Friday, October 22, 2010

The Border Collie National Specialty (agility)

We just finished FOUR long days at Gray Summit (Purina Farms) at the Border Collie Specialty.

Tuesday we were fortunate to be part of a seminar with Ann Braue and we learned a lot. There were a lot of really good dogs in the class... I sort of felt like a C- student. But we got an A+ for paying attention and trying.

On Wednesday we came prepared and dressed for indoor agility, only to find out that the trial had been moved outdoors. Many of the exhibitors believed that the floor was too slick for their dogs, asked, and got permission from AKC to move the trial outside. I have mixed feelings about this... there has been plenty of discussion on the status of that floor since way before last date to withdraw, so people could have withdrawn.. or, they could have changed earlier and allowed people to enter that wanted to be outside. On the other hand, it would have been terrible to withdraw from your National Specialty and not be able to run. I do have to admit that some of the dogs running were extraordinarily fast and would have had trouble with traction unless they changed the way they run. In fact, there was some slip-sliding on the grass until the sun evaporated the dew. As it turns out, the weather was spectacular, and it would have been a crime against nature to be indoors the last three days, so running outside was wonderful. But some people thought that this was a training issue and that dogs, especially border collies, should be smart enough to adjust to the floor and the trial should not have been moved. I didn't really care, but I was getting pretty tired of the drama.

I did spend quite a bit of time talking to obedience, rally, and conformation exhibitors, all of whom had nothing but praise the facility, to include the flooring.

Okay, enough about the floor... hurray for sensible send bonuses in FAST!!! There were a substantial number of Qs on Wed and Fri (Thursday's was pretty difficult). But I did find out that FAST is a little different for a field of Border Collies. If you wanted to earn a ribbon, you had to do more that qualify, you had to max out the available points.... and whoever did that the fastest, gets the ribbons. That is different than a mixed-breed show where few (if any) people max out the points.

Overall we did quite well... two first place on Wed, one third on Thurs (our low spot of the week) and three second place runs on Friday (triple Q!) And the only handlers beating us were Ann Brau or Ann Zarr, (both world team members) so we cannot complain. One of my friends gave me some good advice about it too. "Maggie is a once-in-a-lifetime dog that will give her all for you. Enjoy her every time you trial and train and play." (good advice from a real pro)


  1. Personally, I was very happy it was moved outdoors (as were alot of others who were ready to get back in their cars and drive home). Yes, most BC's can learn to adjust to slick floors and yes there are some over the top BC's with no self preservation skills who don't adjust (maybe this is what is meant by training issue?). Either way, I want my dogs to be on a good surface that allows them dig without fear of slipping (I don't like running on ice either). There is no way the indoor floor would have allowed most of the BC's to run without a lot of slipping. I don't think the floor was even installed when I sent my entry in, so how could anyone have known what it was like?

    Sounds like your dog did great! Congrats on a job well done.

  2. I really can't blame anyone who did not want to run on the floor. But I do feel sorry for the local people who pulled out of the trial due to the floor, only to watch the trial move outdoors.
    But I am trying my best to be neutral...
    : )

  3. The weather was perfect, I agree. My only complaint would be the hassle of getting to and from other events since I was doing more than just agility. They need an outdoor field close to the event center! Congrats on your runs!