a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Temperatures and Emotions Going Every Which Way

Monday, May 06, 2013

Temperatures and Emotions Going Every Which Way

SUMMARY: So, in other words, probably a typical agility weekend.
Saturday was hot--at least, in terms of weather. I never wore my fleece at all; short sleeves all the way even at 4:30 in the morning. Probably didn't reach 94F, but most likely 90F anyway. Fortunately, a sweet little breeze kept us all from boiling away. A shower in an air-conditioned hotel room felt SO GOOD that evening! Sunday was cool--at least, in terms of weather. Wore my thick fleece until after lunch, when it finally became warm enough to shed a layer. Cool, sweet, gentle breeze all day today, too, with a couple of sudden unexpected gusts that tore several canopies from their moorings.

Saturday didn't go all that well agility-wise-speaking for us.

Tika's one run, Jumpers, was perfect up to the end, when she ran past the last jump for an NQ. But again she seemed happy, grabbed my foot to demonstrate her enthusiasm.

Boost had 6 runs:
  • Gamblers: Opening was mostly nice except missed her weave entry; the gamble itself, I didn't get a front cross in that I meant to and she wouldn't take a jump right in front of her. No Q, not even very high opening points.
  • Standard: Just not taking obstacles, so we left the field. No Q.
  • Grand Prix: Nice parts except a bar down and ran past one jump. No Q.
  • Snooker: Dagnabbit, I forgot the course, whistled off quickly. No Q.
  • Jumpers: Beautiful except ran past one jump. No Q.
  • Steeplechase: Ran past the broad jump and something else. No Q.
Sunday didn't go all that well...until...
well... hang on to your hats...

Sunday was Team day. Three dogs to a team, all dogs do four individual events and then a relay at the end of the day. Qualification is based on cumulative scores from all those runs compared to the average of the top three teams. You have to be within 15% of that average to Q.

Our team, Dogs Gone Wild, had some nice fast dogs, but you also have to be accurate.

Jumpers: Boost and I E'ed on too many refusals (running past jumps). Another teammate Eed. Not good. But one other team also had two Es, and our 3rd dog was faster than their third dog, so, OK, so we could at least say "We're not in last place!" (By one whole point.) We assured each other that we can make it up easily later, although the top three teams were so far ahead of everyone else that they were the only ones in Qing range so far. Mood: Frustrated.

Then Snooker. OK, we did not completely crash and burn: Two of us got all the way through a high-scoring opening and partway through the closing. But Boost was again whistled off because she was too busy looking at me to bother taking a jump, gah. And, oh yeah, that was after running past two obstacles in the opening, wasting time, so doubt we'd have gotten a lot more points anyway. Our third teammate had an excellent score, thank goodness. Still, a LOT of dogs got much farther through the closing than we two did, so we moved up... one position.   Still nowhere near Qing range. Mood: Very frustrated.

Then Gamblers, and what a disaster. Boost ran past two obstacles in the opening again, probably my fault but still wasted time, and that's probably why my carefully timed closing was over time, causing us to lose all our gamble points. One teammate also didn't get gamble points. So, even though our 3rd teammate had a very nice run, we could no longer say that we weren't in last place. 

Mood: Depressed.

Don't know how my teammates felt, but I knew at that point that we weren't going to Q and I wondered why on earth I even bothered to enter team when Boost and I do so consistently poorly. It was all over, nothing to do but try to relax and enjoy the remaining two classes, although it was tempting to pack up and go home.

Then Standard. Standard has the 2nd-highest weighting of the 5 classes. Much to our delight, all three of us got through the course without E-ing! And apparently enough other dogs E'ed that, slam-bang, all of a sudden we were not only not last any more, but at the very bottom of actual Qing range! Which mean that, if we could all three avoid Eing in the relay, we might actually Q!

Mood: Almost hopeful but very stressed.

The heaviest weighting, though, is on the 3-dog relay. And now the pressure was on--we were so close to NOT Qing that a couple of faults, even if we didn't E, could possibly knock us out. And the way we'd been running, someone was probably going to E. I tried not to get my hopes up. We were almost the last team to run, and we saw quite a few teams go off course as we waited. Not a good sign.

But then something very interesting happened: Not only did we all not E, but we all had no faults, AND we all ran fast with no bobbles, and WOW we won the RELAY!  I've never been on a team fast enough and accurate enough to win the relay portion of the Championship Team event.  It wasn't by much--just a second faster than the next team, but yes indeed in this one class we beat all those teams who'd been at the top of the rankings most of the way. Wow. Just wow.

And so-- not only did we Q, but we ended up 5th overall! It was a very good way to end the weekend. Mood: Happy.

Dogs Gone Wild: Drover, Boost, and Betty, and their Humans.


  1. Ellen, you described the emotions so well..Team is so stressful, I try to only team with people who aren't going to stress me out! You hid your emotional turmoil well:-) I was trying to be philosophical...of course, Koa's team was doing fine..HE didn't need the Team Q! Drover did! It was an incredible comeback and a thrill to Q, winning the relay was icing on the cake! Big thanks to Tracey and Betty the MVPs:-)

    1. Kathy, you're the one who hid it well--Boost didn't really need the team Q...we have far fewer Grand Prix Qs than Team...so I'm glad that we were all able to come through in the end! Drover had some nice runs in the earlier classes, too; weren't you the only one of us to Q in Jumpers? I do tend to kick myself when I or my dog makes mistakes, but when we seem to make more than usual in Team, the self-kicking really gets going. It's just so crazy to spend so much time and effort and money for one little Q and then to blow it, pft. Anyway, it was fun, and thanks again you two for making it so.

  2. Yea for ending nicely!!!!

  3. Hey! I'm moving to Modesto at the end of the week. If you see Gordon Setters at future agility trials, they are probably with me. Say "hi!" to us.

    1. Well, welcome to Modesto in advance. Do you do USDAA or CPE?

  4. What a story! Loved the ending :D