November and December were busy months, especially for Rye! We had five weekends in a row where she had some sort of activity on our social calendar.
My favorite moment was our adoption weekend agility trial. We usually don't do three days of agility, but I figured there was no better way to celebrate two years together than with a full weekend of Rye's favorite thing. I'd ordered a couple new rescue agility shirts for the weekend and saved my "There's No Q Like a Res-Q" shirt for our actual adoption anniversary.
That Friday, we only ran one course--the FAST course--because they were only offering Excellent/Master classes for everything else and we were only in Excellent for Standard. Doing FAST seemed like a fun warm up for the weekend even though we NQ'd. On Saturday, we were entered in Standard and Jumpers and we had some fabulous runs, but NQ'd on both courses. We got to take some fun pictures with the Christmas decorations they were putting up during the trial.
And on Sunday, our adoptionversary, we got the Q we needed in Jumpers to get our Open title and move up to Excellent Jumpers.
|We had to make sure that Rye's BFF the cat was in the picture.|
The next weekend, we were entered in one day of a Barn Hunt trial. It was our first Barn Hunt trial. I went into the trial feeling pretty confident. We'd done a run-thru the Monday before and Rye was on fire. We'd done three runs and in the last one, she'd found the rat, done her climb, and gone through the tunnel in 25 seconds. We started with the Instinct course where they have three tubes in this tray; one is empty, one has litter, and one has a rat and the dog has to identify the rat tube. We hadn't done much training with instinct in the past, and I think Rye was just confused. She kept wanting to search in the hay instead of paying any attention to the tubes, so I called "Rat" on the only tube she really paid attention to and it wasn't right. We also NQ'd on our first round of Novice because we just ran out of time. She was one bale away from the tube, so if we'd had another 10 seconds, she would have found it. In our second Novice run, she climbed, tunneled, and alerted on the rat in 1 minute and 9 seconds, which was fast enough to earn 4th place.
We were back on the agility course the next weekend. Rye had some really nice runs and we walked away with our first Excellent Jumpers Q. (We moved up to Excellent on the Standard courses in late October and we're still waiting on our first Excellent Standard Q!) There was a professional photographer from Columbus Sports Photography Network at the trial and we were able to purchase some photos from him. I was torn between purchasing the really good photos and the ones that made me laugh really hard, so I decided not to choose.
|Rye does NOT like stopping on the table and she's very vocal about it.|
We followed that weekend with another weekend of agility with one day of birthday fun for Barley in between. We had some good standard runs, but still NQ'd on both courses. On Friday, we got our second Excellent Jumpers Q.
On Sunday, we started with FAST. There are only really three ways to NQ in a FAST course: fail to get the send bonus, fail to get enough points, or start with the finish jump. We needed 2 more Qs to move up to Excellent Fast and we'd been struggling to get them because we kept getting sends with an A-Frame in them and Rye has been inconsistent in getting her contacts, especially when I'm far away from her. We finally got a jump-tunnel send and I was confident in my plan for getting it. I set Rye up for the first jump and she went rogue and took the finish jump first. I think we had the shortest FAST run of the weekend. We ended up getting our third Excellent Jumpers Q and now we're competing at the Master level. Our third Q wasn't exactly pretty--and I definitely squealed a couple times when Rye thought about off course obstacles--but it was effective!
It took us 5 1/2 months to move up from Open to Excellent and two weekends to move up from Excellent to Master! To get our next title, the Master Excellent Jumpers title, we'll need 10 Qs--but the Master level courses are exactly the same courses that we've been running for Excellent, so I'm really excited to see how this goes. We'll also be collecting points towards our Master Agility Champion (MACH) title, which needs 750 points and 20 Double Q's (or qualifying scores on Jumpers and Standard courses on the same day). You get 1 point for each full second under standard course time. We won't be able to collect any QQ's until we move up to Master for Standard, too, though. It's crazy to me how fast this little girl has caught on to this sport. We really feel like a team now and I'm having so much fun with her (although I still love the zen of running with Barley).
Our fifth weekend of sports was a weekend of AKC Scent Trials for both dogs. We took a nice two week break to relax and enjoy time with family, but we're looking forward to a full calendar for the next few months. We've only got one free weekend between now and the end of March and we wouldn't want it any other way.