a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Oh please please can we qualify for the nationals?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Oh please please can we qualify for the nationals?

Backfill: Aug 29 p.m. (from email to a friend)
It's dog agility this weekend and next. Both weekends provide me with opportunities to get Tika qualified for the big USDAA nationals in November in AZ. Gawd, I hope we manage it. There's one more chance two weekends after that, but I'd just like to get the stress over with.

Actually there are *3* events at the nationals--Steeplechase, Team, and Grand Prix, but the Grand Prix is the really big one and the one that people refer to when they mean "national championship". My dogs have only ever qualified for the Steeplechase twice in 8 years of competing--but it's a specialized speed event rather than the more general all-around Grand Prix -- qualifying in the Steeplechase requires that you be in the top some-small-percentage of the dogs, whereas qualifying for the Grand Prix just means that you meet the required standard performance. The challenging part about Qing for Steeplechase in this part of the country is that most of the top dogs in the country compete here, and the prizes are for cash, so they don't stop competing in the regional qualifiers even after they've qualified for the nationals, so the same dogs keep qualifying over and over.

And Team consists of 5 events--you and two teammates compete in four events individually and then all 3 of you compete in a relay. The combined scores of all 3 of you over all the events are compared to all the other teams to determine who Qs-- I *think* that the top 50% of the teams at any qualifier go to nationals. Odds are decent that we can do it, although all 3 dogs on my team this year are young and not that experienced yet. Again--kind of a specialized event.

Sooooo anyway Tika has one chance to Q for Team and two chances each to Q for Steeplechase and Grand Prix. Mostly I care about qualifying in the GP. The others would be bonuses.

AND I really want to qualify in Jumpers, because she's earned enough Qs in the other games to move up to masters if we can get only one clean jumpers runs. I think we're coming up on 30 total USDAA jumpers runs with only 2 clean (both in novice), so I'd really like to get there. But we have such a problem with knocked bars. (Takes only one to prevent a Q.) Still, we've been doing Susan Salo's jumping exercises and taking a few more lessons from her. Not sure that I can afford more, but I think they help. We shall see...

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