Friday, November 19, 2010

MACH Katie

Katie was very easy to run in agility. Like a "push button horse", she was easy to direct and never wild like Riley is at times. Katie was always listening and close by. As a result, Katie quickly earned her Novice, Open, and Excellent titles in just six months of competition.Katie's claim to agility fame is that she is the first greyhound to earn a Master Agility Championship (MACH). At that time, no other greyhound had even come close. This was very exciting for me because it can never be taken away. Other greyhounds may rank higher or earn multiple agility championships, but Katie will always be the first.
A Master Agility Championship is earned with 20 double qualifying scores and 750 MACH points. A double qualifying score is when you qualify in the standard class and the jumpers class in the same day. MACH points are speed points. For example, if the time allowed is 68 seconds and your dog runs the course in 50, 18 MACH points are earned. At the time, no other greyhound had broken 100 MACH points so Katie significantly raised the bar. And she did it in just three years... meaning she retired from racing, was adopted, trained, competed, earned Novice, Open, Excellent, and Master agility titles, and became the very first Master Agility Champion greyhound in just three years.
One side note, once Katie and I had reached double qualifying score #19 and only one more to go, I got pretty nervous. As a result, I would do something to botch one of the runs each day. Finally, we were in North Carolina for an agility trial in January 2004 and we had already run clean in Jumpers. During our Standard run, Katie got up on the table and laid down. Back then the dog had to assume a designated position on the table. She popped up early and had to lie down again which restarts the judges five second count. I thought to myself "That is the slowest counting judge ever." We finished the course cleanly and my friends cheered. Complying with MACH tradition, I grabbed the top bar of the last jump and together we did our victory lap. The photographer took lots of photos and I was so happy. And then.... I was told that we did not make time and therefore did not qualify. In my almost 12 years of running greyhounds in agility, that is still the only instance I did not make time.
A month later on February 27th, 2004, Katie and I secured double qualifying score #20. We got to do another victory lap while our friends cheered. As a memento, you get to keep the top bar of the last jump and all of your friends sign it with well wishes. In true MACH fashion, we had cakes for everyone to enjoy.
An added bonus later on, all of our friends chipped in to pay for an ad bragging about Katie's accomplishment in a popular agility magazine. My sister, Denise, did an excellent job designing the layout.