First I do want to start by saying that when the Wild Weavers equipment trailer was stolen Friday before the trial, I felt bad for them. I also felt bad for them that the Buckeye Equestrian Center changed the surface at this trial location and it wasn't up to par (3 to 4 inches of very loose sand/dirt mix). The incidents that happened at the trial were very bad judgement calls made by an AKC judge in regards to equipment safety and not taking the surface into consideration. To add salt to the wound she made a very inappropriate comment to all of us at the briefing for the RAD demo. She's made my list as a judge I will never trial under again. It would have been a better decision to cancel the trial altogether as they thought they'd originally have to do.
Even with all the problems Ruby ran her heart out, qualifying 3 out of 4 times. The problem with the equipment was what caused her to NQ on our very first run. Someone had the brilliant idea to put tape on the teeter (it was a USDAA teeter and has shorter contact zones) after the 16" class ran. I didn't watch many of the 20" dogs but right before we were to walk I noticed some odd obstacle performance on the teeter; the dogs looked like they were very surprised when the teeter fell out underneath them and the judge called them for fly-offs.
After the walk-thru our class started and dog after dog flew off (fell off) the teeter and I remember telling a friend that I didn't feel comfortable with it. We ran the course cleanly until the teeter, I told Ruby "easy" but she still took the teeter full speed, not slowing at all for the drop. Later Susan Crank said that she thought that the tape made the teeter look like the DW to a lot of dogs, the tape resembling the slats. Really uncool of the club to allow this and after the Excellent class finished they took the teeter off the course to paint new contact zones on it. I hardly think that was fair to the 20" and 24" Excellent dogs. Only four dogs in our class ended up qualifying and two just made time.
My issue was the judge did nothing about the obvious problem with the teeter. 9 out of 10 dogs got called for teeter fly-offs & she does NOTHING. Then in the RAD briefing she's telling us there's no 4 paw safety rule. If your dog jumps off before the teeter tips past horizontal you can re-attempt it. She then says it's a good thing 'cuz some of you need to work on that. WHAT!?!?! @#$%^&*! A LONG, hot day and I should've scratched her but we ran it anyway and she took an obvious off-course. No big deal as it didn't count for anything. Then we debated about coming back and running on Sunday as the club promised to roll and wet the surface down. Ruby placed 2nd in JWW; a nice course which would have been a lot more fun to run on a different surface.
Sunday: Ruby ran as best she could on the surface which was only marginally better but it was wet and heavy instead of just loose. She placed 1st in STD and 3rd in JWW. Here's the kicker: We got 1 - ONE - MACH point in JWW and the surface in that ring was worse. The other judge (not the one on my sh*t list) said that he had trouble wheeling the course, that the wheel wouldn't turn in the sand. I'll bet that's what happened to the stupid woman judge but she either didn't notice or didn't care to do anything about it. There is NO WAY that course was 139 yards (which made SCT 37 seconds). Too bad I didn't have my pedometer with me...
I had made an appointment for Ruby to get adjusted on Tuesday after the trial. I don't know why but I had this feeling that the surface would be horrible and I was right. I just remember the 2008 Kewanee trial and how it took two adjustments to get her right.
Update: Dr. Herlihy said most of her adjustments were routine maintenance. The ones that puzzled her were a very tender and tight shoulder muscle strain that made it hard to adjust her right shoulder, which was out. Her elbow was also out and that’s never been an issue. She thought that the pulled shoulder muscle was due to pulling her front legs up out of heavy sand to lift for jumping. Since the elbow was a new thing she said she would blame that on the sand as well though I'd have to say she probably jammed it when she flew/fell off the teeter. Poor Ruby. =(