a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tika Summary and Off to Nap

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tika Summary and Off to Nap

SUMMARY: Tika does worse--but better--

I'm thinking that we did better than in previous years, because Tika had no minor course faults in either the Steeplechase or Grand Prix, unlike 5 faults in each the previous 2 years. I'm thinking that we did worse, because we Eed in both within sight of the finish line.

I'm thinking that we did worse than last year, because then Tika was 11th out of something like 130 26" dogs in Snooker and this year we knocked 2 bars in the opening, although I believe that our score was still above average. But I'm thinking that we did better because:
  • We did not Eliminate in Team Standard unlike previous years, although we still managed a bar, a runout, and a refusal (which isn't so hot either)

  • We ran clean in Team Jumpers, which is not all that common for Tika, but it wasn't a particularly fast or tight run. Still, we did place something like 37th of 130 dogs, which I'm not at all ashamed of; it was a challenging course.
  • We had a Team Gamblers run that's one of those runs I love to dream about and get so rarely in reality; Tika was turned on and blasting full live-on-the-edge speed, my timing apparently was right on; the course was our kind of course; even though I released her early on her contacts, she didn't actually fly off; and we got the same number of points as 4 other top dogs, including CA competors Nancy with Panic and Olga with Luz, which I'm very pleased with, although all 4 had faster times than Tika's, dropping us to 12th of 130 dogs so no ribbon. (But I'm not complaining! The run felt marvelous and I'm still reliving it.)

  • My teammates also held it together for all the team events, and we made the final cut of 30 teams out of 208! Which I never imagined we'd do! In fact, we were 26th going into the finals, and we ended up 22nd overall.

  • But I think I'm doing worse because in the relay my teammates ran clean but Tika knocked her first bar AND I misplaced a perfectly ordinary type of front cross to the weaves, costing us 2 points for the refusal and probably 2 or 3 seconds of wasted time.

    But I think I'm doing better because in the Power and Speed, Tika got all the way through the power part (contacts, weaves, broad spread hurdle) and then once again turned into full-speed rocket-powered Tika for the Jumpers section AND she kept her jumps up AND we had absolutely no bobbles and I felt that I was in the right spot for every turn, which she did all of without a millisecond's hesitation. I didn't work tight turns, just letting her fly comfortably wide around a couple of turns, knowing that in this crowd we can't possibly compete for speed among these 130 north america's top 26" dogs, even though I KNOW that we can get right in there if we're close--I need some work on my self confidence, because in fact we placed 10th for a ribbon! Our first-ever USDAA nationals ribbon!

    I'd been moaning all weekend about wanting just one measly ribbon (how quickly we forget--just a couple of months ago I was moaning about wanting just one measly team Q, and of course lots of people don't qualify for the natioanls at all, let alone in all 3 events as Tika did). So, had I been able to shave even half a second off, I think we'd have been in 8th, and so on... would never have been able to clear 1st place's time, I'm almost certain, because Tika was flying and a total agility machine and I've seldom seen her better. Another run among those perfect moments in agility that make it all worthwhile, no matter whether there's a ribbon or not, handling a dog covering 6 to 7 yards per second without a fear or bobble or moment of confusion.

    So, OK, with the appearance in the team finals, and 12th in gamblers and 10th in P&S, I'm really a pretty happy camper. When what I had been hoping for & almost expecting was move-ups in GP and Steeplechase, or maybe another high placement in snooker, and never even thought about these as possibilities for us!

    That should teach me something. I'll think about it when I wake up.

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