Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Never What I Expect

SUMMARY: Nor necessarily what I want. USDAA trial results.

I had hoped (quietly) that this weekend maybe I could finish Tika's last Standard Q at 26" (two chances) and get one more of the three 26" Jumpers legs she needs for her Silver ADCH, and then she'd be all in Performance at 22".

Didn't do that. Instead, in the tournaments we had a repeat of the last trial in Performance: Won Steeplechase round 1, came in second in Grand Prix. Would be nice just once in our lives to finish first in Grand Prix to get that bye into the second round at the regionals, but not this time. [I'm getting greedy already--she never won steeplechase in Championship and I don't think ever placed this high in Ch GP.]

Tika also got the P3 gamble--barely--she works so hard to make up for my lack of clarity!--and came in 2nd; ran clean in Pairs (although partner had 2 faults) and she and partner were fast enough to still Q and take 4th of 10 performance teams.

For Boost, would be nice to SOMEDAY get a Jumpers leg to earn our MAD. Didn't do that, either. But she did run clean in Masters pairs, and although partner had an Aframe flyoff, together they were fast enough to make up for that to qualify and place 3rd of 23 teams. Dang fast dogs! And Boost's run was absolutely lovely! No complaints from me at all.

I told my renter--a bit cynically--that if BOTH Tika and Boost qualified in Steeplechase, maybe I'd stay through Sunday morning for the money runoff, and figured I was safe because Boost has Qed only once ever in Steeplechase and it wasn't at the same time as Tika.

So--Boost ALSO qualified in Steeplechase! She knocked a bar and yet was plenty fast enough to squeak under the qualifying course time (just 2 seconds slower than the fastest dog, and I can attribute that to (a) holding her on her 1st Aframe contact and (b) spinning towards me instead of running straight out at the end). She's just so fast--it would be wonderful to be able to really see that come through!

However, in the end, I didn't stay through the night to do round 2: Hopes of monetary return worth the extra night in my van were extremely slim (1st place in Performance around $15, f Tika managed it; Boost was the last of 16 22" dogs to Q, and the odds of her placing in the top 6 or 8 or whatever for checks was about zero) and I was tired and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

So, out of 8 runs, Tika Qed 4, Boost Qed 2.

Snooker was a bust mostly because I walked it wrong, combined with issues in the opening. Sigh. My plan was to do three 7s and a 5 in the opening. Well-- Tika did two 7s and then took the 5 due to insufficient handler communication, which put us so far away from the 4th red that I went right into the closing. Boost knocked her first red, so we were able to do only three sevens and then go into the closing.

Problem was that I walked the #4 with the wrong obstacle. So, Tika did 2-3 in the closing and, as I put her over what I THOUGHT was #4, I was surprised to see a red "1" flag on that jump. Doh. With Boost, learning from my mistake, I was able to get her over the #4 correctly, but the angles were sufficiently weird that, without walking it, I couldn't handle getting her into the #5 correctly.

Boost's runs, over all, were starting to feel decent this weekend. We still had the oddball refusals and going past jumps backwards while looking at me and then backjumping, that sort of thing, but not as many as sometimes. And didn't knock an excruciating number of bars, although they still came down.

Boost mostly had lovely contacts; on one Standard run where she already had faults, when she left the dogwalk without a release, I thanked the judge and picked Boost up and carried her off. She got the rest of her contacts, with one exception--end of the day, Steeplechase had 2 Aframes. She did the first one perfectly and I released her much more quickly than is good for training, and then she self-released the 2nd time. On the other hand, if I hadn't release quickly and she hadn't self-released, we wouldn't have made time because of her one knocked bar. So take your pick.

Tika was absolutely delighted to be running after me being sick in bed for 3 days and too weak to do anything with them at all save a couple of pathetic ball tosses in the back yard. So delighted, in fact, that in our first run Friday night, she didn't stick her start line and knocked the first bar (which is what told me that she was heading up behind me), and then flewwwwww off her dogwalk. She calmed down as Saturday wore on and it got quite a bit hotter (at least mid-80s, maybe 90ish).

The best moment of the weekend came during Saturday's standard round; Boost already had at least one fault on the course. We hit the table, she went into a down, and I noticed that BOTH her ears were inside out on top of her head. I hate that! At home and in class, I reach down to flip her ears over all the time. So there she was, there I was, waiting for the judge to count off the 5 seconds, and I couldn't stand it--reached over and flipped her ears over. Which is a 5-point fault for touching my dog. Judge laughed. I realized just as I was doing it that flipping the ears actually counted as touching my dog in the ring. Just glad she already had a fault; would've kicked myself if that had turned out to be one of her few clean runs. OK, we had faults, but at least her ears had dignity.

I actually remembered to have someone videotape the last couple of our runs. Maybe if I have time this week (always the issue) I'll try to post a couple.

As always, it was great to be around friends, although Risk's death gave everyone a gut-punch. Because I had been posting my health status on facebook, many people asked about me and checked up on me frequently to make sure I wasn't overdoing it.

And I did fine, symptoms almost entirely gone today, although I'm very glad I didn't stay for Sunday.

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