Sunday, April 13, 2008

Haute TRACS Is Almost Done

SUMMARY: Some success. Some failure. Some high-tech fun. Some nifty colors.

Here's a brief wrap-up, in which we determine whether it's possible for me to actually be brief after 3 days of agility. (It's hot. Hot hot hot almost like summer. 90ish degrees. I am glad to be home, not doing more agility. A friend said it was weird that I would do three days and not all 4. This from someone who thinks that 4 days of agility in a row is a Good Thing. They are all still there, being normal and very hot and tired. I am home and clean and coolish and well-rested and typing in my blog and, apparently, weird. Who wins?)

It was largely a weekend of stupid handler tricks. Note to self: Need new brain. Details later maybe.

I thought I'd maybe get a chance to cruise around and take lots of photos, especially to help Team Small Dog's discussion of what makes cool agility fashion, but nooo, I was busy either being behind on my score table work or running my dogs or being exhausted.

I did, however, take the opportunity to photograph what really stylish agility handlers have: all agility gear in their favorite colors. Which is guess what for me.


Thursday was All Team, All Day, All Rings. Five runs each dog. Combine your scores with your 2 partners' and then if you're within 25% of the average of the top 3 teams--or within the top 50%, whichever is larger (see, USDAA wants to compete with CPE on the complexity of scoring, since they don't want ANYONE to be better than them at anything)--well, then you Qualify For Nationals. Five runs for one Q. Maybe.

OK, I have to be brief. OK. I can do this. Tika qualified. Boost didn't, capped by a memorable Jumpers run with about 4 bars down and half a dozen refusals, although the judge claimed it was only 30 faults.

But wait! All is not lost! I won two, count-them-2, things in the worker's raffle on Thursday! Vanna, would you sniff at what we won?



Thanks, Vanna! Yes, a free entry for another trial plus a big box of Guard-The-House Goodies! And a purple tug toy that I forgot to put into the picture!

Friday I started the day by earning 15 faults with Tika in Masters Standard, 15 faults with Boost in Masters Standard, 15 faults with Tika in Grand Prix, and messing up so badly in Grand Prix with Boost that halfway through I finally asked the judge "which way is out?" and he pointed and we went. Fortunately Tom Kula was laughing inside, not steaming with irritation. At least I hope so because he seems like that kind of guy.

Then Tika got a Jumpers Q, which is kind of a miracle because (A) it's Jumpers and (B) we'd not run well so far, and Boost kept it to a mere 10 faults.

Friday afternoon, Tika ran a nice pairs relay course but her partner had problems with the weaves and knocked a bar, so no Q; Boost's partner had a nice pairs relay course but Boost managed to earn 15 faults (this being my number for the weekend, I guess) in little figure 8 with only about 8 obstacles, so no Q.

And I mishandled both through the Snooker course, resulting in a Q (but not Super) for Tika and none for Boost.

In the evening, I had a lovely potluck with some friends and also briefly engaged in a conversation with two of the judges, Tom Kula and Karen Gloor, about how USDAA really should move the Nationals around to other places in the country, and I'm tired of going (but I HAVE to because it's LOCAL, you know) and the people in Arizona are tired of doing all that work (while at the same time enjoying having it there--I am paraphrasing all of this), and how People Think That USDAA Nationals Should Be About USDAA Not A Hundred Other Agility Sports (which I am fairly confident that most of the U.S. bloggers in my list (to the right) have had something to say about although I cannot now find any of those specific posts--perhaps you'll tell me where yours are and I can link to them here).

Saturday continued with non-Qing Standard for both, but I got a boost with Boost's first-ever Masters Gamblers Q (woohoo!), although Tika was over time on the gamble due to (once again) stupid handler tricks.

Steeplechase was depressing--with Boost, I forgot which loop I was on and did the second loop first, although she was clean to that point (although wasted time on a missed weave entry). And Tika knocked the next-to-the-last bar on a badly done rear cross (I was trying to push a bit more speed there). She'd have qualified (as usual) without that dang bar--but, jeeper creeper, her time was only .05 seconds under! That was almost 8 seconds slower than the fastest dog! Still, I'd have loved to get that Q, no matter how squeaky it was.

In Masters Snooker, I mishandled both dogs dramatically again, resulting in a Barely Q for Tika and a Barely Not Q for Boost. Sighhhhhhh--

But things picked up with our final run of the weekend, Jumpers, where Tika again ran clean and Boost ALMOST ran clean.

With Tika's two Jumpers Qs for the weekend, that finished her ADCH-Bronze (like a triple ADCH). I am all, like, happy happy joy joy and Tika is all, like, where's the food?

And Boost's Jumpersrun--no refusals, no spins, no runouts, and only one knocked bar, --was SUCH a joy to finally run a nice fast smooth run with her! She had a couple of hesitations that might have knocked a couple of seconds off our time, but even so her time was more than 3 seconds faster than Tika and barely 2 seconds under the fastest time, and there were some super dogs running this weekend. I am all, like, wow, bouncing around with delight and Boost is all, like, wow, Mom has energy to play way crazy tug of war after the run, not just before it!

So Tika came home with 5 Qs out of 11 possible and her ADCH-Bronze; Boost with 1 Q out of 11 possible which is one leg closer to her MAD.

And furthermore, I got to take my first ride on a Segway! Which one of my high-tech friends (Apache's dad) was tootling around on all weekend. And which was really VERY cool and I would love to ride some more! And which I asked a complete stranger to take a photo of me on it, and I said, "let's move over here so I have just grass behind me, not cars," and he moved, too, so that the cars were still behind me. I would not make a very good even-more-amateur-photographer-than-me instructor.


In other high-tech news, we demonstrate that even major canopy tears can be repaired--at least temporarily--with stylish matching duct tape, as indicated by my stylish popular agility noncompeting slip-on shoe. I don't even know what they call these. But hundreds of people wear them. Horse people too I think. Maybe even normal people, because Big 5 has sales on them all the time and there are about 270 different brands that are all basically exactly the same, just some fit and some don't.


But wait! There's more, to distract us from sad disintegrating canopy covers! We won AGAIN in Saturday's raffle!

Yes, it's another free entry, plus a Costco Samoyed-in-a-bag! No, just kidding, ha ha, I already have one dog with too much undercoat. Really it's a throw for the dogs themselves to sleep on, and we'll try it on our bed and see whether they like that better than they like curling up and shedding directly on my pillow.

However, despite all the raffle-winning excitement, the dogs are ready for me to get the danged van loaded and head for home. I did not put them in the van. They loaded themselves and gave me impatient looks while I rearranged stylish blue and purple agility gear for informative and educational photography.


And now, as this blog sinks slowly and not so briefly into the west, we leave you with one last gratuitous cute photo from this very moment:

5 comments:

  1. How 'bout a GP or Steeplechase course map? I'd love to see 'em to set up at home and PRETEND I was at your fun four-day! (I went to Dixon a few years back and enjoyed it!)

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  2. I agree that Nationals should be somewhere else, even if it's only a 13 hour drive for me right now. It's not fair to other parts of the country. Plus, Scottsdale is so hot. All the other stuff is o.k. but is it worth having it all at the expense of people in other parts of the country never being able to go? They're the ones that support USDAA throughout the year, not the frisbee or dock dog people. I know I wouldn't fly my dogs or be able to take off an extra 6 vacation days for driving if I lived on the East Coast.

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  3. OK, some courses posted as requested.

    The other side of the story on the USDAA nationals all-the-other-stuff also became clearer in various discussions: Those who aren't in contention for the top spots go as much to enjoy all-the-other-stuff as to compete. So they pay their entry fees, get their basic runs in, and then spend time (and sometimes money) on the other events. I'd never actually been to a dock-diving, herding, or flyball event before Scottsdale. Might have eventually made the time for it someday, maybe not, but I really enjoyed my experiences there. Would I go if it were ONLY agility? Well, yeah, probably; that's why I went in the first place.

    -ellen

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  4. Congratulations on having survived what sounds like a head-spinning three days. I hear ya about the thrill of a fast, smooth run even if it happens not to have a Q attached. Lucy NQd in all of her runs this weekend, but it was a blast running her as her speed was definitely up a notch or two. I can almost imagine the thrill of having a great run with a super-speedy dog like Boost! Fun stuff eh.

    PS I love your sense of humour; I laughed out loud several times while reading this post. :-D

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  5. Glad you enjoyed it. I can find the pleasure in non-Q runs as long as I can find improvements to be pleased about. It's when they either deteriorate or simply repeat the same kinds of errors over and over that it gets really hard to take.

    -ellen

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