a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Saturday At The Races

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday At The Races

SUMMARY: A good day. Not perfect, but good.

Notes from today:
  • Tika did 5 Aframes today. She stuck one correctly, flew off one entirely, and the others were legal but she's not waiting for me at all.

  • Tika had a nice, smooth, fast steeplechase run but I heard a bar clank behind me as we went. And there were something like 50 dogs at our height entered. Since only dogs within 125% of the top 3 dogs qualify, and with all this hot talent present, I figured we had just blown our chance to Q. So, when we got to the Aframe and she didn't even pretend to hit bottom or stick it, I stopped and waited for her to come to a stop and look at me and I made some rude comment to her about her Aframe and then we went on and finished.

    Well--turns out that we did NOT knock a bar, so we not only qualified, we were in 5th place out of the 14 dogs who made it to round 2 for tomorrow. We were 4 seconds off 1st place, but some of that is the waiting at the Aframe. (Of course, we also *gained* time by her not bothering to hit bottom and wait...) But I'm pleased about that.

  • Tika's gamble opening was bad on contacts. She flew off the Aframe, costing us 3 points; she didn't stick her teeter so I made her wait before going on; she did stick her second Aframe and I held it a long time to be sure she got the idea; then as a result of the long holds on the contacts she was 2 poles away from finishing a 5-point weave, which cost us another 5 points. So she had only 21 opening (needed only 15 to Q) where most of the competitive dogs were in the 26-29-point range.

    The tricky bit, however, was that only (I believe) 4 out of all the Performance dogs got the gamble itself; none of the 16" dogs got it; only 2 of the 12" dogs got it. We were the 8th 26" dog up and the first ones to get the gamble in our height class, so I was pretty excited. But, dang, then a total of 9 of the 34 dogs in our height class ended up getting the gamble, so we ended up in 7th place because of our low opening points. Once again, no placement ribbon. But that finishes our Gambler Master title and I'm very pleased about that and about the difficulty of the gamble.

  • Our Standard run was a mess. It was a very hard standard course; I don't think that 25% of the dogs Qed. But once again she didnt' stick her Aframe; didn't stick the teeter when I crossed in front; knocked 2 bars (although one was on a rough sequence that I think I didn't handle well).

  • But then in Pairs Relay, Tika and her partner both ran clean, so we Qed, earning our Relay Champion title. We weren't collectively fast enough to place, but we were in fact 10 seconds under course time, so I'm not dissatisfied with the results.

  • Two of Boost's siblings competed in USDAA for the first time this weekend, Derby and Gina (from L.A.). Both are reportedly doing very well. They both also apparently are doing full-height Aframes, which Boost still isn't.

  • I came home this evening, set my Aframe to at least 6'4", and had Tika do several Aframes with correct contacts, some backchaining from partway up and several all the way across. We'll see whether that fixes anything tomorrow.

  • So, tomorrow, it's Jumpers, Standard, Snooker (hoping for that Super-Q), Grand Prix, and Round 2 of Steeplechase. I'm tired already, and all I did most of the day was work the score table!
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