Today, Wonderdog and I had our first AKC Rally Trial. Since I've never done Rally before, I entered Rally Novice A. I was nervous all day, partly because it was new, partly because there are variables out of my control in any Trial (like the course set by the judge or some dog getting loose and running into the ring while I'm in it), and partly because this was my club's show and I was also Stewarding in another ring and there were lots of logistics that had to work out.
In the end, I got to the show on time, Hopper arrived with Wonderdog and Boo before the Rally judge came back from her lunch break, and there was only one spot in the course that looked tricky to me. I worked with Wonderdog on a few of the signs I thought might confuse him, and I was ready to go.
A friend who was watching said that I looked really nervous until we got into the ring, and then both of us relaxed and performed just like we do in class. The judge said, "I hope you were happy with that performance!" I was.
When it was time to hand out the ribbons, I found out that I had not only the highest score of the day (98/100) but also the fastest time. Both my teachers were watching (and they told me what my two mistakes were) Boo was so proud of Wonderdog, and we got a BIG bowl of biscuits to give to him along with a beautiful first place rosette.
A while later after Hopper had taken Wonderdog and Boo home, I was helping with cleanup and I saw my judge.
"I wanted to say thank you," I told her. "It meant a lot to do well for you because Wonderdog failed to qualify under you in Obedience last summer."
"It was my pleasure," she replied.
"Do you have an Obedience title?"
"Yes. Wonderdog has his CD."
"Oh. That will invalidate today's result. If you have an Obedience title, you should compete in the B group, not the A group."
I felt like I had fallen into a hole. The judge was so kind--she was just disappointed for me, not angry or critical. But Wonderdog did so well today, and the thought of it being invalidated...
"People register in the wrong class all the time," said an onlooker. "Lots of times the AKC doesn't even notice."
"True," said the judge. "But you may get a letter and then you'll have to send your ribbon back. At least you'll know for next time. Some good will come of this."
And she was gone.
I still have my beautiful rosette and huge bowl of biscuits. I'm not sure if anyone will ask for them back. I don't really want the score to count, because it isn't fair to the other competitors.
Also, I feel like an idiot.