SUMMARY: USDAA trial first day.Our agility day started the way saturdays usually start--the alarm going off at 4:30 in the morning. I was dreaming either about the handlebars on my bike not staying straight (I haven't ridden my bike in many years) or about the huge garden spider who had spun her web in my doorway and was thereby catching pigeons trying to fly through. And I couldn't take pictures of it because my camera was in another room, and to get there, I'd have to go through the doorway--
Anyway, the alarm went off and I remained dreamily groggy the whole time while dressing, pottying the Merle Girls, and filling the cooler. My mind's built-in MP3 player started singing:
Oh, how I hate to get up in the morrrrrrrning!
Oh, how I'd love to remain in bed!
But we got on the road in record time and, after an 85-minute drive, arrived at the Quail Lodge/Golf mecca agility site. A friend saved an ideal place for me, right alongside the entry road, so I could just toss everything out of MUTT MVR right there, go park the van, and then come back and set up.
...The girls think there must be something more interesting going on over THERE. (Tika: "Maybe food!" Boost: "Maybe Border Collies!")...
The morning started with foggy overcast--had to use my wipers on full on the way down--but it burned off quickly and we had perfect sunshine on the most perfect lawn I've ever seen that doesn't have a cup and a flag in the middle of it. And a cold marine wind that made the ambient temperature just about right.
Even the portapotties were in bright, cheery, sunny colors, none of this gloomy blue bathroom portosan color that you usually see.
We are now set up and ready for a successful day of agility! (Regarding recent posts about packing for agility then and now--purple/teal striped mat, purple/teally sheet to throw over crates, purple striped beach towel atop crates, purple/teal crates, purple/teal treat holder, purple chair, 2 purple gear bags...)
Anyway--Boost started the day in style, by Qing in Standard on a course in which only 9 of 53 dogs in her height Qed! (25 Eliminated.) We placed 8th--a little issue with not keeping the elbows down on the table, although we probably lost only a few seconds on it this time.
So if BOOST and I can do it, then Supertika and I surely can, right? Well--yah, lovely on everything except going from the table to the tunnel, where she cut behind me and went into the wrong end. My feet, hands, shoulders, everything were pointing to the correct end. However, in fact, I could've solved the problem by just hanging back 2 steps and running with her instead of assuming she'd come where I was pointing. Dang. Is it going to be another one of those days? So E for Teek in standard. No top ten points for YOU! Curseeees!
Next up: Steeplechase. So what happened to the Boostergirl who ran standard with me? What a disaster!
Tika ran Steeplechase well but didn't feel fast to me. She finished in 3rd place (out of 8 dogs) with a time of 33.10, 2.5 seconds behind Daz and .6 seconds behind Chaps. We qualified easily to run in the money round tomorrow, but only 3rd place, sigh. (I know, how quickly I've become accustomed to Tika's successes in Performance.)
Grand Prix came after that. Boost's run wasn't as much of a disaster as Steeplechase, but we E'ed on refusals--not as bad as it sounds: skipped a weave pole and had to come back for it, and then massive confusion on one jump for 2 refusals on the same jump. Otherwise most of it looked pretty darned good.
Tika again was smooth in the Grand Prix but felt slower than recent weekends, and she--yes--finished 3rd (out of 8 dogs), with a time of 38.67, 1.3 seconds behind Daz and .33 seconds behind Chaps. Yeah well dang, so it's going to be one of THESE kinds of days instead, is it? But at least we're Qing and placing. Still, I could've really used the Standard Top Ten points--T10 is what we're here for!
Gamblers picked up a bit. Boost had a lovely opening, although she knocked one bar and ran past one, AND she got the gamble without a single hesitation. (It was very similar to a gamble we'd worked on in the back yard this week, so, hey, practice DOES help!) She placed 12th of 59 dogs--those extra 2 points would've maybe put her in the ribbons. But I was pleased anyway.
Tika knocked a bar in her Gamblers opening, and BARELY got toenails into two Aframe contacts--all scary in this crowd, but she aced the gamble, and I apparently aced my planning because she was into the gamble just a fraction of a second after the whistle blew. Turns out it that was our saving grace--three of us got the same number of points (danged knocked bar) but we won on time. So 1st place of 8 and 5 Top Ten points! Yeeha!
Then Snooker. Boost bobbled her way through a moderatlely complex opening--actually most of it was pretty good, but we probably wasted time in a couple of places that would've kept us from completely the whole course anyway. But it didn't matter, as she knocked bar #3 in the closing, keeping us out of even Qing range.
Tika got through the same opening, looking considerably perkier (I think she likes my heightened excitement in Snooker, although I try to remain calm)--although her Aframe was amazingly iffy. AND she made it all the way through the closing, although my heart almost stopped when I was SURE she had missed the Aframe contact again--but no, then the judge called the point value and we were safe! After the 1st 11 dogs, we were in first place, but had to wait an hour before the last 2 dogs ran to know whether we actually won and got a Super-Q (we did! and for 7 Top Ten points because there were 13 dogs).
...why we particularly like SMART's SuperQ ribbons...
Then came Jumpers. Agggghhhh, Boost's first half of the course was gorgeous and fast. Her second half of the course was gorgeous and fast. It was that jump in the middle that she wouldn't come in to me over, instead running past, full sped, LOOKING AT ME DAGNABBIT THE WHOLE TIME and took an off-course jump. Eh, who wants any danged Jumpers Qs anyway.
Tika, whose favorite class really is probably jumpers, because there are no pesky contacts, aced it, winning (1st out of 10, for 5 top ten points--dang, one dog scratched or that'd have been 7 points. But actually we've got so many in Jumpers now that I think we're home free in this event).
...Tika's ribbon collection from today looks a whole lot better than last trial's entire weekend...
Boost, however, redeemed herself by winning a free day's entry in the raffle. Seems to me that Boost has been my most successful dog in raffle winnings. And I'm likin' it.
The schedule said we'd be done around 6:00, but it neglected to tell me (or I just wasn't thinking straight), that they added Strategic Pairs to my ring after that. And since they're "paying" me for being Score Table Czar, I felt obligated to stick around to score that event. (We didn't enter it for various reasons.) So here's when I actually left Carmel for my minimum 85-minute drive--which due to traffic turned into about a 100-minute drive--
So it was arrive home, stash cooler ice & drinks for tomorrow, load photos off camera, label & upload them, shower, dinner, dry hair, type up blog... OMG it's 11 already?!?!
Well, you know what song I'll be singing in the morning tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 5:00.