SUMMARY: ADCH Tika
Tika finally earned that Dang Third Super-Q on Saturday, so now she's ADCH C-ATCH Finchester's Tika. It is my hope that we can continue to earn more Super-Qs for the fun of it, more often than once every year or so.
Although I felt pretty good on Friday, a sleep interrupted constantly by coughing that night followed by the 4 a.m. wake-and-drive bit Saturday morning, plus apparently being not quite as over my flu-or-whatever as I had hoped, left me rather drained most of the day Saturday and off-and-on Sunday. When I saw the course map for Snooker, my hopes sank: It had only 3 reds with an easy-to-get-to weaves as #7, followed by a very tight little circle of obstacles 2 through 7 for the closing. That meant that it would be a speed course, not a handling course. Our odds are much better on a handling course because Tika can be fast but tight. However, on an all-speed course, we just can't quite keep up with the Top Ten Candidate crowd. So, even if we were to make it through for all 51 points, we were sure to be 4th or 5th or 6th with only three Super-Qs available.
I felt drained enough that I wasn't even sure that I had the energy to push Tika through this course at her top speed. So I went in with the expectation that this would not be our day. And we made it through, with only one place where she started to turn the wrong way after a red and I was afraid I'd just set her up for a backjump when I forgot to do a front cross after the first set of weaves, but we recovered and made it on all the way through with time left on the clock. Still, I watched two other dogs make it all the way through, too, and I put Tika away and wandered off to the latrines, grumbling to a couple of friends on the way that I'm tired of those times when my brain can hold it together for 51 points and still be an also-ran.
|Lovely ribbon and our fancy pole, filled to the brim with friends's signatures. (Might try for a clearer photo later today.)|
It's odd to admit that my greatest feeling upon discovering the Super-Q was exhausted relief, not euphoria nor even some level of elation...Eventually, cheerful satisfaction made an appearance on Sunday, and that's about where I am today.
So, in summary, it turns out that the course was, in fact, a handling course, not a speed course. There were a variety of issues, but I think primarily in two places. More people than I expected had trouble with the #3 and #4 discrimination, and I had already watched ten thousand people bomb on the threadle at #5. Before going in, after watching quite a few dogs take that #5 as a serpentine despite their handlers' attempts, I almost decided to try a different, desperate handling strategy. But, fortunately, my cooler brain prevailed. We had spent so much time in Rachel Sanders' classes working on the technique for the threadle--SO DANG much time--that I decided I would just rely on the strength of those many repeated practices, then and repeatedly in my own yard over the last couple of years. We've never been truly smooth at it, but we both know the drill and can usually execute it, clumsily but successfully. And I'm glad we did. It was really clumsy indeed, and we're lucky we weren't called for a refusal on the second half, but we did it. She was lovely all the way through, and now we're done with that.
I'm going to try posting a video later today.
But--we made another milestone on Sunday that, interestingly, I found that I felt more strongly about than the ADCH. Tune in later, same ADCH time, same ADCH channel--