Friday, August 13, 2010

Spruce Meadows Part One

We got to Spruce Meadows about 5pm on Thursday, after losing an hour with the time change.  All the RV's were parked in a big grassy field not too far away from the competition rings.  I didn't think to take a picture until half the rv's had pulled out on Monday morning.  That's our little truck and trailer on the very right.

Friday was an easy day for us.  I had only entered Jake in the 'warm up games' which basically meant I had paid $5 each to take him in the ring twice, where there was a full set of equipment and we had 2 minutes each time to do whatever we liked.  So I did a bit of a course and ran him over the dog walk and teeter a few times, with no problems.  Yay, so far so good!  This was equipment from the same manufacturer that had supplied the equipment for Regionals.

Saturday was when the real Nationals competitions began.

So bright and early on Saturday morning, the rings were open from 6:15 to 7:15am for us to walk the three courses.  Standard, Gamblers and Jumpers.  They were late getting started, which worked well for me, as I didn't get there at 6:15, thinking I didn't need an hour anyway.  I had taken the dogs out for a quick pee, and then left them with Larry who wasn't up yet.  I said I'd be back to have a bit of breakfast before I went in my class.  So I walked the courses, then discovered that Jake was put in the wrong height group, and went and got that sorted out.  That was when I realized that Jake was in the first group to run, and he was the 9th dog in. Then it was just about time for the general briefing, and then straight to the ring we were running in first.  There we had a 5 min. walk through of that course, and since there were so many dogs, the Specials dog's handlers walked first, and then we were supposed to get our dogs while the Veteran's dog's handlers walked the course. 
So much for getting back for some breakfast before our first run.  Well at least Jake had had his.

I set off running back to the RV lot, taking the path from the ring to the left.  Got to the trailer and the door was locked.  No sign of Larry or the dogs.  I thought that either he was out walking them or had taken them to the shade tent area, so ran down the RV parking and along the fence to the off leash and then back to the ring.  By this time I am starting to panic.  Told the gate steward who is a member of the same club as me (loads of people drove long distances just to volunteer) that I couldn't find my dog.  Then got to thinking that maybe Larry had fallen back asleep, and I had inadvertantly locked the door, and that they were all in the trailer.  I had only turned the handle, and not knocked.  So I set off running again.  Just to clarify, I am NOT a runner.  I suppose I'm in better shape than some, but I have never liked running or jogging as a form of exercise, and here I was running as best I could in a panic.  Back to the trailer I went, and I banged and rattled the door, and nothing!  Back down the RV lot, trying to see if Larry was beyond the cars in the competitor parking, ran back past the off leash as it was behind a tall, hard to see through, fence.  Still no Larry or dogs.  Back to the ring I went, puffing and panting and sweating buckets.  I figured by this time they would have already got to my position in the lineup, and since I wasn't there, I would be out of luck.  Thankfully there was some kind of holdup, and they hadn't started yet.  I am frantically scanning around trying to spot Larry, feeling sick by this point.  I had basically given up, thinking I was just going to have to take a big fat zero for the first run.  So I decided that I might as well just go back to the trailer and wait, so I set off running again.  This time as I got out into the RV field I could see dogs by the trailer, and Larry met me at the door and said 'Christine's got him'.  Fellow club member Christine, since she wasn't running until much later, had joined the hunt.  She got to the trailer just after Larry had returned, and had run back with Jake.  So I set off again, sobbing as I ran this time, and met them at the ring.  Then I collapsed on the grass:( 
No time for much recovery though, there was one more dog to go in before Jake, and since it was Jumpers, they are usually only around 30 seconds per run.  Everyone is telling me to take a deep breath.  I take my time getting into the ring, trying to even remember the darn course.  Anyway, we run it, Jake takes a wrong tunnel entry, a simple thing that shouldn't have happened, but my exhausted body was probably facing in that direction.  So we came out of that run with 20 faults, and 55 points.  Certainly better than zero.
I got over it pretty quick, really, an agility competition is pretty small potatoes in the bigger scheme of things, but I told Larry I was going to milk the story for all the entertainment value I could, so he'd better get used to hearing it!  He said he was wondering what was taking me so long to get back, so thought he had better take the dogs for a poop stroll, and was off on the other side of the competitor parking, probably hidden behind the trees.  Anyway, we did get it sorted out how things were going to work for Sunday morning:)
Oh yeah, I paced the distance from the trailer to the ring, and it was pretty close to 1/4 mile.  So with the detours to the offleash area, I figured I had covered getting close to 2 miles on the three rounds.

Amazing what you can do when you have to!
I was pretty stiff the next day though.
The next class was Gamblers.  Hard to get a lot of points in the opening, and the closing was hard too, which we did not get.  Not that Jake wasn't capable of getting it another time.... Well I did say I was going to Calgary to have some fun.  Generally, what you get out of something is related to the effort you put into it, and I certainly haven't put effort into any agility training lately.  Does it sound like I'm making excuses, well yeah, probably...
Certainly see a ton of things to work on when I watch this.  He wasn't going to do that teeter without me there holding his hand, I mean paw...

The Standard run didn't go any better.  TWO! off courses:(  The first one was my fault.  Forgot to make sure he didn't get sucked into that tunnel, and then not sure what happened when he decided to duck behind me and hit the a-frame instead of going into the weaves.  Susan Garrett et al would be horrified at him ignoring the reinforcement plane and him going behind me like that.  Probably having taught him a 'behind' command comes back to bite ME in the behind sometimes.  Speaking of Susan Garrett, wow, loved seeing her and her dogs run in person.  Talk about fast, and accurate.

Well I'm having trouble finding that Standard run.  I can never remember the steps I have to take to get my videos in a format that I can upload to Youtube, so I do a lot of trial and error and somewhere I have lost that video.  Well I 'moved' it, and now I can't find it!  So maybe later I will post it, not that you are missing anything anyway.

Hornblower, you would have loved it at the Nationals!  Well not sure if that dog/handler connection after their run was any more obvious, but the spectators got to sit close to the action!  They were on a small hill, with benches, and in the shade and there was a great person on the PA system giving lots of information as to what was happening in the rings in front of them, and explaining how the different runs were run and judged.  This is the only picture I have.  See that white fence on the right, the spectators were between that and the white building, in the shade.  The three regular rings were about 10 feet on this side of that fence.  It was great!
Those were our chairs in that nice shady spot at the front of the photo.

Behind those trees in the center of the photo above was a big open courtyard area.  Those that wanted to were able to kennel their dogs in a couple of the huge green and white roofed horse barns.  We were in a shade tent, which Christine and Kozmo (resting up for their next run) kindly chose to share with us.

 Out in that courtyard was a really great fountain, that we were allowed to cool our dogs off in.  Luna wasn't too sure about it.  I have just noticed the W on the side of the wall, which was the west side, so I'm guessing  the four points of the compass were on the wall of the pool.

There was a long row of horse wash stalls, and Luna much preferred to cool off with the hose!

Saturday night we gathered with fellow clubbers and had a barbeque.  Great times!
It gets cold in Calgary in the evening, and then it was off to bed so that we could get up at the crack of dawn again.  The first day was a bit disappointing, well the points I had managed to salvage so far, so was hoping for a better day on Sunday. 


  1. OMG - I totally envy your coolness under pressure b/e I'm sorry, but I would have murdered your dh. Actually, first I would have tied a leash to him & made him run the course on all fours & then I would have murdered him. LOL

    Oh well, don't sweat the small stuff & it's all small stuff but good grief -- if ever a situation called for men to have GPS installed on their foreheads (that we could BUZZ remotely would be ideal) that was one.

    The spectator set-up sounds great! WERE there lots of spectators?

    Can't wait for the next installment. :-)

  2. Now THAT would have been something worth videoing!
    Well I can't say that I wasn't really PO for a little bit, but figured, hey, we are on holiday and I don't want to be on holiday with someone I feel like killing, so just get over it and move on!
    Funny though, Larry had mentioned that maybe we should take a set of walkie talkies with us to Calgary, and then we did nothing about it. Sure would have been handy in that situation, and I did see another woman talking to her hubby on one:)

    There weren't loads of spectators, but that area at times was pretty full. Of course some of them could have been other competitors, as it was the ideal place to watch those three rings, and we sat up there on Friday ourselves.

  3. Jake really loves that, doesn't he? I don't know much about agility but it didn't look so bad.

    Those pens you have the gogs in, do they not jump out. Sheila would, and Ben would try. Are they trained to stay in?

  4. Looks like a load of fun!

    Wishin you more fun and points on Sunday,

  5. Hi Ruth,
    Yes, the dogs are trained to stay in. Well, Calli couldn't get out even if she wanted to. Jake never tried to get out. He is such a 'good' dog, many times he just seems to know the right thing to do. I could probably have just left him in that shade tent with his leash clipped on, and he would have stayed there. Well, unless someone tempted him with a ball I guess. I have never really worked hard at training a good 'stay', I just started using it, and they seem to know, well especially Jake. Luna is not as good, but is a lot better than a lot of dogs I know. She would be the dog to get out of the x-pen if she wanted, and usually she gets upset if Jake leaves and she doesn't get to go, but this past weekend she seemed to be getting used to the idea, and sometimes didn't even get up when I took Jake out. Some people have a top on their pen, but not many. They also come in different heights, from 2' to 4'. I think ours is 3'. They are great, and fold up up to make a 2' wide by whatever the height is, bundle. There are 8 - 2' panels, so you can configure it into all sorts of shapes. We used it down the side of our trailer to make a 4' x 8' pen.

  6. Great video..I would say the Jake moves pretty good and so do is all about the experience anyway! I enjoyed his slink down the ramps being sure to touch the yellow, he watches you very nicely on the ramps. I have not tried any agility with Chance..he just likes to play ball:)

  7. Jake probably like agility because it leads to a game of 'fetch':)

  8. Wow what a blast! Glad o see there is a human in jail too.BOL
    Benny & Lily

  9. That video made us smile from ear to ear!

    We never knew there was a thing called a horse wash stall! Do the horses like it?

    Emma Rose and the Duchess


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