SUMMARY: Everyone runs well, a surprise Steeplechase, and even a Q or two.Best part about today: Last dog ran at 1:00! Still took over half an hour to finish up the paperwork and clean up the score table, half an hour to pack up, time to gather my ribbons, check the raffle, and a little time at the end to play frisbee with the dogs. Well--with Boost; Tika was more interested in scouting out the entire site for dropped orts (do you do crossword puzzles? Never seen this word used except there. Now *I've* used it somewhere).
Correction May 7 9:10 a.m: Left there about 2:15-- Home about 3:15, in time for a little yard play with the dogs, water some potted plants, and take a much-needed nap before meeting sister & spouse for dinner.
Tika's day--thought she was entered in only 2 classes--
- Steeplechase Round 2: When we left you yesterday, Tika hadn't qualified in Steeplechase because of a knocked bar (and Boost crapped out completely), so for the first time in a while, we slept in instead of arriving half an hour early on Sunday for Round 2. Pottied and frisbeed the dogs, and as I was walking back towards my set-up, The Voice came over the intercom, "Ellen Finch, are you running Steeplechase?" Doh. Despite being the score table person who is always tracking down nonqualifiers who get to run in Round 2 because a minimum of four dogs each height go even if they don't qualify, to make sure that they know they'll be running, I never bothered checking Tika's score, and sure enough, she got in by that rule as the #4 place.
So, while someone held my dogs, they let me do a really fast walk through (more like two jog-throughs), then I raced to put on my running shoes, came back, and ran Tika. Another bar down! She's knocked only 4 bars out of 48 Steeplechase rounds 1 and 2 in the last 2 years, so odd to pull a bar both rounds in one weekend.
But she was running quickly and happily again today. I think less than a second slower than the winner, but the bar dropped us to 3rd. Still, we didn't E, so a whole $9.
- Jumpers: Smooth on a course that stymied a lot of dogs or handlers; Q and I think 3rd place.
- Standard: Smooth ditto ditto ditto. Lots of 3rd places today.Correction: Tika won this class! 1st of 8, not the fastest, but one of only 2 who ran clean.
Main flaw not wanting to go down on the table. New strategy: Just keep repeating "Down!" in rapid succession with a big arm gesture--funny seeing her go a little lower with each command until she was all the way down. Thank goodness she now needs only one more for her Gold Standard, then I think we're going to be done with Standard.
- Started with Grand Prix, and OMG it was a totally beautiful run! The only flaw was leaving one contact early and starting to face me, so I had to "down" her for a moment to keep her brain together. Held her on the other two contacts. No refusals, runouts, bars, not even any major hesitations. Ended 8th of 34 dogs and a Q! That's 3 GP Qs in 6 months (out of 8 tries), after a dry spell of three and a half years! (40 tries.)
- Next was gamblers--oh, what a disaster. Right off the bat in the opening I couldn't get her correctly into the weave poles repeatedly, and we ended up with barely the required opening points, and then wasn't even close to doing the gamble. Bleah.
- Next was Standard--ohhhhhh my another beautiful run, no runouts or refusals, just a bar down! Feeling really nice running her!
- Last was Jumpers, and it was a tough course--and once again just beautiful; knocked a bar fairly early and at the end I got a little casual and so she ran past one jump that I didn't bother going back for (really, just a foot to her left and she could've gone over it--I *did* say "Hup!" and point to it--), but again it felt really nice.
Boost won a bag of treats in the raffle (oh, and last weekend she won a backpack that I hadn't checked for size first, wayyy to big and so gave it back), so she continues to be my raffle-winning dog.
- Warming up. In the past, I'd do just a quick little jog to warm myself up, but since I realized 3 or 4 trials ago that that wasn't enough, I run before each run until my knee stops hurting and I can run comfortably. (Funny how that works--knee hurts less when I move it more.) I think that is making a lot of difference with me being able to move on course.
- Exercise program. I've been trying hard to get out every day and walk at least a couple of miles including going up (not down) 460 Stairs From Hell every other day at a nearby location--two weeks now, and maybe it's my imagination, but last weekend and this weekend already it feels like I have more endurance for being on course; my legs haven't felt heavy and droopy as they have so often in the last couple of years.
- Could all of this be why I'm getting some nicer runs out of Boost? I do a little extra Boost-specific training here and there, trying to keep my "new dog, new handler" theme going, but it's not a *lot* of agility training because of her having been sore.
But Tika ran well, Boost ran well in 3 of 4 runs. Again, nice weather, great friends, fun but challenging courses. Tomorrow, ah, well, back to Work.