SUMMARY: Tika has an outstanding weekend despite her handler.
Well, on my 180th weekend of agility--averaging almost 2 dogs per weekend (so that's 360 dog-weekends)--we finally had a perfect weekend, and I have the ribbbons to prove it. That's 10 out of 10 Qs for Tika. As icing on the cake, she also hit 10 out of 10 first places.
In all fairness, I have to point out two things. First, three other dogs out of the 225 competing had perfect-Q weekends (10 out of 10). (I don't know whether they were all first places. )
However, this is CPE, where you can Q with faults until you get to Level C (Championship), where you must run clean and you must have the highest number of points of any level. Tika is one of only two of that group who did it in Level C (the other being another long-time Bay Teamer and sometime classmate with her second sheltie, Jagger Glantz).
Second, for most of the weekend, Tika had no other direct competitors in her height and level, so a first was a given if we didn't get a No Time (same as elimination in other venues). However, let me say all of this about that:
(Note 1: Handling issues are for my own reminders; they're important because these flaws matter immensely in whether we place or merely Q in USDAA.) (Note 2: Comparisons are versus other dogs who had the same course layout, so the number varies by class.)
- Full House Saturday: Second highest points of 142 dogs. (The only one who beat her was...Boost. A great way to start the weekend!)
- Colors Saturday: 6th fastest of 75 dogs. That's after I managed to pull her past one jump (overcorrecting for a mistake I made with Boost) and we had to back up to get over it. (CPE has no refusals or runouts.)
- Jumpers Saturday:6th fastest of 60 dogs; of the 5 faster, 3 were within half a second of us. But Roxy the border collie was 2 (!) seconds faster. Tika had 3 very wide turns, meaning that I wasn't telegraphing the turns well, and she actually slipped and fell on two of them, so I was overcalling in an emergency situation, where she gamely turned as fast as she possibly could on slick, drying grass.
- Snooker Saturday: Not a stellar round. I didn't do a comparison. In the opening, I tried a risky pull-through to #5 but she missed the pull-through and took #2, for 3 fewer total points. It was tricky course and I don't know how many dogs Qed, so she was probably up there, but not at the top.
- Jackpot Saturday:7th highest points of 146 dogs (Boost was 6th :-) ), but 3 of the higher-scoring dogs were 12" dogs, who get 5 more seconds. Bah. One of the other two big dogs beat us by only a point--if I had handled my wide turns (there they are again) more neatly, we were half a second away from another 3 points. But...Wren Obermiller, that other lovely fast young border collie (Boost's age) had 9 (!!!) more points.
- Jackpot Sunday: Highest score of 180 dogs.
- Jumpers Sunday: 2nd fastest of 58 dogs. Dang wide turns again, including a couple of hard calloffs indicating that I wasn't signalling well once more.
- Snooker Sunday: 7th of 72 dogs; we were one of 15 dogs who got the maximum 51 points but others had faster times. LOTS of hard call-offs on this one, and she started visibly slowing, so I think she was getting disheartened because she'd be blasting towards something at top speed and I'd call her off. Another sign that I'm not telegraphing turns correctly, because actually our path had a flow to if I could have communicated it better.
- Colors Sunday: Fastest of 75 dogs.
- Wildcard Sunday:3rd fastest of 79 dogs. I think it was a pretty good run, but it was our last run of a long, warm weekend and I was as nervous about this run as about my championship runs or Super-Q runs. I was very aware that we had 9 Qs and 9 1st behind us and only this run--and keeping the bars up, because the course itself was simple for us--stood between us and a Perfect Weekend.
(I'll come back later and cover spooky Boost and the weekend in general.)