Thursday, February 10, 2011

In their own words: Haley and Willow

Note: This is a guest blogger post from one of my students (Haley) about their VERY FIRST agility trial. Before the big day I asked the three of them if they'd like to write a blog post about their experiences and their perspectives. This will be a three part series - one from each of my "kidz"- so without further adieu here's the first installment: Haley and Willow (worth noting - Miss Haley just turned thirteen - I think we might have a future novelist on our hands!)


"Do you know the butterfly feelings in the pit of your stomach? Most people say its from being nervous, some say its from pressure, but I digress. On the fateful January morning my “butterflies” were not from pressure, or nervousness, but from excitement. It was finally happening, we were finally going. I have to admit I had very high hopes for Willow and I. I wanted to get up there and wow the judges. Which was quite the opposite of what happened.

Friday, Mom pulled me out of math class for the drive down. Suitcases, bags, and a small cooler littered the backseat. Dog in tow we left. After a few stops and a couple hours on the road we arrived at the Red Roof Motel. That evening we met up with Erica, and Abby. Let me back up Erica is my trainer with two sweet golden retrievers and Abby is a fellow trainer with the cutest pug in the world, Tsunami. We have one other person in our class, Julie who was going to come down on Saturday with her big lovable black lab Duncan. 

We said goodnight and retired to our rooms. Excitement bubbled up in me again.

To be truthful that night was one of the worst night of my life. The walls were very thin so Willow was getting up ever so often to bark at the late night party people, and when she was settled she was a complete bed hog! Never the less we got up in the morning and continued our pursuit of a perfect trial.

Entering the building were the trial was taking place was an amazing feat itself, it was packed like bees in a hive. Navigation was nearly impossible. Our first step was to measure. This was Willow's first trial so we need a judges measurement to preform. Wilow hated the feel of something hitting her back so I thought this part would be an astronomical disaster, but it was the exact opposite. The judge was nice and Willow was calm, a first!

We had entered three sections, Novice Fast, Novice Standard, and Novice Jumpers. We had planned to do fast just as a warm up and weren't that worried about it. Fast was a pretty simple course, but it had it's kinks. 

We could do this no big deal. Boy was I wrong. First thing was to get Willow focused on me. She was very intent on the buffalo bits until it was almost our turn. Then when I tried to get her attention nothing. Uh oh. We started out got one, two jumps, then......... dang it lost her. She ran up the A-Frame, one wrong course, jumped on the judge, automatic fail. The whistle blew and we were off. One down three to go, our next step was standard.

Standard was around the same as fast, jumping on the judge, wrong courses, and of course losing focus. I think that was our major problem was me losing her focus.

Jumpers course was similar, but better. We started out good and then I lost her again, but the great part was I got her back and finished with a flash!

In the end it was a successful I found out what makes her tick, had a good time, and most of all experience what it was to compete in a official trial for the first time and in the end it didn't really matter what the scores were, but that it was the experience and the excitement of it all that really stuck with me. I guess butterflies aren't always what they seem."

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