a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Day 1 at Haute TRACS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 1 at Haute TRACS

SUMMARY: Thursday.

Boost: 0 Qs of 6 runs.
Tika: 2 Qs of 6 runs, including a first in Team Snooker and 3rd in Masters Gamblers.

I'm really tired. Wonder why, with only 2 hours of sleep followed by 2-hour drive, hauling out and setting up my little home away from home (as seen in photo--Hi, Wendy!)?
 The weather was lovely all weekend. Although there had been a deluge the previous Sunday, the ground had dried very well by the time we all arrived. Grass was a bit long and uneven--I tripped on it once (sacrificing a Snooker Q with Boost, sigh) but lush and green.

I worked as Chief Course Builder all weekend, a far cry from my usual Score Table Czar duties. It was different--heavy work times and breaks are the inverse for these two jobs.

I don't know that I was any less busy, especially since this trial's chair abandoned rotation groups for the afternoon runs. so I spent most of my time walking back and forth to check where the dogs were in the running orders. It wouldn't have been too bad with dogs in the same height, but dogs of different heights or (as mine are) in championship and performance were all over the map. I marked conflicts, removed conflicts, moved dogs up then changed my mind and put them back or moved them down, negotiated with the gate stewards, and ended up missing two(!) of my runs (fortunately not Snooker, where you can't be late). I was accommodated--but doh! on one of them, Tika then broke her start-line stay and I just took her right off and put her away.

So--anyway--it worked out, like it always used to in the old days before some clever soul came up with rotation groups. I *love* rotation groups. I was not thrilled about doing it the old way--two rings was kind of manageable, but on 2 of the 4 days it was 3 rings we were balancing. I understand that rotation groups are not the most efficient for changing jump heights, but it sure is easier on the handlers.

Happy fast dogs

All weekend, I can barely believe this is the same Tika. She is SO fast, with not a tiny sign of being tired or sore EVER, all weekend. She had a 6.0 yards per second (yps) Jumpers run on Sunday, which is really fast even for the non-performance dogs--and SUNDAY, my goodness, she's obviously not tiring out at all!

Boost did flag a bit on Sunday, but then I had let her run with the Border Collies to her heart's content every evening in the open field. Not that she was slow on course, no way, but I could tell when coming out of the crate and playing that she was not holding up as well as Tika. But, oh, the speed on these dogs, and the pleasure in their faces when running! What a kick.

Thursday team

Another innovation I've loved is having all the DAM team events on the same day. We've been doing it for a few years now, but again this trial chair preferred the old way of splitting it. So if you wanted to do team, you were forced to come for 2 days (I know some people who might have come just for one day of team, or who had to rearrange their schedules after committing to a team because they'd expected only one day).  Anyway-- today we had Team Snooker, Team Standard, and Team Jumpers.
Remember that, in Team, what you do NOT want to do is to E or to get really low points. Consistency is important if you want the Q after 5 classes with your teammates.

Boost Team Snooker: A fabulous opening and start to the closing but looked at me coming out of a tunnel and ended up entering the weaves wrong. An average score, and I was thrilled with how smoothly she worked (and kept her bars up). Fortunately both of her teammates (Beadle and Chaps) earned very high scores, placing 2nd in their respective height groups.

Tika Team Snooker: A superstar! 5/4/7/7 in the opening and all the way through the closing. Of all the performance dogs, only 3 others got the same number of points and none higher. A first place and a Q. Our partner (Brenn) got almost as many points. (I neglected to check how many Championship dogs got better scores than she did, but i don't think many.)

Boost Team Standard: Melt down: ran past 2 jumps, skipped in the weaves, ended up backjumping for an Elimination. Curses! What's worse, Beadle is given an E that he didn't earn (I watched his run, but we didn't check the scores until late in the evening, way too late to fix it) and Chaps had 10 faults although a pretty fast time. This is dismal--two Es in Standard is almost the worst you can do in Team other than Eing in the Team Relay tomorrow.

Tika Team Standard: Oh-oh, missed the weave entry AND popped out early, so much for my reliable weaving dog! And I think missed a contact. Well, at least we didn't E, and Brenn had a faster time (didn't have to go back and fix the weaves twice) and was clean, so we're feelin' pretty good about our  Team standing so far. No Q.

Boost Team Jumpers:  Wow, a whole Jumpers run with no runouts and no bars down! Like--a clean run! Not very confident-looking--she's checking in with me too much, but fer cryin' out loud how come we can't have a clean run in regular Jumpers, where we really need it? Her time is 6 seconds off the fastest dog--no excuse for that for this dog except the checking in and hesitations. WHY WHY WHY don't I work on this more? (Because it's boring to do so...)  Addition: Wed. Apr 21, 10a.m.PDT: Beadle's Jumpers time was almost exactly the same as Boost's, but from a zillion rocket-speed wide turns (and runouts) rather than hesitation, and he picks up Boost's slackness in bar knocking by 4 of them, but still their 24 faults are wayyyYYYY better than an E, and Chaps is smooth and fast as usual, so we're good for this round.

Tika Team Jumpers: I crossed badly in a couple of places, almost forcing her  into a refusal and then to knock two bars (almost the only bars she knocked all weekend). That's OK, 12 faults doesn't kill us and her time is still decent and her partner is clean and pretty fast, but the glow from the Snooker is wearing off. No Q here, either.

Team Results Day 1

Brenn and Tika are in first place among all 13 Performance teams! Happiness ensues! But we know we have to stay on our toes tomorrow: Our points so far are 441, but 2nd place and 3rd are right behind at 437 and 431.

Boost, Beadle, and Chaps are in 4th from last place among the 24 Championship teams. Dismal. Maybe if other teams crap out in the Team Relay, bringing the average down, we can make it, but it doesn't seem likely. We've pretty much written it off and vow to just enjoy ourselves in Team Gamblers tomorrow and try not to look like complete idiots in the relay.

Regular classes

Boost Pairs Relay: Didn't stick her start line stay so I downed her, but when I released her, she went straight into an off-course tunnel for an E. Sigh. Then popped weaves, not Going On... not pretty.

Tika Pairs Relay: Paired with Brenn again because we could. ALSO didnt' stick her start line stay and knocked the first bar, then flew off the Aframe. Fortunately Brenn was clean and Tika was darned fast, so we managed a Q despite the faults but no placement.

Boost Standard: Half the dogs in 22" Eed on this course but that's not a great excuse for her being off course again. Ran past the 2nd jump on a lead-out pivot (thought we had that fixed! Again!), knocked a bar, wouldn't "go on" to the outer jump in a pinwheel although dagnabbit that's one of the few things we did practie a lot of this last week. Actually most of it was pretty smooth, and her contacts and weaves were nice. But sheesh.

Tika Standard: First of our FOUR chances this weekend to get that ONE standard Q we need for our PD3 title. Aaaaaaaand I got so far behind her, she was so fast and I was so drooopy, that I said "Teeter! Teeter!" and she pulled away from it and came back to me for a refusal and NQ! I couldn't figure it out until a friend (WV) who'd been sitting ringside came over to me and said, "Took me a minute but I finally figured out what happened: I thought you were saying 'Tika! Tika!' and pulling her off the teeter deliberately, then I realized you were saying 'Teeter!'"  Holy cow, Tika was perfect the rest of the run and it was something stupid like this that caught us? I cannot believe that (a) this has never been an issue before and (b) it has never occurred to me or anyone else in 8 years that "TEEEEka" and "TEEEEter" sound alike. Doh doh doh!

Tika Gamblers: Even though I tried to use the opening to practice turning the correct way out of the gamble tunnel, she turned the wrong way, and then did so again in the actual gamble, so no gamble Q, PLUS in the opening she ran past an Aframe (rare for her) so we didn't get 5 more points there, either, and ended up in 3rd of 6 dogs. OK, that's one Top Ten point instead of 5. I guess one is better than none, but disappointing.

Boost Gamblers: One "this jump?" dance in the opening cost us probably 2 points, but even so she ended up with the 2nd highest opening points of 46 22" dogs! But exactly the same problem in the gamble as Tika, so again no Q.

End of day

I've had worse days, but in terms of Qs and placements, pretty dismal. Still, I am absolutely jazzed about how well Tika is running--that Snooker run was amazing--and Boost isn't *terrible*.

I was invited to join my Turlock friends (including teammate Brenn's human mom, Boost's littermate Bette's human mom, and Boost's half-sister Quas's human mom) and KK for dinner--what a fun, pleasant group to spend time with.

1 comment:

  1. Funny thing about that "teeeeter" and "Teeeea". Recently I realized the following, same idea.... "tunnel" and "come"; "teeter" and "here". Doesn't really seem to make a difference, but for my next dog I'll be changing up some of those cues, just in case.