a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Another One-Ribbon Weekend

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Another One-Ribbon Weekend

Well, I suppose one ribbon is better than no ribbons. Out of 3 USDAA weekends so far this year, we've earned two relay legs and one Steeplechase Q (which I'm happy about, no doubt at all).

She mostly ran very nicely this last weekend. Wet weather didn't seem to affect her one way or another. Unlike Remington, who used to adore wet, cold weather for doing agility.

Standard saturday: A training issue: I put her in a down-stay at the start line going into a chute and led out to the next obstacle, slightly offset from the chute. When I released her and started moving forward, she zoomed *past* the chute and we were offcourse instantly.

Grand Prix saturday: We need one more GP to qualify for the nationals. All we have to do is have 7 or fewer faults. That would allow, say, a knocked bar or a missed contact. Instead, we were faultless up until the next to last obstacle, when I overcalled her and she took a jump backwards for an offcourse, which is an elimination.

Jumpers saturday: Two bars down.

Gamblers saturday: Nicely run in the opening; we ended up exactly where I had planned when the whistle blew. She even did the gamble--but it included an A-frame, which she popped off above the yellow zone, negating the gamble. I said "touch" but I think I rushed her, which was stupid--we had 5 seconds left in the gamble out of 14 seconds, so there was no need to rush. (I didn't know how much time I had on course, but we were where I had planned and my walkthrough said that we had plenty of time. I just got excited, I guess.)

Pairs relay sunday: Tika was clean and fast; partner had a bar down but our total time plus faults still allowed the team to Q. That's 3 pairs Qs; we need 5 for our master's relay title. At this rate, we'll finish that before we ever get a gamblers or jumpers leg for our MAD!

Standard sunday: A nice run on a course that caused fully half of the dogs to go off-course, on a really muddy soupy field. We got called on the up contact of the teeter, for crying out loud, after making the up on our problematic dogwalk! And then we knocked a bar. But we weren't offcourse-- Only two of the 30+ 26"-inch dogs managed clean runs on this course.

Snooker sunday: She got a challenging opening beautifully, although slightly bobbled one weave entry. Then she failed to carry out ahead of me to #3 in the closing, heading straight for it then spinning back towards me for a refusal and a whistle-off-the-course. That's 3 times in 3 weekends we've had a failure to carry out. It might be me, not keeping up the pressure? Although I'm sure trying to keep it up. Time to go back to finding someone, anyone, to videotape my runs to see what's going on.

So, once again, she's running beautifully but we're not Qing. And now it's nothing consistent that I can really point at--e.g., she really didn't knock many bars this weekend.

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