a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Notes from the Weekend

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Notes from the Weekend

SUMMARY: A rare Tika 1st place; Boost's first Masters Q; lovely weather; low Q rate overall.

  • The weather was lovely for October. I've been to many miserable rainy October trials (and, in contrast, that horrific Oakland fire was on a hot October weekend). Cold at night, but warmed up during the day. Almost hot for an hour or two Sunday afternoon, but still cool in the shade.
  • I could hardly wait to get Boost into masters to cut down on my ring conflicts. Instead, it was worse now than before. Running 2 rings simultaneously with Masters classes and my dogs in different heights, I missed so many walkthroughs (took them late) and had to run out of order so many times that people were beginning to talk. Or maybe that was just the voices in my head.
  • Wear sunscreen! Wear sunscreen! Wear sunscreen!
  • On Saturday, in 26" Standard, only 2 dogs of 22 ran clean and Tika was the faster of the two, for a first place; only her third Masters 1st (all of them this year) out of 245 lifetime Masters runs.
  • Boost earned her first Masters Q on that same Standard course, her first time in Masters Standard.
  • Out of 10 runs per dog this weekend, Tika got only 3 Qs and Boost only 1. This is two weekends in a row that Tika's been quite a bit below her 50% average. My only Q all day sunday was Tika's Jumpers run and only because the scribe didn't record (or judge didn't call) a knocked bar.
  • Agility trials are hard places to watch what you eat. Muffins (high calories, if you've never checked) available in the morning. "Score table goodies" for workers all weekend--I tried to restrain myself but had one red vine, half a dozen peanut M&Ms, two Reese's peanut butter cups, and a couple handfuls of roasted nuts. Friends had a burrito feed Saturday night, which wasn't too bad because we could make our own, but there were also hot-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, yummy Trader Joe's ginger snaps, and a chocolate cake that couldn't be beat.
  • On a typical agility weekend, my pedometer tells me I cover a tremendous amount of ground. Just under 10 miles each day this weekend. Doubt that it made up for all those desserts!
  • Bars, bars, bars. Tika missed a Q in Snooker by only one bar (#5 in the closing), a Q in Saturday's Jumpers by 2 bars, a Q in Steeplechase by 1 bar, a Q in Grand Prix by 2 bars (knocked 3(!) total), and that mysterious vanishing bar fault in Sunday's Jumpers. Boost missed a Q in Steeplechase by a bar (although we had other problems also, she'd still have Qed without the bar), she missed a Pairs leg by a bar (although also had other problems...ditto), a Grand Prix by 1 bar (knocking 2 total), and Sunday's Jumpers by 3(!) bars.
  • Tika's contacts: Missed 5 points in Saturday's Gambler's opening by popping the A-frame, dropping her from 4th to 7th place out of 23 dogs. She got called on the A-frame in Sunday's Standard. She barely got toenails in it most of the weekend.
  • Supersize me? On the way home this evening, I decided that I needed caffeine and something more substantial than an energy bar and fruit. Stopped at (speaking of watching one's eats) Carl's Jr. Wanted something more than a minuscule Coke, so ordered medium. Decided I was in the mood for fries, not teeny weeny, so ordered medium. I almost never do fast-food sodas or fries, so my eyes bulged when I saw what mediums have grown into. Today's medium soda, a few years back would've been a super-size. Medium fries had more potatoes than Idaho! (Of course I had to eat them all, anyway, because they were there. And tasty. And I was very hungry. I'm guessing 400 calories just for that.) (Nope, just checked their web site: 460! Argh.)
  • Boost's weaves: They've been SO fixed...for just a fraction over 2 weeks only??! First run of the weekend, Gambler's, she did the first set of weaves perfectly, then popped out early on the second set. A warning I didn't heed (not that I could've done anything differently). They were lovely in Standard, Snooker, Steeplechase, Sunday's relay, Sunday's Grand Prix... and then in Sunday's Gamblers, she popped out early 5 times in a row despite various attempts on my part to get her to realize the error of her ways, including the 5th time when we walked off the course. That didn't seem to do it, either; in Standard, she popped out early again. Curses!
  • On the other hand, her Saturday Jumpers run was almost perfect. I got a chance to walk it only twice (once to check the lay of the land and once more to start a handling strategy), so, near the end, I looked away from her to see where I needed to be, and she pulled around a jump for a runout. But no bars, no refusals! That felt pretty good.
  • Sunday's Gamble was send over a jump to a tunnel, then go parallel to the gamble line over a teeter and a jump. Easy peasy and lots of dogs got it. For some reason I can't explain, Tika turned back to look at me right before going into the tunnel--for a refusal, negating the gamble-- and then did the whole thing beautifully, and had more opening points than the first-place dog. Crap. It was exactly the same scenario that kept us from a perfect weekend (and probably high in trial) at the CPE nationals last year. So I must be doing something, just not sure what.
  • Boost's start line stay remained perfect all weekend. She left maybe 3 contacts before getting the "break" command, but at least she ran fast to 2on-2off and stopped each time. Unlike certain Tika animal's.
  • Driving home into the west at twilight is a favorite time. Orange glow of the sunset fading over the dark silhouettes of rolling hills, the sky a velvety royal blue, the (usually annoying) lights and signs of civilization turned into magical illuminations against the hills' black background. Ahhhh--(sigh of contentment).

1 comment:

  1. I do enjoy your blogs. I wish I had the self discipline to do my own. I'll toss in my own. 2 out of 4 Qs for Freeway. The Wild card Q was the first one we earned as a real team.