Sunday, February 23, 2003

Jake's A Champ

Running Jake at the Performance level instead of regular ("Championship") level feels so anticlimactic. He jumps 6" lower than the regular 22" he's always jumped. All of our friends & classmates & most of our competitors jump 22". There were only 3 or 4 dogs in Jake's 16" Performance class each time, and it just isn't the same as trying to beat 30 or 40 other dogs, most of which are taller and have longer strides, including former national champions etc.

But he was generally a very good boy. In Saturday's standard run, he wasn't superfast but got all his contacts and took a first and Qed. In his Grand Prix run, he had to run at 22" (there's no Performance level in the Grand Prix), and he not only got all his contacts and Qed, but he was 11th out of all these dozens of top dogs! He had an excellent opening in his Gamblers run and almost got the gamble, but went only halfway up the Aframe and then I think I must've dropped my focus and pressure and looked ahead, because he jumped off halfway up. Still, none of the performance dogs got the gamble, so he took 1st again.

And he was a very good boy in pairs, but his partner forgot to grab a baton before she ran, so we got an automatic elimination.

Today I got him really revved up for his standard run and he popped his contacts enthusiastically and then went off course when I overassumed what he would handle automatically. But he had a very nice jumpers run for another 1st and Q, on a course that eliminated a lot of dogs for off-courses. We ended with an excellent snooker run, although I chickened out and didn't do three 7-pt obstacles in the opening--did 2 7's and a 5 because I thought we bobbled something enough to not have enough time, but we got all the way through the course AND exited the field and still had time left over-- so we ended up taking only 2nd for our Q, one second behind another dog with the same number of points. If I'd gone for the 3 7's anyway, we'd have probably had that SuperQ. (Or if we hadn't bobbled in the middle and wasted the time, then even with only 49 of a possible 51 we'd have been faster & won anyway... Oh, well, more What Ifs. Point is that Jake did great and his handler mucked up again.) Oh, yeah, and he got his Aframe contact very nicely, even revved up.

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