First, it was strange not leaving until later in the morning. There have been a lot of complaints lately from some competitors about how long they have to be at the trial site or how late in the day they run. Some clubs have started shaking things up a bit and, in retrospect on this one, wow what a mistake. Today they ran Novice classes first in both rings followed up by Open and Excellent rounding out the day. Although today was Tall to Small, it still didn't meant an early day or a short one. We arrived and still had about an hour and a half or two to wait before we even walked Standard. Here is the course:
We had some time then while they finished novice, set open, walked and ran open, then set excellent JWW. The dogs and I had a chance to get out and walk for a few minutes, chat with some friends, and I got a bite to eat for lunch.
Then it was time for JWW judged by Gillian Crawford. When looking at the course, most of us were under the impression #16 was a back jump similar to what is seen in international courses. Luckily we learned that was incorrect and the jump was taken from the same direction as #15. It was still an ugly course and I saw that with absolutely no compunction - even highly seasoned competitors were fretting over it. Let me just say this: I have no problem whatsoever with a challenge. The excellent level should have challenges, but every single obstacle should not be a battle to complete successfully nor should there be so many pitfalls that handling them risk your dog's body. I have to say that there were more people in the stands watching during this class than I've seen in a very long time. And most of them were shaking their heads. The 26" class had a terrible time and there weren't many Qs that I saw. More starting running clean in the 24" class before our turn and I can't decide if that was good or bad. It kind of reaffirms the approval of that kind of course and I would hate that to start being more common or become the standard. So here it is:
I think the part I hated the most is the two tunnels at the end. One, okay. But the same one back to back at the end of the course. Aye yai yai. All there is left to say is..... Vegas qualified!!!!! 166 yards, SCT of 47, our time: 45.79. We even earned another MACH point for the day! I could not be happier with my girl. She ran her heart out. She handled like a dream. She is one hell of a first agility dog and I am quite simply humbled by what she does for me. And I thank God every run for how much she enjoys it because without that joy we wouldn't find such success and I couldn't be nearly as happy if she wasn't smiling off the course like she does on. What a day!