SUMMARY: A non-Qing day, in which I go into painful detail because it's my blog.Day 2 of the 3-day USDAA trial.
Yesterday I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm always trying to do crazy things in Snooker trying to get a Super-Q. I try to make a guess at what would be needed for a Super-Q and decide whether I can come up with a course for that purpose that we can competently do. I often don't go for 3 (or 4) sevens in the opening, for example, unless they're the simplest thing to do on the course. The problem is not that we can't get to where we need to be, or have off-courses, or don't have the speed. The problem is in knocked bars and refusals. The difference yesterday is that I did not bother trying to figure out what I thought would be necessary for a Super-Q and picked the course based only on what I thought we could possibly get through with the least amount of work on either of our parts and in fact was very close to 100% certain that it would NOT be a Super-Q. And that time, it worked for us (although had that bar she ticked actually fallen, it would've been the same old story).
Today, I also picked a reasonably easy and flowy course, got through that opening easily, and then running straight at #2 in the closing, she stopped and turned back to me and backed up past it for a refusal. This is how it usually goes.
- Gamblers: She couldn't have asked for a better sequence of momentum-building jumps before going out to an Aframe in the gamble, and she was headed straight for it and then pulled off and came back to me. At least our opening went according to plan.
- Standard: First 13 obstacles beautiful. Then she came off the table early, darn it. Been a long time since she's done that. Then the last 4 obstacles I kinda messed up.
- Jumpers: Running past jumps.
- Pairs Relay: Refusal and a bar, both of which I can attribute to my handling, plus our partner went off-course.
- Steeplechase: I ran my little heart out. I did everything I needed to do, she did too (other than CONSTANTLY checking in with me before EVERY obstacle). It felt pretty good even though she knocked a bar. But very sad to see that, even if she hadn't knocked the bar, we'd have been too slow to qualify, the top dogs were SO bloody fast. Makes me wonder even more whether she's not feeling her best. Watching videos of our runs from last couple of weekends, she is not opening up and running full out. Or it could just be that she has decided that her running style is to check in with me more and more and more. Sigh.
- Jumpers: Didn't want to lie down at the start, so I let her stay in a sit, which I was pretty sure was Trouble that starts with a T--and sure enough, I had barely gotten halfway to my starting lead-out position when she crashed through the first jump (I suspect she crept forward until she was too close to get over it) and raced by me to take an off-course jump. We did the rest reasonably well, a couple of wrong turns but decent, and she looked happy to be running.
- Veterans pairs relay: Again, this was for fun, not a Qing event. Tika did OK, but the restrictions placed by the judge on who had to run in what order meant that our veteran partner who was entered only in this, and for fun, had to run the side of the course that had obstacles that she didn't want to even attempt to put her dog on, so she didn't. So, technically, our team Eed. I have things to say about restrictions on who runs which side in Relay--the whole purpose of the relay is supposed to be working stategically as a member of a team, but that takes away any possible strategy that you could ever have. And this time, actually, Tika didn't look so thrilled about being there to run. Who knows what goes through her head.
One more day tomorrow. At least it is refreshingly cool, even chilly, at the trial site, while it's been up in the 90s here at home.