a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Thursday at Haute TRACS

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday at Haute TRACS

SUMMARY: Double Team Qs and some tournament success for Tika.
We mostly got lucky on the weather. Despite National Weather Service dire warnings for areas to the immediate east, west, and north of us, we got off pretty easy. Thursday morning started with a chill but only a few clouds in the sky.

During the afternoon, a thunder and lighting storm passed us off to the east but never came close to us. Thursday evening, we had a very few rain showers. Friday morning--frost on the ground, ice on the canopies where Thursday night's rain had accumulated, but then Friday and Saturday's skies remained mostly clear and it warmed up enough for shirtsleeves on Sunday afternoon (between chill blasts of wind). Cool-to-cold but sunny, perfect weather for happy agility dogs.

DAM Team Tournament

Tika and Maddie teamed for the Performance Team tournament (and we didn't come up with a clever team name); Boost teamed with Lexie the Border Collie and a last-minute substitution of Tala, Boost's mother, as our third. We ran as ABLe dogs (ABL initials of the original 3 dogs). --BTW, performance has only 2 dogs per team.

Boost's contributions to ABLe Dogs looked like: "Did not E in Jumpers." (Bar and two refusals.) "Did not E in relay." (Compare to Standard, where her scribe sheet read "S R R S R E" (that's 2 bars, 3 refusals, and an offcourse) and it was actually worse than that.) In the Gamble, she had decent opening points but in the closing futzed with the weave entry, then I didn't call enough and she came onto the teeter from the side, negating our gamble points. In Snooker, knocked one of the reds in the opening and then died on a stupid refusal to #4 in the closing. (She was running straight at it, then turned back to me. Gah!)

Not that everyone was perfect. Two of us Eed in Standard, the other got almost no Snooker points (and none of us got a lot there), two of us got 0 gamble points.

As a team, we did manage to be 5th overall in Jumpers out of 27 teams (quite a few Es, apparently).

Still, after 4 rounds, ABLe Dogs looked pretty dismal. Rules note: Qing in team is based on the average of the top 3 teams over all the rounds; teams within 25% of that average will Q. After 4 rounds, we were wayyyyy behind the top 3 teams (and plenty of others) and a long way out of Qing range:

For us to qualify, the top 3 teams (and maybe more) would have to E in the Relay, and really, what are the odds of that? Scoring note: Relay is the most heavily weighted class. For example, for each dog that Es in Jumpers, the team loses 100 pts; in Standard, 120 points; in Team, 150 points.

The fifth and final event, Relay, didn't look terribly gnarly--I swear I've seen worse--but it definitely wasn't a Boost kind of course; we bumbled our way through it with assorted bars and refusals, but, as I said, did not E.

In fact, all three of us got through it without Eing, and that turned out to be our shining moment. A friend and I compared notes and counted with disbelief as 5 out of the top 6 teams Ed in the relay, and I stopped counting after that. As a result--we Qed! The lesson: Never give up! (FYI, teams with fewer than 300 pts in the Relay had at least one E in the relay.)

Tika's team day went a little better--Tika did well enough in Gamblers, Stndard, and Snooker to earn Qs on those individual courses (it's complicated), but in Jumpers she cut behind me (I swear I never do blind crosses in practice) on a push-through and backjumped for an E. She placed 3rd of 9 in Standard and Gamblers. Placements in these classes don't count towards top 10 and don't even get ribbons, but it's always nicer to place than not, IMHO. Would've been 2nd in Snooker if I hadn't forgotten which side of the tunnel on #6; placed 6th instead. (Yeah, yeah, woulda coulda shoulda.)

Maddie did worse in Gamblers than Tika, which still didn't hurt us as much as that Jumpers E, but otherwise we were pretty evenly matched--in Standard, as a team we were 2nd out of 17 teams and 4th in Snooker.

In the relay, both dogs had scary almost-offcourse moments where we were screaming our dogs' names, but we survived the relay intact, holding our place and finishing 6th overall of 17 with a solid Q. Funny that almost NO performance teams Ed in the relay! (Those would be <100pts.) Those older, more experienced dogs really hold it together, I guess.


If 5 runs for the day weren't enough, we also had Steeplechase Round 1 and Round 2 for those who qualified in Round 1.

Tika ran a pretty fast course but I somehow pulled her past a jump--maybe I was signalling a serpentine when I didn't need one?--and had to go back for it. I thought we were clean but when I looked the next day, we were listed with 5 faults, so no clue what that was. What's amazing is that, with all of that, her score was still good enough to qualify for Round 2 (BAREly).

Boost had a bar down and looked nice except for the blankety weave entry--she went right into the first pole and then turned all the way around to her left to come back to me. WTF? Then we boobled around a bit before I could get her back in correctly, so between the bar and the wasted time, we didn't even come close to a Q.

Tika's Round 2 was pretty good, as it almost always seems to be (maybe my adrenaline is up more for Round 2? dunno), but she missed 1st place by a very wide 3.4 second margin to an amazing flat-out gorgeous run by Gumbo the Catahoula Leopard Dog. Still, I'll take the $15 winnings, sure!

Now--I'm trying to take Sunday off from agility and apparently not doing a great job. I'm off to scrub some floors and stuff like that.


  1. Gotta love that surprise conclusion for Boost's team!

    Must be fun to get to run for money at Steeplechase. The only time AAC competitors get to run for money is Steeplechase at Regionals and Nationals. Well, there is also a judge who always offers $59 for the fastest 59 point Snooker on Snooker courses he judges. Not like I ever have a hope in heck at that, but it's fun to watch those who give it a go.

  2. I never got any $ with Remington or Jake, and only occasionally with Tika until we moved into performance. And only once with Boost so far, and she's 6 already.

  3. Wow, nice job! You are right...never give up :)