a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Day 2 at Haute TRACS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 2 at Haute TRACS


Tika: 3 Qs (including one super-Q) of 6 runs, 2nd in Team Gamblers, 2nd in team standard, 1st in Snooker, winner of Performance DAM team.

Boost: 3 Qs of 6 runs, 3rd in Team Gamblers.

I was SO tired Thursday night and I slept SO well! (I seldom have trouble sleeping at trials, I'm so tired, and this was particularly true this time.) The back of my van was plenty comfy with just my down comforter wrapped around me (lying on chaise lounge pads). I feel considerably perkier in the morning than I did the whole previous day. Amazing what actual sleep will do for one.

The day started off with a hint that great things were on the way: Way back before Easter, I posted on Facebook that I couldn't find my absolute favorite Easter candy and could anyone find some for me. Well, G.J., whom I've barely met before and I don't know that we've ever talked much at all, handed me a bag that she'd been saving for me! I fell to my knees and genuflected several times. Yum yum YUM! What better way to start the day?

Grand Prix

The day started with Grand Prix, and it didn't start well.

Tika Grand Prix: Tika continued to run with amazing speed and energy. She ran Performance GP beautifully, but I tried for an aggressive front cross and was late late late, pushing her right to an off-course jump. Crapola.

Boost Grand Prix: knocked one bar pretty quickly, which meant no Q for us, either. So we turned the run into a contact practice, holding and praising on each contact. She knocked another bar but mostly the run was smooth and master-dog-looking. Still--2 bars. Sigh.

Team Gamble

This was a typical team gamble: Accrue points as usual during the opening, but then a special gamble in which you can accrue as many points as you can according to the rules, but if you don't cross the finish line before the gamble time is up, you can't keep the gamble points. In this case, you could do the obstacle(s) up close for regular points or from behind the line for double points. This was basically back-to-back tunnels.

I figured that I could do 5 tunnels in 14 seconds (depending on which end we started and how close we were at the beginning) for 15 points plus one point for the finish jump--or I could try it from a distance, because 3 tunnels and the finish jump doubled would be 20 points. Anything more would be a bonus.

Tika Perf Team Gamble: Excellent in the opening, but I let her drift as we approached the gamble, so when the whistle blew, she was far afield, and then mayhem ensued. Instead of getting 3 or more tunnels, I got 2 tunnels and 2 jumps, but it was doubled, so not as bad as it could have been. We ended with 49 points in 2nd place, but the winning dog got 55, way ahead of us. Still--for team, not a bad score at all. And partner Brenn--well, guess who that dang winning dog with 55 points was? So we cleaned up on that event.

Boost Team Gamble: Ran past a dang tunnel in the opening, forfeiting 3 points, but did a bit better in the closing with 3 tunnels and a jump, ending with 51 points, good enough for 3rd place among the 42 22" dogs. Very cool! (1st place had 54, less than the performance 1st place in tika's group! Don't let anyone tell you that Performance is an easy place to beat the competition!)

Beadle had trouble with this one, so points were low, but Chaps had a great run with 13 gamble points that should've been  doubled to 26, probably the highest in the show. But did we learn our lesson about checking the sheets early? No! Sure enough, the double wasn't marked, so we lost even more points.

So mine were good runs but with visible flaws.


Tika Jumpers: I missed my run, so they had to reset all the bars to our height for one dog. I needed to lead out 3 jumps for my best approach. I took about 3 steps and she whipped right by me and immediately off course. So I took her off (sorry, pole setters) and put her back into her crate without me running a step. Gah.

Boost Jumpers: And here's the first of Boost's 3 chances to pick up that Jumpers Q for her MAD after 40 NQs in a row. Gah. It's not an easy course, I think about half the dogs Eed. So you might have been as surprised as I was to get to the point in the course where there are just 4 jumps left in an arc to the finish line and we are CLEAN and I'm trying not to get my hopes up, and trying not to let my brain freeze and do something stupid, and trying to relax and just work every jump, and, WOOOOOOWWWWWEEEEE she's over the last jump and it's a Q and her MAD! I am very very very happy as in yelling and jumping and crying and hugging and Boost clearly thinks I've gone off the deep end.

It wasn't a great run--there were several places where she looked back at me or hesitated before taking a jump as if trying to decide whether to turn back to me or go around it, but she did it. 3 and a half seconds slower than the winning dog, and really with her speed capability that's very slow, but it was CLEAN!!!! Yow!

I told everyone in sight. Some of my dearie friends picked up on it and made an announcement about the 40 NQs and now MAD. I kept getting congratulations all weekend. For one dumb Jumpers Q and a mere MAD!

Team Relay

  The relay course was a tough one. Boost's team was pretty much writing it off ahead of time (well, at least for Boost and Beadle, those manic super-powered Border Collies on a tight and challenging course). Eing in Team Relay costs you humongous numbers of points and one dog on a team Eing can drop a first place team out of the qualifying list, depending on how everything else goes.

We checked the #2 and #3 team scores (behind Brenn & Tika after the 1st 3 rounds), saw that #2 had combined scores quite a bit less than ours, and one dog from #3 was injured and was out of the competition. So all we had to do was to not E in the team relay and we'd keep our winning position.

Tika Relay: There was that one pesky tunnel out in the far corner. Tika ALMOST went into it, giving me a heart attack, but called off it (meant my timing was bad). Brenn came so close to going into the tunnel that the judge jammed the whistle into his mouth, but she also called off. Woo-hoo, and we won!

Boost Relay: Well, I'll tell ya, it wasn't pretty, but the underdog team came through. We had a lot of faults among us--can't tell you how many because I never was able to find the accumulator sheet for this run. But apparently lots of teams crapped out, and it proved to be the great equalizer: I think that all but 5 or 6 teams ended up Qing, including The BBC! Yay for us! Would've been interesting to know how high we'd have placed if not for the scoring errors.

And so, that was it, I was ecstatic and ready to just wrap it up and go home! Won the DAM tournament with Tika, Qed unexpectedly with Boost in same, and BOOOOOOST'S MAAAADDDDDD! But of course who wants to quit when things are going so well?


Tika Standard: So here comes Tika's 2nd attempt to earn that 3rd Q for her Performance MAD. Wouldn't it be cool if she were to get it the same day that Boost got hers? But nooo--Popped the dogwalk AND the aframe and my calls were all late, so got lots of wide turns. Apparently it was a tough course, though, because we still placed 2nd! For top 10 points! Go figure. But no Q.

Boost Standard: Three bars, two big bobbles, so mostly practiced contacts again. Still, funny, placed 20th of 43 dogs with 15 faults! Yeah, tough course.


Last class of the day. Four reds optional, but in timing it out, I realized that four reds would be required for Super-Qing (or placing). There was no way I could do all four 7s in the opening on this course, but I thought that I had a reasonable chance with 4/7/7/7 for Tika and 6/7/7/7 for Boost.

Boost Snooker: Aaaaaand she knocked the first red. So then, instead of doing a fast blast through #6, we had to threadle our way across the field carefully (wasting time) to get to the next red. She did the red+7 perfectly, then I caught my toe in a hunk of grass and crashed. I pulled myself up as quickly as possible after determining that I hadn't broken either knee, but that wasn't really all that quick. Boost then successfully and beautifully completed the rest of the opening and 2 thru 4 in the closing before we ran out of time. Curses. Not even a regular Q, let alone super.

Tika Snooker: To make up for it, Tika was absolutely spot on perfect in her run, winning her height and actually having the 2nd highest of *all* performance dogs all heights, beaten only by one 16" Border Collie. Yowza, I like that!

End of day

As co-chief course builder, we were supposed to set the Steeplechase ring for the following morning, but the judge forgot her course map back at the hotel. Then got lost going back to the hotel and disappeared for an hour or so. We finally split, but it gave us a chance to sit and chat and joke a bit.

Then Agility Angel Mary S, who had a 2+-hour drive home ahead of her, waited with me for the judge, then took me to the Safeway so that I could pick up a big sugary cake to share the following morning. Thank you, Mary, you really rounded out my wonderful day nicely!

And then, of course, dinner  with KK and the laugh-a-minute Turlock crew once again, celebrating our successes.

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