was a success! What a great feeling. Jen and Lisa did great, too, and I know Jen is inspired now to continue with rally with her Clue even beyond the RN.
 And here are the results on AKC's site - another title in progress for my baby girl.

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