Saturday came and with it a new experience.
We drove 1 hour 40 minutes and arrived at the Madera fairgrounds. Driving into the fairgrounds I opened the window to see how cold it was and was bombarded with barking. Consistent loud JRT barking. A few hundred of them. Barking. We arrived during the races!
We pulled up, easily finding a parking place in the shade, got out and started walking around. Olive was all about her ball (a good thing) and so we played with her while Kel and I were entertained by the lure coursing. They did lure on the flat and lure with bumps. This sport is a straight shot (not like the wide circles I've seen before. Those Jacks give it their all. Sometimes it was so rough I was thinking, "My little Olive will NOT be doing that anytime soon!"
Olives grandpa won it all! He was the champion for the day. Congrats to Alison.
Then we walked over to the "go to ground." There are two types. Just plain go to ground and the "Super Earth." The course is tunnels made of wood that the dogs navigate to get to the prey (in this case a rat in a cage). The super earth adds obstacles the JRTs have to navigate inside the tunnels (like bungee cords or branches, or sand). It was pretty cool to watch.
Once the awards for lure coursing were given out, the conformation started. Olive's breeder was going to show her, but I got talked into it. I tried, I really did. I did not do Olive justice. My stupid A personality reared it's ugly head and I became a blithering idiot. I mean, how hard it is to romp around a ring and have your dog stand. As it turns out, really hard.
When the judge wasn't looking, Olive and I performed beautifully. I got many compliments after I left the ring, however, anytime the judge was looking me and Olive...not so much.
I made a rookie mistake. Had her out too long. By the time we got into the ring, she was like all about the sniffing. Not about the beauty of her body.
In my mind Olive is a winner. In the judges mind, Olive is a 4th place finisher.
The last thing we went to see was the activity that I was really interested in. The one that I think Olive will excel. The barn hunt. Basically they set up areas in a building like a barn, put a rat in a cage hidden in the barn, and time how long it takes for the JRT to find the prey. The handler must say when they think the dog has found the rat to stop the clock. If the handler is correct, they get a time and points. If the handler is incorrect, game over. I liked this activity because you could really watch the dogs do the work, as opposed to the going to ground where you could only see them go into the hole and then the other end.
After watching for a while, we left and headed home (we had other commitments in the evening). A very fun day by any standards. I have to thank Alison for graciously helping us understand all the in's and outs, her friend who striped Olive of her wire coat and made her all smooth and pretty, and my buds Peter and Liz for hanging out with us and making us feel welcome. The JRT people were so very nice and Olive received many compliments, hugs, and kisses.
Note: I have conflicted feelings about the rats. In one sense the rats did not seem to be in distress. Seemed like they knew that the dogs couldn't get them. Certainly none of the rats I saw were panicked in any way. They just hung in their cage while the dog was barred opposite barking. On the other hand, it has to be stressful. But what is the option? So for now, I'll continue my agility training and not worry about all the hunting. Olive will hunt for tennis balls.