Last weekend Zach, the Golden Retriever, showed at the Cherry Blossom Cluster in Timonium, MD. We were hoping he would be ready for Open by the time this show came around. He is *really* close, but not quite there so we decided to wait another month. Instead, we entered him in Rally Advanced. Our goal was to give him some ring experience with familiar material, get him used to the busy trial site and to test his mental stamina.
Friday Zach earned a 98/100 for first place at the Golden Retriever Specialty.
Saturday he earned a 99/100 for second place.
Sunday we had to redo an exercise when he walked on the wrong side of a cone and he still managed to earn a 96/100!
With the three necessary qualifying scores in Rally Advanced, Zach earned his RA title on Sunday! He was entered one more day so we had another decision to make. Stay in Advanced for an extra leg, call it a successful weekend and scratch our Monday entry, or move him up to the next level and show in Excellent.
For whatever reason, I was feeling particularly brave and decided to move him up. The fact that he had never successfully performed (or been introduced to) several of the Excellent level signs didn’t deter us. Most of them were just different combinations of things he knew well. The two skills he did not have were the moving stand and backing up in heel position. We practiced backing up before leaving the show on Sunday and spent our warm up Monday morning learning the moving stand. Zach pulled it all together just in time. He ended up having to back up AND do two moving stands during his Excellent run, and he did more than just qualify… he earned a 97/100 for fourth place!
Very proud of Zach! He knows what this trialing stuff is all about now and really enjoys it! Can’t wait to get him in the Open ring!