Saturday, April 28, 2012

USDAA Trial Report - Day 1!

This was a really long day. Fun!  But long.  It never helps that I sleep just awful the first night in any hotel.  I can't even blame rude neighbors this time.  It was a good reminder as to why I started getting up at 3:30 a.m. to drive to trials.  I can go to bed at 8 p.m. at home and at least get good sleep up to that point. Oh well, I think the dogs slept okay and I suppose they matter more than me!  :o)

Even staying at the hotel, though, our day started bright and early with a 5:20 a.m. alarm!  Since Kaiser had to be measured I had to be sure to get to the trial fairly early.  On the Run is about twenty minutes from the hotel we're at (La Quinta -- no dog fees!), so not terrible but I wanted to give us plenty of time to settle in.

The Starters/P1 dogs started out the day with Gamblers.  Kaiser was up first and racked up a totally smoking opening of 31 points (one point shy of the highest in Performance 1), but then he crashed the first jump of the gamble.  :o(  Poor Kaiser.  He was jumping well up to that point, but any time he crashes he loses all confidence.

I had a totally different plan for Secret because A) her weaves aren't as fast -- they were the 7 pt obstacle -- and B) I really wanted to get her on the teeter.  I planned her opening to go tire, jump, teeter and she nailed the teeter with gusto, but then got a bit spooked after.  I kind of lost her for a few obstacles, but I did manage to get her back on track to get in the a-frame and a few more jumps before the buzzer went off.  The gamble was pretty simple, just a jump-tunnel-jump sequence about ten or fifteen feet beyond the line. Secret got it easily and earned a Q and fourth place!

Standard was up next.  Kaiser was a little spastic but was pretty good (for him).  He was clean up to a few obstacles from the end when he went into the wrong end of a tunnel.  Oh well, I'm pleased as punch that he got his contacts and did all of the obstacles!

Secret was a good, good girl!  It took a few tries to prompt her onto the teeter, but she got it!  She didn't even hesitate at the chute after the weaves, but then she kind of had a melt down about the table.  Yes, this table looks worlds different from ours at home, but I didn't expect it to be that big of a deal!  I did finally get her on the table just to have her jump off again for five faults.  She got back on and finished the course super nicely.  Can't say I expected us to NQ on the table!

We had a nice course for Performance Speed Jumping.  Kaiser was just off from the very beginning with his jumping.  There was lots and lots of stuttering and herky-jerky movements.  Despite that, we somehow managed to stay on course and remained fault free until the end -- and heaven help me, we made it to the finals tomorrow!  Barely, by about a second.  The other two dogs in our height are shelties and I dare say he doesn't have a shot if he keeps up the wonky jumping.  One bright spot is that our judge told us this morning that USDAA is strongly considering changing the jump height cut-offs and Kaiser, at 14", would be eligible to run 8" Performance if they go through with it.  Fingers crossed, because I don't know that I can keep doing this with him at 12".  I'm sad that the Adequan hasn't helped at all, but it just tells me the issue is more with the luxation of the patella vs. the arthritis behind it.

I totally failed Secret in PSJ!  I get a bit spoiled with the way she tends to follow me so well, I guess, because I apparently couldn't be bothered to tell her where to go.  She shot off course after the fifth obstacle (for an E) and then grabbed two bonus jumps after the broad jump (yes, she did it easily!) because in both situations I more or less just watched her go and didn't give her any cue whatsoever.  I'm not used to Secret careening off to grab obstacles on her own. Hello, handler, wake up!

Our last run of the day was Snooker and it was completely doable, but one of the required reds was way up at the top of the course.  For Kaiser I opted to avoid going through the sea of obstacles because I know he's likely to take whatever is in front of him, but then he back-jumped the last red.  For Secret I thought it would be safe enough to cut through the middle to that last red, but she saw the weave poles in front of her and decided they needed to be passed through, so we heard the whistle there. So in other words,  neither dog even made it to the closing!  We obviously lack Snooker skills.  lol

We should be able to take it easy in the morning.  The trial starts with Masters Snooker followed by Masters Jumpers, then Advanced and then us in Starters/P1.  I figure we're probably safe to arrive at 10:00, but I won't push my luck.  Plus who knows, maybe my name will actually be on the worker's schedule tomorrow.  I wasn't scheduled for anything today, which made for a VERY long day.

Thanks to my friend Chris, I actually did get video of everything except Snooker (everyone was gone by then).  She isn't there tomorrow, so hopefully we can find another friendly soul to help get our runs on tape.  Class I'm most interested for tomorrow:  Pairs.  lol  Kaiser's partner came up and introduced herself to me today and she is a lovely woman.  Secret is a "draw," so who knows who we'll end up with.  Some kind volunteer, I suppose, but there aren't many to choose from!

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