SUMMARY: A weekend of mixed successes.This always has been, and always will be, the only thing I love about waking to the cursedly early alarm and leaving the house while it's still dark:
It can be pretty nice at the agility field, too:
Saturday was hot but not scorching, although it started the day with lightning flashing in the distance and little rain stormlets drifting across the valley, sprinkling us once or twice.
Saturday was handler melt-down and Boost melt-down dayBoost started the day in Pairs Relay by bailing off the teeter just past the tipping point (a continued behavior from the last trial or two). We Qed anyway. Tika and her partner Qed also.
Boost's Standard was lovely through the first 12 obstacles, but the 13th was the teeter and she came off the middle again. I told her to "down" a couple of times, and although only her front end ever went down, I decided to continue. And then at the end--a lovely, perfectly aligned and flowing set of 3 jumps, and she approached the last one, then turned back towards me, and hence had to run past it because she was too close to jump it. Argh!
Tika's Standard was clean although not too fast in weaves or dogwalk; 2nd place and a Q, completing her Perf. Standard Silver (25 Qs) and her Perf. Silver ADCH! Yeah! As it turns out, this might have been the only highlight of the weekend.
In Gamblers, Boost had 2nd highest opening points of all dogs, was in perfect position for the closing, which was a send over a jump to the weaves, and she went into the weaves perfectly and then came back out toward me. Arghhhh!
Because I saw SO many very good dogs also pop out of the weaves, I changed my course for Tika to practice distance weaves in the opening, which she did perfectly, and did them again perfectly in the gamble, for a Q. The problem was that all of our dang high-quality 22" performance friends & competitors are so good that they got the high points in the opening AND got the gamble, so we were only 4th of 7 dogs. No top ten points or even glory points (the glory of having high a great score) there.
Snooker has become my nemesis this year with both dogs. Saturday's I thought was very doable, but, yes, it included a teeter in the sequence I wanted to do multiple times. The first time, Boost popped off before the bottom (although the judge gave us the points). The second time, she came right off the middle again, so I picked her up and carried her off, then put her into her crate without even putting her collar back on. ARRRRGHHHHH!!! Why after 6 years of lovely teeters are hers broken?!?
With Tika's run, I was at the score table trying to finish calculating the SuperQs for the previous height group and suddenly realized that we were up next. In Snooker, if you miss your turn, you're out. My normal routine with the dogs is this:
Release dog and put slip leash around her neck as she comes out.
Move hands from slip leash collar directly to regular collar and remove it.
Give dog toy, do a little jogging and tug of war.
With Tika, massage/rub/stretch legs, neck, shoulders, and back.
Because I was in a hurry and we were up next, here's what I did: Open crate, release dog, put slip leash around her neck, and I was doing so, notice that there's a collar on the ground in front of her crate, and my rushed mind said, "oh, I must not have put it back on her after her last run," run directly into the ring and start running.
Stupid. It was Boost's collar, of course. So we got whistled off almost immediately for having a collar on.
In Jumpers with Boost, first thing I did was put her over the wrong jump after the 3rd obstacle. After that, the runouts, refusals, and bars down didn't really matter.
Tika knocked the 2nd bar in her Jumpers run, so no Q, although ended up still in 2nd place for one tiny Top Ten point.
In Steeplechase, Boost popped out of her first set of weaves, I said "oops" or something, stopped her, and made her fix them. When she popped out of the 2nd set of weaves, I picked her up and carried her off. Tika Ran nicely and won the first round--although there were only 4 dogs in her group, and one of them scratched, and one of them E-ed, so only 2 of us went on to round 2.
For the day: Tika Qed 4 of 6, Boost 1 of 6. Tika Top Ten pts: 3 top for Standard, 1 for an n-Qing jumpers. Funny, that!
Good thing Boost is cute.
By the middle of the day Saturday, I realized that I felt way more tired than usual and couldn't face moving everything around in MUTTMVR to sleep there, let alone putting it all back the next day. So I splurged and got a room at the Travellodge up the street. I've stayed there before and liked it, although usually shared a room. Was delighted to pay only $50 including tax and everything.
Instead of all that hard work, I had a nice long shower and relaxed and played with the dogs.
After meeting friends for dinner--three of us had chamionship level titles to celebrate--I went back to the hotel, crawled into bed, and slept very well, a bit over 9 hours straight, until the alarm went off.
Sunday was more handling disasters, Tika melt-down, and Boost getting SO CLOSE--
Tika was the only dog in her group in Steeplechase--the other dog scratched. So we could've done anything on course except eliminate (go off course) and win and bring home the money. She knocked the 2nd jump, but it didn't matter, and the rest of it was nice, so we came home flush with a whole $9.
In Jumpers, Boost ran PERFECTLY dagnabbit because halfway through I had a moment where I couldn't remember the next jump and so she got a refusal while I thought about it. CRAP CRAP CRAP! Tika knocked the first bar [hmmm, lots of Tika bar-knocking this weekend, wonder what's up?], so no Q, but again placed 3rd for one tiny top ten point.
In Standard, in Boost's group, only 3 out of 20 dogs ran clean, and, wow, Boost was not only one of them, but the fastest of those three. Wow, a Q *and* a win!!! Tika also ran clean, but in an increasingly common occurrence, expressed her opinion that down on the table was stupid, and the big delay dropped us to 3rd instead of 1st (only a second separated the top 3 dogs), again for one top ten pt.
In Gamblers, Boost's opening was spectacular, sharing highest points in the whole trial with only one other dog, and we were in perfect position for the gamble and did the 1st three obstacles and all she had to do was... sigh... send slightly to the last jump. 3 times I tried, and 3 times she went toward it and then turned back to me. ARRRGHHHH!
Tika was a good girl but not quite fast enough to finish the obstacle in the opening that would've won it--she also got the gamble like a champ after I nearly bobbled it, so Q and 2nd place for 1 top ten pt.
Grand Prix: Boost missed her weave entry but otherwise had a gorgeous run on a course that ate up & spit out dogs every which way, and Tika slowed wayyyyyyyy down on the dogwalk and then popped the contact anyway, so no Q there, either. Although, funny, she won! (Shows how much the course was destroying dogs.)
And then, sighhhhhhh, Snooker. Boost was spot-on perfect and all she had to do was run down a beautiful straight line of 3 jumps at the end, and, yes, you guessed it, although while I ran I was praying silently to anyone who'd listen, I was too slow for her and she turned back before the last jump. One more chance at a super-Q lost, although she still ended up placing 5th of 21, SOOO close even with that error because dogs again were dropping like flies. And with Tika, I forgot to put in a front cross where I meant to put one, shoving her directly into an off-course obstacle. Sighhhhhhhhhh.
For the day, Tika Qed 2 out of 6, and Boost also 2 out of 6. Tika top ten points: one for a non-Qing Jumpers, one for standard, one for gamblers.
For the weekend, two beautiful dogs, one exhausted handler--I drooped all day today despite the nice weather, and now that I've dumped my successes and failures here, I'm going to bed EARLY.