This past Saturday, Pongu had his one and only Rally trial for October.
It was mostly not spectacular. We hadn't been to a trial in over a month, and we've been working almost exclusively on agility stuff rather than Rally exercises this fall, so we were both a little rusty. Plus I was getting over a cold, and Pongu was a little squeaky and worried (not nearly the worst he's ever been, but not the best, either), so we weren't on our A-game going in.
The Oakes trials are some of the biggest ones all year and draw a tough crowd of competitors, and this year's fall trial was no exception. Huge class entries (with lots of new teams, always good to see!), some of the top teams around, very tough competition (but in a good, fun way -- it's always awesome to see your friends do well, and there's never any nastiness in WCRL!).
Accordingly Pongu did not place in the ribbons once during his first five runs. He did poorly a couple of times and kinda-sorta okay-ish a couple of times, but "okay" doesn't get you very far in that crowd. Which is fine; I thought the judging was very fair and we got the scores that we deserved.
And then somehow Pongu calmed down and got his head in the game and just destroyed the last Level 3 run, which was a fairly challenging course (including the Stand With Distraction bonus exercise, historically his worst and weakest one). Perfect score of 210, first place on time (against Edith!! Edith the Ultra-Awesome Border Collie!! That is a rare and precious victory to savor), one of the best runs Pongu's ever done. I sorely wish I'd gotten that one on tape.
Of course if someone had been taping it, he would have totally bombed out, but still.
So that was it for us in WCRL this month. We have a couple of trials in November, in which Pongu might or might not finish his MX2, and a couple in December, and then we're probably finished with Rally until Pongu can start competing in Veterans and/or we fail out of agility so spectacularly that I go crying back to our old familiar stomping grounds.
Also I had another post go up on Team Unruly recently on The Problem of the Force-Free OTCh, which is a piece that I am proud of because our Revered Instructors said they liked it, and yay! sparkles and rainbows!, it is pretty spiffy when people that you admire say that you got something right.