Yesterday I was jumping the ponies in the field but today I tried an alternative form of show jumping – I finally managed to take my dog to our first agility competition.
The show ground is a bit overwhelming at first – it seems to just be a sea of jumps and other obstacles and it is only when you get closer that you can pick out the different rings. They are separated by a single strand of string and as I have seen dogs in the past running amok, leaving their own ring and invading the others, I was more than a little nervous about our first runs. I was not at all confident that the dog would listen to me!
Our first two classes were on first thing so we arrived bright and early to walk and try to remember two courses at once. Luckily my years of showjumping stood me in good stead for that!
More importantly though, the dog stayed beautifully focussed on me and although we didn’t quite get clear rounds (we had trouble with the weaves in both classes) we got round with very little trouble. I could not have been more pleased with her.
The scoring system was amazing – as each dog finished, their score was immediately posted up on a tablet at the ringside. You could see exactly how you did and keep track as the rest of the competitors went as well. It was brilliant!
We had a long wait until our next class so we watched some of the other dogs running before heading back to the car for lunch. The dog was already very tired and couldn’t really keep her eyes open but every time a dog barked – which was often – she would jerk back awake again. Poor dog. At least she was resting.
Most of the rings had finished by the time we got to our last class so the show ground was getting quieter and less distracting. I thought we might be in trouble though when the dog before us ran off with someone else’s treat box. In fact my dog was right with me for most of the course – the only problem being the weaves (again – we need to work on those) when she decided she really had to stop for a scratch. We got a cricket score in time faults but again I was so incredibly proud of her.
Today went so much better than I thought it might and it has given me a lot of confidence for the next competition. Hopefully I’ll remember that when the time comes! The dog is currently fast asleep and looking like she might stay that way – these days are as hard work for her as they are for me! Definitely worth it though.