Agility: Our 1st Outdoor Trial!

by Melissa R. on November 10, 2009

Mocca is ready for some action!

Mocca is ready for some action!

We just got back from our very first outdoor trial. Unfortunately, because it is late October, the weather can go one of two ways: sunny and about 60, or wet/windy and 35. Option two is what we had to deal with. So out came the winter coat, hat, gloves, boots and layers! It was a long, cold, dreary day, but we came out pretty well in the end.

FAST Course:
We have never competed in a FAST (Fifteen and Send Time) course before as they are not offered all the time. It is a newer “game” type event the AKC is trying to get going. It is a little bit like Gamblers if you compete in USDAA. Here is what it entails: You get a defined amount of time to run any of the 15 obstacles you want. Each obstacle has a set amount of points: Jumps 1 point, weaves 10 points, teeter 9 points, etc. You want to rack up as many points as you can, but for sure you need to get the minimum needed to qualify (varies). In addition, there will be a set of distance obstacles (bonus) you need to send your dog through. If you complete this you get 20 points, plus whatever the obstacles were worth. It’s kinda fun, once you figure it out.

Not so much fun at 9am and 35 degrees in a wet, muddy field….But we did the best we could. I was really in it just for the experience and I thought it would be a good warm up for Mocca. We started strong, and did one of the two distances obstacles, but she missed the second obstacle (far tunnel entrance), so we got a fault immediately on that and were done. However, we ran around and did a bunch of other obstacles anyway, just for the experience.

Open Standard Course:
The course seemed easy enough to me, and as we started running, and hitting all our contacts, all our obstacles perfectly, I realized we might actually have a clean run for the first time ever in Open Standard! I started to get nervous the closer to the end we got, but held it together….And then Mocca saw my Mom standing on the side of the ring with the video camera and ran off to say “Hi!”. Great….I did my best to call her back as quickly as possible (it was the second to LAST obstacle!), and sent her to the end successfully. The wait to see if we were under time was excruciating, but worth it! We Q’d successfully, with only the one fault, and even had second place out of a good amount of dogs! This was our FIRST Q in Open Standard, after many tries, so I was elated! (If you watch the video below, you’ll see Mocca coming towards my mom, and my 6 year old niece scolding her – LOL!)

Excellence Jumpers With Weaves Course:
This was only our second time at this level, and after the debacle of our first try at Excellence JWW, I was a bit nervous. However, I decided what the heck…give it our best shot! The course seemed a bit easier for us, and after walking it, I felt confident we’d do well. I even decided to do a lead out pivot from 2 jumps away at the start. I knew this was a risk, but felt I should just go for it! Mocca did GREAT. We had one small incident where she went off course again, this time to visit a ring steward…and took her sweet time doing the weave poles. Other than that I felt we had a very strong run. Unfortunately, we were over time, so didn’t Q, but we improved so much from our first attempt that I was just thrilled anyway! Watch the video below:

I am really looking forward to our next trial in a couple weeks to try to keep building on our momentum. I knew Mocca would have some issues with the outdoor arena, but overall she did great. Our next few trials are all indoors, thankfully, as winter is setting in.

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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina C. November 12, 2009 at 10:55 am

Congrats on your Q in Open Standard, Mocca!

Jackie November 18, 2009 at 8:50 am

I LOVE Mocca’s Smile! What a beautiful girl =)

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