I took Solo to an agility match today, signed him up for all three runs. Walked the course about a zillion times, until I could run it with my eyes closed. Loaded up my pockets with treats and tug to take advantage of any training opportunity that presented itself. Solo felt good and was raring to go.
First run. Solo's on the line. We take the first four obstacles, and then there's the table. He skids to a down on the table and the judge counts: "Five... four... three... two... one..." I lead out a few feet and release Solo, and turn toward the next jump, briefly taking my eye off him, and I take a couple of steps with my hand out. But Solo doesn't come. Behind me, I hear someone call urgently, "Check him!"

Oh geez, I think. He's eating a ring crew person or something.

I turn, and Solo's crouched down on the ground, tail curled around his hindquarters, growling, but not at anything. The expression on his face can only be described as *** off. If he were a person, I would think that he was mad at himself for something. He's covered in dirt, but doesn't appear injured and walks off the course just fine. I take him outside, trot him around and let him lope at liberty, and he continues to look fine. All he's got is a little boo-boo on his chin. Whew.

People tell me that Solo launched himself a bit too enthusiastically off the table, slipped, and took a nose-dive into the dirt, somersaulting once. It must have looked pretty bad because everyone thought he'd hurt his neck or something, but Solo is made of some pretty tough stuff (all of him other than his brain, anyway).
That's when I realize what Solo was growling about: "Stupid $#&%!!! table."
One of the great beauties (and paradoxes) of Solo is that equipment incidents almost never faze him, no matter how bad they are. Our next two runs went without incident and he hopped up onto the table (and launched himself off) with no hesitation. We failed to properly discriminate between the A-frame and tunnel entry and missed the weave entry both runs, but other than that he was great and I took the opportunity to reward every contact. His contacts were perfect.
He didn't notice the judge. I much prefer these kinds of garden-variety mishaps and look forward to more.
Melanie, Solo the Red, Superfly, and Skeeter

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
People tell me that Solo launched himself a bit too enthusiastically off the table, slipped, and took a nose-dive into ... neck or something, but Solo is made of some pretty tough stuff (all of him other than his brain, anyway).

Youch! You might check him tomorrow anyway. And also don't be surprised if the next trial he's a bit wonky about the table. What I find with my high-drive guys is that on the day, even later in the day, they're fine. But the next time they approach the obstacle that "bit" them in a new trial or training situation, they may refuse it or otherwise do something unexpected. So be prepared to "babysit" just a bit.
He didn't notice the judge. I much prefer these kinds of garden-variety mishaps and look forward to more.

Nice story, and I'm glad he did so well!