Dog Agility, Mud and the King of Rock and Roll

Posted on 10/12/09 18 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians!  Well, the trial in Memphis was a success but a very wet, muddy and a bit cold one (the weather, not the people). The people in Memphis were very hospitable, Lynda and I had a lot of fun and met a lot of new friends. Sadly for Lynda she didn’t get to go down Beale Street or go to Elvis Presley’s Graceland (I think she was secretly relieved about that one:)).

I was happy Lynda was willing to join me for the 15+ hour drive down south. The reason I decided to go was I felt Encore, Feature and I needed some course running before USDAA Nationals in November. Yes there were trials closer, up here in Canada, but with a 5’6″ A Frame and my girls really needed some courses with the USDAA height of 5’9″.  Plus neither my dogs nor I (possibly a connection there) ever seem to get too “high” at a local weekend trial.  

Last year I didn’t get to a trial between FCI Worlds in September and USDAA Nationals more than a month later. I think it showed in my execution as a handler and in Encore’s franticness (I think she was a bit high, particularly at the start of the weekend). I am hoping to get to one more trial before we head down to Scottsdale at the end of this month. 

In addition, with me preparing Encore for worlds, Feature hasn’t gotten the attention a 2 year old dog should likely be getting so it was nice to get her into a trial and see how our teamwork would hold up.. She listened very well, although there are still a few skills we need to clean up.

Both Lynda and I met our goals of going to Memphis, in that we both wanted to get our youngsters out of Advanced and playing with the big kids in Masters. Encore won the Grand Prix (Feature was a bit naughty in that class so didn’t qualify). So overall a good weekend. The weather was very rainy the first day which made for a lot of mud the next two days. Here are a few of our runs, notice I am not running very hard as my back and my legs don’t seem to get along when the weather is so cold & wet and the ground so boggy (lots of mud!).  

It is times like these where that independent obstacle performance really comes in handy for me as a handler!  Who says you have to be lightning fast to have success in the Greg Derrett system? I barely broke out of a walk in some of my runs. As a matter of fact to quote  the 6’6″ parking lot attendant, (the one missing his two front teeth) said as we were making our way to the car on Saturday night, he told me he has watched two of my runs with Encore and his unsolicited observations were “. . .dat dawg. . .  dat dawg he way do fast fer you, way do fast, fer you!”  I guess it is a good thing the handler AND the dog do not have to cross the finish line at the same time in order to be competitive in agility!

Another comment I received was from very lovely older woman who was just a spectator at the fall fair where the trial was being held, she approached me on on Saturday weeping, she wanted to tell me my run with Feature was one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen and wondered if anyone else had cried while watching my runs in the past. She was a very dear and made me feel grateful to be part of this sport.

Today I am grateful for our safe, uneventful (except for one alleged speeding ticket that SOMEBODY might have received coming home:)) weekend trip to Memphis, Tennessee.


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  2. Laura says:
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:29pm

    This was our first time competing at a trial, and we were both amazed at your runs. I think my husband has told everyone about your runs. I was just happy my mixed breed golden stayed with me and didn’t visit with the judge all three runs we did 🙂 Good luck at nationals!


  3. Nath says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 8:55pm

    Hi Susan,

    It’s a little bit hard to see the angles from your video, but for Feature second standard run why didn’t you start DOL and lead out to the weaves?

    It looks like you had a lot of running to do to catch up with her at the end of the weaves.

    (Learning Mind Inquiring) Nath


  4. Melissa says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 10:55am

    Susan, it was an honor having you down our way, I hope you come back. While I didn’t get to see all your runs, I enjoyed the ones I did watch. I wanted to chat with you, but we were having a really bad weekend, and I wasn’t in a good frame of mind to socialize. 🙂 Come back next year!


  5. MJ says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 10:50am

    Why go so far 😉
    There was a great USDAA trial in New-Hampshire (BARK N-H), indoors, soccer surface, with great courses from Dave Hanson. Grand Prix and Steeplechase too… and beautiful sunny weather.

    Great runs! I just love to see Encore and Feature.


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 1:53pm

      I just love Memphis, plus I wanted to work the dogs on grass since that is what we will be on at Nationals plus I have been practicing indoors for Worlds for the last month. I thought going south would give us grass and warmth . . . well we got the grass anyway!


  6. Judith Batchelor says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:18am

    My sympathies on the speeding ticket – got my first last week my husband is calling me speedy….!!!

    I just love watching you and your dogs run\play together


  7. Sam says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:17am

    Am I going mad or was there a completely different post on here about an hour ago?????

    Great video! 15 hours drive to a show! and my family think I’m mad driving 4 🙂


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:48am

      LOL no you aren’t going mad, it will be back later tonight:). I am not the best at this scheduling thing!


  8. Trudie says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:17am

    Oops, I didn’t mean YOU were nonchalant, I meant, the person in a lavender shirt who walked in front of the camera as you were running with Encore..!
    In the first 2 videos, I loved watching the way the judge moved in close to check, before each dog got to the contact zone!


  9. Trudie says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:05am

    Hey, who was that person walking nonchalantly by as a World Champion took the course rockin’ and rollin’ at the speed of light ? !!

    I see you successfully reversed your training tip number 7, in “Say Yes Training Tips”, in other words, train like Mel and run like Hel !

    I’m curious to know how challenging you found the courses in Dirnborn compared to those in North America.


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:51am

      The courses in North America generally are not as challenging as the ones I see in Europe. There are more restrictions that different associations put on judges over here, plus I think some judges might be afraid of being run out of town on a rail if they did as many threadles and push throughs as we saw in Dornbirn. I loved the challenges though, they were fair, not stupid. Challenges everyone to dig deep and be at their best!


  10. Theresa Litourneau says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 2:38am

    Perfect music ! Great runs.
    I really love watching you and Encore. I’ve had tears in my eyes watching you two !!
    I am awed by the fact that you can be way across the field running in the opposite direction and encore continues to do weaves running in the opposite direction…. wow….. wow…. wow….
    speeding ticket ??? Go Girl, must’ve been the red hair !! :):)
    Best of everything at the Nationals.


  11. Beth says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 12:57am

    Those where some great runs!! Thanks for sharing……..did you color your hair darker or is it the video? LOL!


  12. Raegan says:
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 12:20am

    Those dogs should have gotten the speeding ticket, they’re so /fast/! What is it though they’re doing on the contacts? It looks like they’re sticking their noses in the mud.


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:31am

      Thanks Raegan, yes that is exactly what the girls have been trained to do, nose target at the end of the contact (except the A Frame) until they are released.


  13. Kim B. says:
    Monday, October 12, 2009 at 11:44pm

    I really enjoyed watching you this past weekend in person!! You made competing in muddy conditions look easy:) Good Luck @ Nationals!!!

    Kim Bosworth


  14. Lynda Orton-Hill says:
    Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:51pm

    LOL !!!


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