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Adventures on the Ranch
Our First Agility Trial
-----I took Tess and Rhett to our first agility trial yesterday and it was awesome!! It was actually a schooling trial - so there were no awards or points given - but tons of valuable experience for both of them, and lots of fun for all of us.
-----Friday evening my mom and I were getting the finishing things ready for the trial - leads, water bowls, balls and treats, camera, etc. It was about 45 degrees and not a cloud in the sky so it looked like Saturday would be excellent trial weather. WRONG! We woke up at 5:30AM so we would have enough time to take care of all the dogs and horses and still be able to get to the trial early. It started at 9 - so we wanted to be there about 8:30. As soon as I got up I looked out the window and saw some snow - but it was hard to tell how much. So I went into the big room and opened the door that goes outside - and yes we did have snow. About 1 1/2 feet and still coming down ! Great.
-----We took care of the dogs and then I had to plow the road so we could even get out. It was a typical very wet and heavy spring snow, and to ad to that the ground didn't really freeze yet and it was still muddy under the snow. Plowing in those conditions is very tricky - to get the plow level just right to get enough snow off - but not take to much dirt with it. Very tricky. But we got it done and then stopped at the arena and took care of the horses. We finally got everything done and loaded the dogs up at 7:45, and arrived at the trial grounds at 8:45.
-----I found a good parking place and we headed right into the building - got in line and bought our "run" tickets. Tess and Rhett immediately starting gaining lots of attention and people were coming up to pat them and tell us how beautiful they are! No matter where I take them they get that kind of attention - which is always fun!
----- I was a bit nervous as to how the dogs would do because they didn't really have very much agility training time. I had been working them at home - as you read in one of the last adventures - on homemade equipment and jumps. The real equipment was supposed to arrive about a week before the trial but was delayed and arrived only 2 days before! Because it had to be delivered on a semi - and the 9 boxes weighed about 1400 pounds I had to go into Helena first thing Thursday morning with the horse trailer to pick them up, since semis can't make it up our road. As soon as I got home we started putting everything together - I was amazed it only took my mom and I about 3 hours to get it all done - and we had never seen real equipment - much less put it together! Anyway, as soon as it was together I got Tess and started working her on it. The jumps were no big deal for her at all - she just sailed right over. The teeter-totter wasn't a big deal either - and neither was the A frame. The dog walk however, was a different story. It is only 12 inches wide - 12 feet long and 4 feet HIGH! Tess thought I was crazy and the first time she went across my mom was on one side and I was on the other so that she wouldn't get hurt. She was very scared but did go across, with a little help from us. As soon as she got off the far end we really praised her and got her all excited. Tess is the kind of dog that will do just about anything for real excited praise! I took her back and started her up the dog walk again - this time she was less scared - but still thought I was crazy! She made it across much better this time and again we were her personal cheerleaders. I did some jumps and other things with her for a little while and then told her "Walk" and she immediately headed to and up and over the dog walk! Not bad for her 3rd time!
==I stopped for the day and worked her two real short sessions on Friday and she was doing very well. I was still a bit nervous about the trial though because she didn't have very much conditioning time - and doing these scary things at home is one thing - but would she do them in a strange environment with strange dogs and people around. We would see!
-----Ok, so back at the trial on Saturday morning - we just bought our run tickets. They started pretty close to 9:00 but all the small dogs went first. They started at 4 inches, then 8, 12, 16 and 20. I put both Tess and Rhett in the 24 inch jumps - so I had a little bit of time to warm both of them up and for me to learn the pattern before it was our time to go. I did Rhett first and he did really well. He did all the jumps, chute, and the A frame. I had never worked either of them on a tunnel though because mine was really delayed and still isn't here - so that is the only thing I couldn't work with them on at home. The first time Rhett refused the tunnel - it was in an S shape so he couldn't see the other end. Since is was only a schooling trial they straightened the tunnel out for me, I sent him through and my mom called him on the other end. He came bounding through! So we put it back in the S form and I sent him again and he did it! After that he never once backed off the tunnels and over the course of the day and 5 runs/patterns he must have done about 20 tunnels in about every shape and tunnel color you could imagine. The same thing happened with Tess - first time she said no way - but after that she did the same thing as Rhett. I was so proud of them. And everything I did practice at home - including the teeter-totter they never once backed off of. The only thing they didn't have there at the trial was a dog walk. The dogs just did everything, like pros except they had only been worked for 2 days on this stuff. It was a very long but fun day for both the dogs and me!
-----Enjoy the photos of our "First Agility Trial".
-------Till Next Time,
----- Leah and Everyone at Omega Shepherds
" Leah and Tess waiting their turn "
"Tire Jump" ----
---------------------------"S shapped Tunnel"
"Waiting on the table for the 5 second count"-------------------" Weave Poles"
-"Coming out of the chute"

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