SUMMARY: Second day of USDAA agility.
Well, I'm not nearly as bummed after a weekend of agility as I sometimes am. Boost had some really, really nice runs this weekend and it's just too bad that we didn't have more Qs to show for it.
Tika's Q rate was pretty good for this weekend, but I definitely noticed her increasing slowness and lack of confidence that she's doing the right thing in so many ways. But looks like we'll keep on competing for a while, yet, I guess.
Started the day with Standard. Both Tika and Boost had really nice runs and Qs, what more can I say? A friend commented, "Ellen, you got a Double Q!" Made me laugh.
Although Tika gave me a good scare--at the very last jump, as she approached it with me a little behind, she suddenly started to turn back towards me (something she's doing more often) and my heart sank--getting all the way through the entire course and then lose it to a refusal on the LAST jump?! But while she was still roughly parallel to the jump and still moving, so she hadn't turned away from it yet, she saw me and executed the most astonishing turn back to the jump from about 6 inches away and I swear went over it sideways and didn't knock the bar. Another friend came by to comment, "Tika was just messing with you there at the end." Dogs! Sheesh!
Boost was in Gamblers, and for a change I couldn't come up with an opening that I liked. Had one that was kinda OK, but in talking to a friend after the walk-thru was done, decided on a different course. Not sure whether we'd have done better on my original course, but we sure couldn't have done much worse--first four obstacles were jump, jump, tunnel, weaves, and let me just say that, out of all of those, she did the tunnel just fine. Sigh. Then I wasted time insisting that she do the weaves correctly, so never even got minimum opening points, so it's just as well that my oddball handling gesticulations in the gamble portion were for naught.
Tika then got to run in Steeplechase Round 2. She was clean, but even though it had 2 Aframes rather than 2 sets of weaves, and even though the faster dog had a bar down, we still came in only 2nd! (Sad day when her clean run can't make up the 5 second fault penalty of the other dog. Missed only by .12 of a second, though--so close to winning!) Of course, there were only 3 dogs in our height in round 2. We brought home a whole $6 for that.
Grand Prix ran really well for both dogs, too. It chewed up a lot of dogs--pretty small Qualifying percentage--but I thought it ran smoothly. Tika was clean and Qed (although only 5th place of 12 dogs--10 seconds behind the 1st place!). Boost had a lovely run and I blew it by overcalling in one spot, thereby pulling her off a jump for a refusal error and no Q, but the rest was nice.
Snooker--For Tika, I just wanted a plain Q, so I picked a nice, simple little triple loop in the opening using 6-6-6 which did not turn out to be the sign of the devil as it fed nicely into the closing and we completed it easily for 48 points and a Q and 3rd place of 7 dogs. Yayyyyyyy another one down and now only ONE until PDCH gold! It's been a while since we've Qed two Snookers in a row!
For Boost, though, I wanted the Super-Q and I was absolutely convinced that, among the 40 dogs in her class, a large number would be able to get well into the 50-point range ( 3 or 4 reds optional) and that's what would be required for the Super_Q. So I picked a more aggressive course (although one I thought we could do comfortably)--and...... in the opening, she knocked a bar, missed the weave entry which wasted time to fix, then I forgot to do a front cross so we wasted time getting into position for the next obstacle and I therefore also gave confusing instructions on the following obstacle wasting more time, and then she knocked bar #3 in the closing. A complete disaster, jeez. And this kills me--48 points turned out to be super-Qs! Gah. Of course, even if I had just used Tika's same course, she probably would've knocked the same bars, since those were in the same path that Tika took. Ah, well.
Then Jumpers. Both dogs ran smoothly and had really nice times, except that Tika crashed through one jump, not sure why--she was still only 2 seconds slower than the winner--and Boost just tipped a bar off when i did a post turn, so neither dog Qed but I was happy with how they ran.
So, for the day:
Tika 3/4 Qs, placements of a 2nd and a 3rd, one bar down, one scare at the last jump, plus $6 for a clean Steeplechase Round 2. (And both tables in Standard this weekend were one-"Down" tables, didn't have to keep saying it over and over. Yeah!)
Boost 1/5 Qs, no placements. 5 bars down, all contacts good, 2/4 perfect sets of weaves (one entry on wrong side, one popped out at #10), one runout that was my fault, no other refusals or runouts! That last one is AMAZING to me! And I certainly can't account for that for this whole weekend by my intensive training efforts, because there has been none!
My stamina: I actually held up pretty well; maybe my dogs did OK because I was able to get to where I needed to be. I'm trying to pay even more attention to my timing and on my willingness to trust the dog and move sooner. But some weekends, my legs feel like lead... this weekend, felt pretty good. The only one that was really hard was when I had to run Tika in Steeplechase (fast, intense course with a lot of handler activity) and then less than 10 minutes later run her in Snooker--my poor legs just wouldn't move! I obviously need more recovery time. My knee feels good, too.
So, over all, a day and weekend that definitely didn't suck.