The United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) had this event last year in Ohio and for 2017 they expanded it to three (east, west, central). We had so much fun at the trial doing agility, watching agility, rally, swimming – we had to come back even though this year it was a bit further away.
We spent last weekend in Tennessee at an ag center building where the big USDAA end of the year event is held every other year. It’s an awesome facility! Lots of space! Air conditioning! Internet access (…I did not have any time to work!)! Nice footing! Organized host club!
The not so good parts: Stairs! The crating was at the upper levels as well as most of the bathrooms and the drinking fountains. I did find a first floor bathroom on day 3 and that was very exciting! There was very little natural shade around the building, parking was permitted under the nearby barns but from reading the confirmation letter I wasn’t sure where parking was allowed. We ended up paying to park in a covered area right up against the arena (my dogs typically crate out of the car vs indoors).
The event was definitely not the same as TitleMania last year. No rally, only agility. Hosted by a local club vs by USDAA (benefits of this: the club knew the location, had many local participants, club members were awesome at helping out, organizing, answering questions – overall this was a good change!). Overall awards were mostly done at the end of the last day vs some things happening on day 2 and 3 too. Results were not posted online until many days later. Fewer vendors. Less presence of USDAA.
Griffin and I didn’t have quite as spectacular of of a time as last year – but it was still a great experience and it’s really special to have a 9 year old dog who can do so many runs in a weekend – and get better each day. The first two days were a bit questionable – he was showing more interest in the bar setters than usual and had some weave pole problems – I couldn’t tell if it was the surface or if he was stepping on the base and slipping there. But he’s a durable dog and a few runs later was weaving as usual.
On the last day we had two clean runs in the Master Challengers class!! One was a second place and the other was over time. I was a bit surprised by that – but looking at his yards per second – he was going about 20% slower than usual by those last runs.
It’s so interesting to me that the MC classes were “easier” for us than the regular standard. We spend more time in training doing those “harder” things so that’s flipped around what we can and can’t do well.
We had lots of fun watching other teams – some very experienced and detail-oriented and others who are primarily focused on getting through without faults. Griffin and I are definitely more in the ‘detail-oriented’ end of things.
This sequence made me very happy –
He was so good! He knew exactly where to go! I was able to signal him in a timely way! However – I recognize we need to practice less of this and more of the things that are hard for us as a team.
If we’re lucky with his health, and/or if Tonks is ready, I hope we can attend next year. Even though it wasn’t quite as exciting as 2016, I recognize the challenges of creating new events ad we enjoyed the experiences.