Secret had another great weekend at our NADAC trial in La Crosse! She had eight runs over the two days and managed to Q in six! Unfortunately, her two NQ runs were both in Chances, so she is still sitting at 9 away from NATCH.
I'm quite happy with how she ran, especially considering that she has not seen the chiropractor since the beginning of December (I'm sure Dr. Engel is wondering where we are....). I really do think that the Back on Track coat must be helping her quite a lot!
Secret started out the weekend a bit leery of our judge, Chris Nelson, but seemed to get over it quickly. He was never in the ring with us, so she had no reason to worry. My friend, Rich, pointed out to me that not only is she going to have to deal with the judge being in the ring and moving around with us in USDAA, but also shouting out numbers and raising arms in Gamblers. Oh my. That should be fun.
I almost caused an off course in each round of Regular on Saturday, but thankfully we were able to catch & fix them before faulting. There was another near miss in Jumpers at the end of the day where I started to move laterally too soon for a front cross and Secret pulled off the jump. This happened to several other teams as well at that spot on course, so at least we were in good company. :o)
Neither day had a "gimme" course in Chances, unfortunately. Saturday was a course I'd seen posted from other trials and honestly when I'd seen them I'd thought, "Man, I'm not sad I didn't get to run that course." lol Secret actually came very close to getting it, but I was a hair late on calling her back to me and she went out and grabbed an extra off course hoop. The course on Sunday was a monster, just an absolute monster of a course. I knew it would be very difficult for Secret. The first challenge was to get them to the out tunnel under the a-frame when the curve of jumps lead them straight to the a-frame. Then you had to have a flip out of the weaves to a set of jumps AT LEAST 30' away. Yeah... We didn't get either of those challenges, although missing the out tunnel was completely my fault because I rotated too quickly and pulled her straight to the a-frame.
Other than that, though, she was great! My proudest moment for Secret on Sunday was in Regular Round 2 at the very end of the day. The weaves were the second obstacle on the course and I think we all know how "fast" she weaves in that situation. I was quite prepared for her to walk through them, so I tried to get her revved up and upbeat before leaving the start line. She actually weaved faster on that run than in the previous one where the weaves were second to last! That was great to see. Also great to see was her happy, wagging tail as we waited on the line for bars to be set before our Jumpers run!
Kaiser was a little rock star this weekend. The dog walk was causing us problems as expected, but he was running fast & happy. By the end of the day on Sunday I decided that if his Regular run was clean up to the dog walk, I was going to try to get ahead and ask him for a stop. I hate that I gave up on the running contact, but there is NO WAY to train right now and it seemed to be getting progressively worse through the weekend. I think until spring I'll stop him if I can get ahead and run him if I don't have a shot. If I'm ahead he seems to take it okay and not shut down, but I know he hates it if I'm behind and screaming at him to, "WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!"
Kaiser had absolutely gorgeous runs in Jumpers both days, which was fabulous to see. He didn't shut down or stress at all and those courses were jam packed with off course opportunities to freak him out. I hustled my ass and got in front crosses wherever possible, which seems to make him happy. The stutter-stepping was all but absent this weekend! Let's hope that continues when he has to jump 12" in USDAA again.
The little man did a super job with the Chances course on Saturday, but unfortunately got called on his dog walk contact. No surprise, I more or less expected it. I did a happy dance when I saw that there was no dog walk in the course on Sunday, until I saw how difficult it was. I had faith in him, though, because I figured Kaiser's space bubble would help push him out in both cases -- He had a lovely run, which leaves him just four Q's from his NATCH now! :o)
Poor Luke. The old man only got to do five runs this weekend. I kept him out of all but one round of Regular to try to cut back a bit -- and since he doesn't need the Q's, he was the obvious choice. I did put him in the first run of the day on Saturday because I knew he'd have a meltdown if I made him wait until halfway through the day before running. As it was, he was a bit of a wild child this weekend, but thankfully in a good and mostly manageable way. :o)
I thought he would have no problem with Chances on Saturday, but unfortunately he did the same thing as many other teams and turned left instead of right at the far hoop. Were I to do it again, I would have moved laterally more, as I did with the other two (who did manage to turn right). Live and learn -- sometimes I take the big guy for granted, thinking he can read my mind.
Luke blew me away in Jumpers on Saturday. It was one heck of a tricky course for a big dog with traps left and right, requiring them to NOT take the obvious "swoopy NADAC line" that Luke so loves. He had great turns and kept all the bars up; I'm so proud of him!
He had a good try with the bonus line on Sunday, but we got stuck at the part that worried me and he spun in front of the jump (no doubt he totally read my thoughts there!). Then I had a complete brain fart and went way too far to the right as he was coming out of the tunnel, so he did the correct thing and followed me -- right off course. We got back on track and finished well, though, so good boy!
And finally, he was a super good boy in Chances -- this type of course, hard as it was, is right up his alley. His a-frame was slightly naughty, but otherwise he made it look easy.
Aside from the agility part, this was a pretty interesting trial. There was much hubbub about the whole VT fiasco that was recently on the NADAC list. I find it incredibly interesting how many people read the Yahoo group but don't post, as numerous people I never thought followed the list came up to me and remarked at how they agreed wholeheartedly with everything I posted. That's great, but I really wish more of those folks would send in their own posts to share their thoughts!
Bottom line, not one single, solitary person could fathom how adding VT points to trial points could possibly be a good idea. Not one person was for it. Nobody cared about offering VT titles if people wanted to earn awards that way, but everyone agreed that the points should never, ever be combined. It is NOT THE SAME.
I struggled with whether or not to go to the judges dinner to bring up the topic with Chris (Nelson). Nobody else felt like stirring the pot with me, and what fun is it to do it alone? ;o) Ultimately it wasn't worth driving all the way back to La Crosse after delivering the dogs at home, so we stayed home and relaxed. It's probably for the best, as it wouldn't have gotten me anywhere.
That's not to say Chris probably didn't hear me bitching at the trial. I was fairly vocal while talking to others. lol