a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Home Again

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Home Again

SUMMARY: Competition done, another 21 runs, another exhausted handler.
Welllll Boost didn't capitalize on September's two Jumpers runs, which were both sooooo cloooose to Qs; Jumpers today had a bar down early, a runout on a difficult pull (which I didn't go back and fix--no point to it, really and I want to just keep her running) and a couple of confused turns, so no Q. But her time was 26.02, only a second and a half slower than the winning time. She's got the speed, just not the execution, dang it.

Boost did get all the way through the Snooker course I planned--unfortunately knocking a bar in the opening on a 7-pointer and ANOTHER on a 5-pointer, but we eked out a Q with the minimum required 37 points. Another useless Q to add to our list of non-SuperQs.

She also Qed in Pairs Relay  on Saturday with Dave G and Killy, with whom we've managed to rack up quite a few Qs. Unfortunately one or the other of us usually has a fault, keeping us out of placements--Saturday, boost had a beautiful run but teammate had a tiny issue. Sunday (yes, 2 relays in one weekend), Killy had a drop-dead astonishing run but boost popped out of the weaves when I hung back to try to get a front cross on the next obstacle to avoid a refusal situation there. So I had to go in to the weaves to fix them (5 faults AND probably 5 seconds wasted time as well). And then I didn't get the front cross in and had the refusal problem I had been worried about (another 5 faults and several more wasted seconds). With all of that, our combined time plus faults had us .03 over qualifying time, argh!

And so much for practicing weaves with distractions two weeks ago and Boost being perfect.

Boost summary:
  • Sat Pairs: Beautiful run, Q.
  • Sat Gamblers: Lovely opening but did an odd thing in the gamble to the wrong end of the tunnel as if she thought I were rear crossing, when I wasn't. And the scribe didn't get our last 3 opening points, so we even lost the distinction of officially being the highest-scoring non-Qing dog (which were 22 out of the 30 22" dogs).
  • Sat Standard: Yikes. Our scribe sheet read: SSSRSRRE. That's 4 bars in one run plus an assortment of refusals and runouts.
  • Sat Snooker: (see above)
  • Sat Steeplechase: Missed Qing by .4 seconds! Argh. But we did have a bar down, which was a 5-second penalty, plus she didn't keep going in a straight line at the end but instead turned back to me, wasting time. So I suppose it's not surprising that we didn't Q, but to be so close ANYWAY you know she was haulin'!
  • Sun Grand Prix: Mostly nice, but a refusal on a rear cross, which she then backjumped for offcourse.
  • Sun Gamblers: Nice opening until I ran out of obstacles and then I couldn't get her to send to anther random one, so I went in to fix it, so was out of position for what I thought was an easily doable serpentine gamble, oh well. 
  • Sun Pairs:  (see above)
  • Sun Standard: Bar and a refusal, but some nice parts.
  • Sun Jumpers: (see above)

So these were Boost's ribbons, out of 10 runs:

But, on the other hand--she had a great weekend in the worker raffle, winning a bag of chocolate truffles on Saturday and a $50 certificate towards a future trial on Sunday! Good girl! (Plus you can see my hat hair with my experiment on seeing whether I like growing out my bangs after having had them for... gaghhh...25 years.)

By comparison, here was Tika's haul for the weekend (maroons are Qualifying scores; others are placements):

Tika summary: 8 Qs out of 10 plus won Steeplechase Round 2. Brief rundown:
  • Sat Relay: Tika and perennial partner Brenn had lovely runs and a Q although a couple of handling bobbles knocked us to 3rd (out of 15 teams).
  • Sat Gamblers: Fast and happy, no problem with the gamble, so a Q, but flew off one Aframe in the opening, costing us 5 points and an easy first place, so dropped to 2nd (out of 9 dogs).
  • Sat Standard: Just a good girl! First and Q (out of 8 dogs).
  • Sat Snooker: Knocked the 2nd red bar (the only bar she knocked all weekend, I believe) and then I couldn't call her off the next obstacle, so an 8-point run (37 required to Q). She wanted to run more, too! Bummer. The first of our only 2 non-Qs.
  • Sat Steeplechase: Two Aframes and she got them both, but I didn't get in a front cross that I needed and she turned the wrong way after one jump, losing time and seeding us 3rd (instead of 1st) for Sunday's money Round 2. (Out of 10 dogs, 1.5 seconds out of 1st place.) 
  • Sun Steeplechase Round 2: Flyin'! Won! (1.5 secs faster than our closest competitor.) $24 prize actually covers our Steeplechase entry fee for a change. But oh!--I have to tell you about the miracle on this one--right at the beginning she whanged a bar on a jump so loudly that I knew it had to have fallen--but it didn't. And then later in the run she actually hit the jump standard as she turned over it, again quite loudly, and again the bar didn't fall! Astonishing--so apparently The Fates had in mind that we win this Steeplechase, for whatever odd reason it might be. I'm grateful!
  • Sun Grand Prix: I didn't get to where I needed to be and she bought the wrong side of a tunnel for elimination, but the rest was really beautiful. That was the 2nd of our only 2 non-Qs for the weekend.
  • Sun Gamblers: I risked doing an opening with 6 contacts in it, nice for Boost but scary for Tika. She got feet in all the yellow zones but leaped forward each time when I needed her to turn each time, PLUS I was working the contacts so hard that it slowed her down quite a bit, and so we wasted enough time that she didn't finish her last 3-point obstacle (weaves, most of hte way through but close doesn't count), but did the gamble perfectly for a Q. So those 3 points put us in 3rd instead of 1st (out of 6 dogs).
  • Sun Relay: Tika and Catahoula partner CateE both had blazing runs for a Q and I thought surely we'd won, but nooo; still, 2nd place (out of 13 teams).
  • Sun Standard: Thought it was a pretty good run but Brenn edged us by a whole second, leaving Tika in 2nd place (of 6) with a Q. Is Tika getting tired and hot maybe?
  • Sun Jumpers: Tika love jumper! Tika want more jumper! 1st place out of 10 dogs and quite a bit faster than anyone else, so I guess not that hot & tired. Nice final weekend Q for 1:30 on a very hot afternoon.

And it must've been in the mid to upper 80s this afternoon. I crated the dogs out of the car and today set up the canopy *over* MUTT MVR to keep things cooler for them.

For the first time--YAYYYY USDAA!--there were qualifying ribbons for Steeplechase AND placement ribbons! The argument has always been "you get a check, why would you want a ribbon?" But I guess they finally saw the light.

So I grabbed a passer-by to take our photo with our check, our qualifying ribbon from round 1, and our big fancy ribbon from round 2, but I accidentally grabbed just an ordinary first place ribbon, darnit; you can kinda see the big fancy 1st place in the photo of all her ribbons above.

So how do I remember all this? I often get comments when people see my own personal data-collection form and all the data I add to it over the weekend. Here's what it looked like for this weekend. Fun stuff, huh? Next, this will all go into my database and then I can do fun queries on it like how many Jumpers Boost has attempted without getting any Qs, that sort of thing. Which, incidentally, is now 56 with only one Q...sighhhhhhhhhhhh...

Anyway, it was a beautiful weekend, Tika ran great, Boost had some lovely moments, friends were abundant and cheerful and successful, what more could one ask?

Except for driving 15 minutes up to UC Davis where my oldest beautiful smart personable niece is now a freshman (incredible!) and taking her to dinner. I got to see her dorm room, reminisce endlessly about my college days in the dorms, hear about her experiences as we walked into downtown for an excellent meal at a crepe place (I had an omelette, she had pasta, go figure), and even briefly meet a couple of her friends.

Wonderful fun all around, and now I am--yes--exhausted and ready for bed.

(P.S. Tika's Top Ten points--which I am still not paying any attention to despite what you may think--are now updated with this weekend's additional points. Click the link above.)


  1. Wow! I'm too tired to read this right now. (Having a job sucks!) but the pictures of the ribbons...WOW!

  2. I'm always surprised when anyone reads any of the details of my agility weekends; it was all intended primarily for me. So no need to apologize OR to read it!