a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Saturday at the Races

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday at the Races

SUMMARY: Boost can't do weaves--argh! But Qs and places in Snooker. Tika has nice run in Snooker and Qs in Steeplechase finally.

Today felt like an odd day, like I *was* clicking with Boost and NOT clicking with Tika.

Boost's day

Boost's first run was snooker, a nice flowing course that none-the-less required some crosses and turns, and we did it perfectly, no bobbles or confusions, and nice tight turns. It felt really good. Weaves were last, and she entered incorrectly at the 2nd pole (not a problem in advanced), and when I brought her back and lined her up, she did them perfectly for a Q and a 2nd place.

After that--bleah.

Her Grand Prix run was nice except for a knocked bar until we got to the weaves, and just couldn't get them--I think we tried three times and I think she did get them on the third try, then after that was a mess. Steeplechase was similar--lovely up to the first set of weaves, missed (a difficult) entry, couldn't get her started correctly, finally did but popped out at #10 and I just went on. At the second set of weaves, I tried twice to get her in and failed and got whistled off for too many Rs and Es. Except for the weaves, she flowed nicely around the course, and kept her bars up.

Standard--mostly very nice but she left the ring when she smelled her mother and/or her breeders--their canopy was right across from the Aframe, and the people weren't there but the dogs were, and she just completely ignored me trying to call her back for I don't know HOW long. Eventually came back but then had to make 3 tries at the weaves. Gamblers opening--started with weaves since that had worked before, but needed 3 tries to get a complete set, and then the gamble was too hard for our experience.

Still, except for the weaves, she felt much better on course than she has before, and I think a lot of that is from the 4 days of work at Camp.

Tika's Day

Tika's Standard was smooth and fairly fast except that she didn't stick the Aframe and when I stopped because she didn't, she had already made her approach to the next obstacle and pulled off it for a refusal. Gamblers wasn't a bad opening--she got away from me once during the opening to mess up my strategy (like the other weekend), then a hard weave entry in the gamble I guess I didn't signal at the right time because she entered the weaves at pole #2.

Snooker was nice, but not a Super-Q. Only 3 of a very large class of 22" dogs got 51 points (Tika jumps 26"), so I opted out of a very challenging 51 and went for 50, hoping that not as many 26"ers would get the 51 since our class was half the size, but in fact 3 got it, and one 50 pointer beat us on time, so we were in 5th but there were only 4 Super-Qs. I don't need them, but I'd like to prove that the 3 I got weren't flukes. And maybe get some placement ribbons.

Grand Prix--oh, gosh, I don't even remember what all happened. Some kind of fault early on (maybe a knocked bar?) and then she didn't stick her teeter at a point where I needed her to, so I was on the wrong side for the last 6 obstacles and we were all over the place with spins and stuff. Never did check to see whether we Qed, but I don't need Qs for her now--I want wins! Ribbons! Glory!

In Steeplechase, she didn't stick her Aframe again but this time it saved me because I once AGAIN bobbled one weave entry (how can one handler with a dog with great weaves miss so many lately with her?) and had to bring her back around from an odd angle to get back into the weaves--lots of wasted time, but we managed to Q with less than a second to spare. So if she had stuck her Aframe, we probably wouldn't have made time even with a quick release. But I am VERY glad to have gotten the Q; only one more and that'll complete all of her Nationals Qualifications. Next chance isn't til June.


So tomorrow Tika gets to run in Steeplechase round 2. I'll have to find a way to really drive her through it; today her time was 8 (!) seconds slower than the fastest dog (even subtracting 3-4 seconds for the weave muck-up, that's a lot of time). We're in next to last place of 14 dogs, so we run second. And I think only the top 6 in 26" end up in the money.

Boost just has Standard, Jumpers, and Pairs, I think. It's looking more and more like she's not going to be running in nationals this year. Dang.

Her sister Gina was up from L.A. with some awesome-looking running contacts, and they run pretty smoothly and pretty fast, but all it takes is one screw-up to not Q, and they seemed to get those single screw-ups too often. I hope Ill get to see her run some more tomorrow. They'll be dynamite when they avoid the errors. She had very nice weaves, too.

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