Sunday, September 27, 2009

Aaaaaaand We're Home


SUMMARY: An OK weekend. Some things to write home about and others to just hope they're better next time.
OK, for all you short-attention-span theater types, here's what happened in a nutshell (almond probably):

  • Tika earned her 25th Championship Jumpers Q to complete her Silver-ADCH. Woooohoooo! Thrilled thrilled thrilled! (And a relief to get it done.) Now to do it all over again in Performance--
  • Tika Qed in Pf Steeplechase and Grand Prix yet again and had a lovely 3rd place Steeplechase finish to bring home a whopping $6.30. Better than a poke in the eye with a Snooker flag.
  • Tika Qed with a 2nd in today's Pf Gamblers, missed 1st by 1 point, would've ALSO been good for 2nd in Ch 22" and Ch 26"! AND that also finished her Performance Gambler's title. Yowza!
  • Tika and partner Qed and took 2nd in Pf Pairs.
  • Boost had an amazing Snooker run. Amazing. Like the Border Collie I've always wanted. (Too bad her clumsy mom negated the run with her elbow--more later.)
  • It was hot. Like, 99F hot (and I'm not sayin' what the F stands for). (37.2C) Observe the hot and sweaty:



  • USDAA has given in and now calls Performance Grand Prix "Performance Grand Prix" instead of "Performance National Standard" (try pronouncing "PNS" or "PeNaS" or whatever out loud). Now if only they'll do the same for Performance Steeplechase.
  • Boost had zero Qs on the weekend. Ze. Ro.
So--how hot was it? It was so hot that today was only 1 degree lower than the record-setting temperature for this date.
It was so hot that the dogs' fabric crates, under a canopy, were hot to the touch in midafternoon.
It was so hot that, instead of leaving the dogs in their crates as usual, I surrounded the fronts of the crates with the xpen and left the crates open to give them more air and access to the grass to lie on. (In this photo, moved xpen to one side to start packing up.)


It was so hot that even us delicate flowers of femininity poured profuse perspiration. OK, now try peeling off those sopping tight jeans so you can put on shorts. Yeh uh-hm.
It was so hot that, in the last run of the day, most of the Performance dogs didn't want to go down on the table. Even Tika. I'm thinking it wasn't that the table was hot; it was that they knew that if they lay down, they'd have to eventually get around to standing up again!
It was so hot that last night I left the van's doors & windows open 6-8" (any more & certain border collies might have gone exploring) and I *still* fried most of the night. (They claimed it was in the 50s overnight. Didn't feel like it.)
It was so hot that people were applying cold asparagus poultices to their necks to cool down.
However, I might be lying about at least one of those things. Well--maybe exactly one.

How did the awesome Performance Tika end up Qing in only 5 of 10 classes, yikes? It was a weekend of mostly so-closes:
  • Saturday Standard: Flew off the dogwalk big time. Rest of run lovely. Time would've been good enough for a 2nd place, despite heat.
  • Saturday Gamblers: missed her weave entry in the opening and I went back to pick it up again, which means that when the whistle blew we were starting UP the Aframe instead of leaving the Aframe, which meant that Tika did the gamble perfectly but was over by .17 seconds. Arrrrgh!
  • Sunday Jumpers: I led out about 6 steps and turned to discover that Tika had left her down stay and was standing about 6 inches from the first (26") jump. Think she can get over that without knocking it? Not a chance.
  • Sunday Snooker: FLEW off Aframe in opening, which meant I had to do a front cross where I needed to do a pull, which meant that she turned the wrong way after the next red, both of which meant that she was jumping up & barking at me profusely for  not being clearer in my instructions instead of RUNNING FULL OUT which is what we needed to do, which meant that in the #7 closing (tunnel//jump/tunnel) she was only at the jump when the whistle blew. Argh. 
  • Sunday Standard: For the first time in a VERY long time indeed, when I sent her out to a jump, she ran towards it, peeled away to bounce back and me, and then turned and took it. Refusal.  Jeez. Of course this time she stuck her start line and got all her contacts and kept her bars up.
How did Boost have a zero Q weekend?
  • Several runs with meltdowns, and not because of the heat (I don't think), but runouts, refusals, bars going down, missing weave entries--I WANT MY *NEW* BOOST BACK!
  • Sunday's Jumpers--OH so close! Pretty nice but one bar down in the middle.
  • Pairs: One refusal, but with Partner's 10 faults, we were .69 (!) seconds over time. So we were fast but not fast enough with the time-wasting bobbles. Sheesh! 
  • After assorted mess-ups, Eed entirely in Standard, Grand Prix, Jumpers, and another Standard.
  • Second-LOWEST points of 20 dogs in Saturday's gamblers.
  • And then there was Snooker.

OK, so here's the Snooker thang. It was worse than a speed course; it was a super-speed course. To do all three sevens and get thru to the end in 48 seconds required running around 3 sides of the field three times! It was just a bloody awful lot of yardage. I tried to think of a smoother, easier course for Boost, but there WAS no smoother, easier course.

But to get the full 51 points, you'd have to be VERY fast and, furthermore, you'd have to be PERFECT, not a bobble or wasted yardage anywhere. And, of course (and especially this weekend), Boost and I do not HAVE runs that have no bobbles or wasted yardage.

But I just couldn't come up with a better course. We were the next to the last dog of *all* dogs to run, so I had already seen that, out of 70 dogs who had already run it, only 3 who had attempted all three 7s had made it to the end, and (a) they had run their buns off, and (b) they were top-flight competitors with super-fast dogs, and (c) two of them had made it with only a fraction of a second to spare, and the third with maybe a second.

I came up with a plan where we'd do two 7s and a 5, which was also pretty smooth and we'd be more likely to get all the way through if we had any bobbles.

So. We lined up, I led out halfway across the field leaving her facing the first #1 red, and I released her, and we were off.

Well, jeez, she was PERFECT! Sure, there was the stupid thing where, on our way to the 2nd red, I hit the #2 jump's wing with my elbow on the way past and knocked the bar off. But after the 3rd red and Boost was flying and doing great, I decided to try for all 3 sevens. And she was AWESOME, just AWESOME! Did everything right! We did not complete the last 7--she was IN the last tunnel but had probably a stride to go to get out--but I was, needless to say, absolutely hyper-jazzed. THIS is the Border Collie I want! WoooooooohhoooooooO!

But there's that little issue about the knocked #2. Judge had to think about it (or she'd have whistled us off earlier--glad she didn't!), but essentially the rule is that the *handler* took the obstacle out of play, so Boost didn't have to actually jump it in the closing (bar was down), which negated all obstacles #2 and after. So we got none of our closing points.

I wasn't too surprised; I didn't know the rule, but I knew when I hit it that I was probably going to pay in one way or another. So our only class where Boost was not only excellent enough to get Q points but in fact Super-Q points, I screwed up by being clumsy. Sigh. But I am still buzzed from that run! What! A! Bordercollie!

What feels good after packing up on a very very hot day? Clean hands and clean, dry shirt and socks!

What feels good after a long, hot weekend of 21 runs? Air-conditioned MUTT MVR, ready to head home!

Dogs are ready to go.

What is a really really good idea after a long, very hot, very perspiring day before a 2-hour drive home with all the ice in your soda cooler melted? Stop at the Quick Mart and get a 44-oz. cup packed to the top with ice for $1.19 and then pour your soda over it!

What's a really really good idea to keep you focused and alert on the road after a long and tiring weekend? Funny tapes!



Okily dokily, good neighbor, I think I probably have lots more I want to say about lots of things, but I'm thinkin' that lots of lying in bed and sleeping would be an exxxxxxellennnnnt plan right about now.

9 comments:

  1. congrats on your silver adch- and I can sympathize with your ze.ro Q's with Boost....

    oh, and didn't you hear- it's fall now...so it shouldn't have been hot. :o)

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS on the Silver!!!!! A truly wonderful accomplishment. Hug your dog!

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  3. Huge Congrats to you and Tika! That's a lotta Q's.

    Yikes 99 degrees is waaay too hot for the end of Sept. and for an agility trial.

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  4. Congratulations to Tika! YEAAAA! So sorry about Boost...but still, it was a good weekend!

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  5. First, congrats again Tika's Silver ADCH!!!

    Ok that heat sounds just brutal. Ugh.

    Only 5/10 for Tika? Ha. A 50% Q rate for Walter and me is a pretty darn good day ;)

    Unfortunate about that beauty of a Snooker run with Boost. But wow what a thrill it must have been!

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  6. Thanks, all. I try to remember: Any weekend doing things with my dogs is a good weekend.

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  7. Big congrats on the Silver, yeah!!!

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  8. Oh, just realized you changed the comment post set up? I can see the comments and the post at the same time, love that :)Sometime I have to reference back, short term memory stuff you know!

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  9. Johann, yep, a week or two ago. I think you commented on it at the time. ;-)

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