SUMMARY: Boost and Tika each earn 3 Qs
You know that they say to be careful what you wish for, but also one must be careful in HOW one wishes for it, too. Tika's qualification rate has been around 50% in USDAA pretty steadily for at least the last year, maybe 2. But I've been saying that I wanted to earn more placements. Well-- we seem to be doing that at the expense of our qualifying percentage. I don't think that I've really changed my competing habits much, either.
This weekend, Tika and her partner, a fast little Aussie, had the third fastest time in Pairs Relay, but we were the ONLY Masters team of 37 teams (!) to run clean, so we took first. That's pretty cool. And Tika managed to keep all her bars up in today's Snooker for a Super-Q and a third place of 21 dogs, which is also cool.
But her only other Q was our usual 5-point-fault Grand Prix. So only 3 for 9 Qualifiers.
Didn't get either of the gambles, and I wanted one so badly to finish her Bronze Gamblers that it put me quite out today when, for some unknown reason, I didn't hear the buzzer to start the gamble. I was running Tika around frantically to try to find more obstacles to do in the opening, and noticed suddenly that the judge wasn't calling points, at about the same time that he said, "that was your buzzer", but by then I was out of position and way too late for a gamble that I think we would have gotten fairly easily.
Missed Jumpers today by one knocked bar. Missed Standard by one knocked bar (and a long sniffing episode where she thought that she smelled some treat in the grass on course as she ran by. Man, she can stop quickly when she wants to!) Back to bar-knocking drills.
BOTH dogs got through a complicated Snooker opening on Saturday, only to have a refusal at #3 in the closing. Clearly something defective with my dogs; it couldn't have anything to do with ME.
BoostInterestingly, Boost also had 3 Qs this weekend. Of course I'd expect an experienced Masters dog like Tika to earn more Qs than a baby dog. But I'm pleased to get 3 Qs. One was in Standard again, and the other was in today's Snooker.
What's funny is that the USDAA Tournament qualifying (for Nationals) season runs September through September. Boost started competing last September, and in seven tries during the year, she didn't earn a single Grand Prix qualifier (two are required to compete at Nationals). Now that we're in the new qualifying year, she has proceeded to earn two GP Qs out of two tries, so she's now already qualified for NEXT November's Grand Prix Nationals. Silly girl.
She did very well in her weave poles this weekend. In her first attempt on Saturday, she popped out early, and I told her that wasn't a good idea and took my time about figuring out where she popped out, getting her lined up, and making her do those last 2 poles, then praised enthusiastically when she did them as we continued. I vowed that the next time she popped out early I'd pick her up and take her off the course, and told her so. So she behaved beautifully in all her other weaves! You just have to explain these things in plain English, apparently.
They were good enough that I even got brave in today's Snooker, which was the last run of the day. The 7-point obstacle was the weaves, and you were required to take four reds, AND the weaves were right in the middle of 3 of the reds, so what else could one do? Even the conservative runners did at least 2 sets of weaves.
We attempted three sets in the opening. I don't remember what order they occurred--one set was perfect, one set she went in the correct way but hit the pole and sort of bounced into the 3rd pole instead of the 2nd, so we had to restart it, and once she went in at the second pole and we also had to restart it. But they were mostly challenging entrances, so she did pretty good, and she went all the way to the end in all cases, even as I moved away from her or crossed in front at the end. In the closing, she skipped a pole, but we had just run out of time, so I just ran her off the course and celebrated having a nice run. And it was enough points for a Q, so that was OK.
On Saturday's Snooker, I led out a long way across the field, turned and looked right at her over the top of the first jump, released her--and she ran AROUND the jump. So there's something else to work on.
Mostly, though, she ran nicely and still a whole level above where she was just a couple of months ago. She's progressing nicely, I think.