Well, we had one really excellent weekend with 4 Qs and only one run with knocked bars, and then it got worse again.
At our second trial in September, Tika managed a Q in only one thing, the Grand Prix qualifier for 2006. Which is good, because it's the first of the year and we need 2 to qualify for the '06 Nationals. But no other Qs.
This past weekend we didn't Q in anything. Zilch. Nada.
Tika had a simply beautiful jumper's run, 3rd fasted among her height (first fastest was last year's steeplechase national champ, so we're in good company). But a bar down. Saturday's gamble, a not-too-tough one but tough for some people, she did beautifully. But had a bar down. Sunday's standard run was fast and tight, even drove to the table and slammed into a down. But had a bar down.
I managed to do a not-too-bright handling error in both the Grand Prix Qualifier and the Steeplechase qualifier for offcourses in both cases, but the rest of those courses were wonderfully smooth and had no bars down, dagnabbit.
Sunday's Gamblers was, once again, one where only about 5 dogs out of 70 or more qualified. These rates on gamble Qs lately are way too low and USDAA should be hearing about it.
Saturday's Snooker, Tika knocked the first bar, and although I had a plan for recovery, I didn't execute it very well and we were off course almost immediately. Sunday's snooker was a monster, and actually Tika did very well through 4 complicated obstacles before we missed a truly challenging 180-degree turn and pull-through, but I didn't feel as bad about that as in past weeks where I was just doing stupid things.
Tika was clean in her half of the Pairs run but her partner was offcourse, which we actually had almost expected, since he's been out of commission for a while for injuries and a bit rusty. So no big deal, and I was happy with Tika's run, but still no Q.
Jake, on the other hand, whom I'm running only because he was annoyed if I didn't run him and who is presumably mostly retired, earned Qs in both of his runs. Not even close to placements, although he ran fairly well. The dogs he's competing against in the "Performance" class (mostly veterans) are and always have been faster than him, and he has slowed down so much in curved tunnels. But he was a good boy.