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Adventures on the Ranch
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NADAC Championships !
.....I got into
agility 2 years ago and have become hopelessly addicted to it! There really
isn't anything that compares to it in my mind. You get a bond with your
dog that is beyond anything else I have done with dogs. You go out there
as a team and both work to do your best. Sometimes it comes together
great sometimes not. But all in all your a team.
When I got into agility I hoped someday to make it to Nationals (or Championships).
Little did I know only 2 years later with my first real competition
dog I would make it there.
The end of November 2006 I entered my first NADAC Trial ( I had been competing
AKC prior to that). I had to start at Novice since it was a new association
even though Rhett was in excellent in AKC. I loved the new association
and decided to push and try to qualify both Rhett and Zeus for NADAC's
Championships in 2007 since they would be in Gillette, WY and I could drive
to them. (for more on qualifying read previous article Agility Championships
Here We Come)
September 17 came and it was time to leave! The competition didn't start
till September 19 but I wanted to have a day in between to just relax.
Traci who is one of my best agility friends and traveling buddies
went with me. She runs Molli a 16 inch Border Collie. We loaded
the last minute things early in the morning and were off. It should be
about a 9 hour drive with the trailer. We arrived in Gillette about 7 PM.
Got our assigned parking spot, settled in a little bit and went to get
something to eat. We came back finished setting up the trailer and
x pens for the dogs, etc. And then it was bed time!
day Traci wanted to climb Devils Tower so about 7:30 I dropped her
off at Enterprise and she drove down there. I came back to the trailer,
took the dogs for a walk and then made breakfast. I was sitting there listening
to the radio when I smelled something. UH OH! Rhett, Zeus and Molli would
never dream of going to the bathroom in the trailer..... but there in the
middle of the carpet was horrible diarrhea. I didn't have anything to really
clean it up or cut the smell other than soap because they never go inside.
Poor Rhett definitely had some intestinal upset and he felt so bad about
it. He had been pacing before that but we just came back from a walk so
I didn't even think about him having to go to the bathroom. Now he was
in the bedroom just laying there looking very sad. It was raining and very
cold outside but the smell in the trailer was awful ! So I found
fans and faced them to blow air out of the window on one side and fresh
air in on the other. It helped sort of! I kept them going for the
day and by the time Traci returned it wasn't to bad anymore. I was very
worried about Rhett though because what caused that. It wasn't stress
he is SOOO used to traveling after this summer he spent as much time on
the road as at home. It wasn't water because he was drinking home water.
But I knew if it didn't clear up there was no way he could run like that.
Luckily it did clear up and by evening that day he was fine and never had
a bout of trouble the rest of the trial. I still don't know what caused
it unless he picked something up and ate it the night before that I didn't
see because we took them for a walk in the dark.
Come Noon they opened up the crating area for us so I got our crates set
up, they also had a meeting and general briefing that I attended.
.....I was surprised
that even though this event was HUGE there were so many people I knew from
trials over the summer. Before arriving there I figured I wouldn't know
many people. But there were so many people I knew that I spent most of
the rest of the afternoon talking and hanging out with them which was a
we had to be at the arena about 6:30 for the morning briefing. So I was
over there at about 6:15. Everyone was lined up in the crating area waiting
for the main arena to open. Finally, they opened the door to the arena
and everyone piled in and found a seat in the grand stands. It was amazing
to see such a HUGE arena, set up with 2 rings and all these little stations
that they send you through prior to competing. When they are about 5 dogs
out they call your name and you go to station 1, and then they have
people at each station moving you through. It's actually a very good system
and keeps everyone moving along and the event going as quickly as possible.
This was the longest meeting of the event, obviously, to get everyone lined
out. They sang the National Anthem and a dog agility song. The atmosphere
was amazing huge scary and super exciting all at once.
was the first class of the day but it would be a little while till
I ran because they didn't start with my dogs jump height. Finally, they
called my name over the loud speakers to head to station 1
with Rhett and off I went, through the stations Rhett seemed pretty
excited. I am sure he was picking up on my nerves. He took the first line
of jumps awesome and then he did something Rhett has never done before
he got the zoomies! He started taking jumps around the whole edge
of the ring, making up his own course and not paying any attention to me!!
After a little bit he came back to me and I got him to finish the course.
I knew he was just picking up on my nervousness and so I figured I might
as well use my time out there to see the arena and wear us both down a
bit! Luckily that was the worst class of the whole event and he
just got better and better every time we went out. Zeus was next, he had
a decent run and definitely stayed with me better than Rhett ! Zeus doesn't
get bothered so much by my nerves he is pretty much always there
to have a good time!
a very nice run in Weavers and Touch N Go but didn't qualify, and ran an
outstanding run in Tunnelers and Qualified first qualified run of
the Championships for us!! Today Zeus also ran in Tunnelers but ran in
an extra tunnel and didn't qualify. It was a long day but a very successful
first day! The classes were so huge on several of them we had to walk the
course but wouldn't run it for about 4 hours! Which means we had to remember
the courses for a long time ! Plus they were a little longer than your
average weekend course. We didn't get back to the trailer till about 10:00.
Fed the dogs, ate dinner and went to sleep !
Thursday started when the alarm went off at 5:30. I put the boys
out to do their business in the x-pen outside the trailer and ate breakfast
and got dressed.
.....We ran the
same classes as yesterday, Rhett had beautiful runs in Weavers and Tunnelers
and qualified in both of them! He had a great run in Touch N Go but missed
one contact (out of about 4 or 5) and didn't qualify because of that and
he had a very good run in Jumpers but didn't qualify. Zeus also did very
well and Qualified in Tunnelers !
the last day of games classes and tomorrow we started Regular.
At this point I didn't care what happened in Regular both dogs were
running great. They were getting Qualifying runs at a National Level !!!!
Against National Level Dogs, National Level Judges AND National Level courses.
We were fitting in and we were standing out in a good way anytime
you run German Shepherds against hundreds of Border Collies your going
to stand out! I was glad we stood out in a good way and they both looked
like they belonged at that level.
and Saturday were very long days each dog ran 2 courses of Regular.
Friday the course were much longer than a normal weekend and each course
was run separate. Saturday each course was about 22 obsticales BUT
we had the option to put it all together for one long run but it
was still scored separately (so they could get a Q on one course even if
they messed up the other one). I decided to put it all together for a course
that was 45 or 50 obsticales long..... but to me it was nice to get it
done. Once they were out on the course and had their heads focused it was
nice to just run! I knew both the dogs and I could handle the endurance
part of it but could my memory handle it! Especially having to remember
it for several hours first. We would find out!
It worked beautifully Rhett ran first and Qualified! I was very
out of breath when I finished the last jump but was so thrilled with Rhett.
He was awesome and he knew it he was just as excited as I was! I
only had about 10 minutes before Zeus was up just enough time to
catch my breath and warm him up but I was ready to do it again!
Zeus too had 2 awesome runs and qualified. I had so many compliments on
my runs and on my decision to put them together there was only 1
other person that ran in my class that did that. It was so much harder
to do it that way but so much more of a thrill as well!
.....I also entered
Team with Rhett. Traci and Molli and Lark and Derby were my
team mates. Both round 1 and 2 were put together and run all as one course
but scored separate. Rhett ran flawlessly on both rounds! Molli took one
extra tunnel in round 1 so we placed 9th in round 1. We won round 2! Round
3 was called batters up Traci had to bat a ball through a hole in
a board and take off running with Molli through an M shaped tunnelers course.
As soon as she was done Lark had to throw the ball through the same hole
to me I had to catch it and take off running with Rhett. I missed
the first ball because it landed just out of my reach (there is a line
you can't cross) but caught the second one. I was planning on keeping the
ball and running with it because I was afraid if I dropped the ball Rhett
would try to get the ball (he LOVES balls) and we would get disqualified.
Well, in the heat of the moment I forgot I was going to keep the ball and
tossed it to the side and took off running! Rhett did look at the ball
but decided the tunnels looked more fun and immediately took off with me.
He ran great. As soon as I got in the box Lark took off with
Derby ran a great course and we were done. We placed 2nd in round
3. And our team Zoom Zoom Zoom placed 2nd overall !
we had one more round of Regular. Rhett ran a great course and qualified.
Zeus ran an excellent run but took a few extra jumps at one point and so
we didn't qualify.
Sunday night there was a big awards ceremony. Then we got out professional
pictures taken, cleaned up our crates and got some stuff ready to leave
in tomorrow morning. By the time we got our crates in the trailer we still
had to eat dinner and it was close to 11:00. The weather for most of the
trial was pretty nice. We had one very bad thunder storm with extremely
strong winds. But Sunday night was windy and cold there was supposed
to be a storm moving in. So it was a good time to head home!
we finished loading up the trailer and I hooked up. We were headed home.
It was a week long journey. Such an incredible experience and I am so glad
I was able to go. There are no words to describe it really. It was just
amazing. There are no words to describe how proud of Rhett and Zeus I am.
They have both come so far in such a short time. They are both such
young dogs but have always stepped up and given their all. Even when I
ask the almost impossible of getting 250 points in 8 short months. They
never quit, they never burned out. Our first trials on this journey were
20 F below 0. Some of our last trials hit 100 F. They just kept going for
the best dogs!
...Leah and Everyone
at Omega Shepherds
Click Here to see a video of Zeus at Championships
(Video of Zeus coming soon!)
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