Sunday, April 28, 2013
Spring?! (and trial recap)
Today is the third day in a row that we have hit 70 degrees! Could it possibly mean that spring is making its entrance here in Wisconsin? One can only hope. Look, even the grass is starting to come in!
I hate to admit it, but parts of the yard are already looking like they would benefit greatly from some rain. Hard to believe with as wet as it's been of late, but I guess that's what happens over a few days of nice weather. Never fear, I believe we're in for rain and colder temperatures this week. That's why we spent a good portion of our day today enjoying the sunshine. The dogs have been outside more than me -- I can't even keep them in the house today! Granted I'm being a lazy sod after our long day yesterday...
We had a good day over at Think Pawsitive! Secret woke me up about a half hour before the alarm was supposed to go off (that would be 3 a.m.....) after she'd been restless much of the night. I'd had a heck of a time getting the dogs to go to bed on Friday at 8 p.m.; Secret and Kaiser were still running laps and playing outside. The neighbor kid was shooting hoops right outside the bedroom window and this noise prompted Kaiser & Secret to jump off the bed and run back outside to investigate. So yeah, I don't think any of us got the sleep we should have that night.
Since I was already awake I had no problem getting up and getting moving on time. We were out the door in time for me to hit up Kwik Trip for breakfast and were still on the road by 4 a.m. With one pit-stop we arrived in New Berlin at 6:45 a.m. For real. I don't even get to trials here in La Crosse that early. I was glad to be there at that time, though, because it was a very full trial and I was concerned about finding a crating spot that would be out of the way enough for Secret. We got a spot in the back room against the wall before it filled up. I was hoping for a corner, but it worked.
I had tons of time to waste and plenty of time to walk the dogs before our first run of the day. Jumpers was up first and Luke was the second dog to run (there were only two Veteran entries). I liked the looks of this course and didn't feel it was too ungodly technical for the old man. This was our first time giving Jumpers a shot and I wasn't sure what to expect.
It was super fun and Luke did awesome! I held my breath on every turn in hopes that the bars would stay up, as whenever we do more technical stuff at home they seem to go flying. I should give Luke more credit, though. I'm pretty sure he knows the difference between home and trials and thus puts in more effort to keep things up. lol I heard a "tick" or two going around the course, but they all stayed up, tight turns and all.
I even threw in a couple of blind crosses with the big guy and while they did result in him going a little wide in his path, he read them well and stuck with me. This course was a rush and when results were posted I found out why it felt that way -- Luke's time was in the range of some of the top Championship and Performance runs! He ran it in 27 and change. I think the fastest time was around 25 or slightly under, and the average looked to be around 28/29. Holy cow, he was moving!
Now that I know he can do Jumpers I might have to think about trying Snooker and going for the Veteran Versatility title...
Secret had a nice run. She went a little "la la" on me between three and four as she looked at the bar setter sitting in that area, but then she picked it back up and came back to me. She went charging into the tunnel at 8 but came trotting out of it. It was a fairly tight u-shape, but it wasn't one of her dreaded long tunnels so I don't know what that was about.
It was either jump 14 or 15 where I swear she came to a dead stop right in front of the jump for whatever reason. I'm pretty sure I had not stopped my motion, so I'm not sure where the indecision came from. The hesitation felt like an eternity to me and I was positive that it would be called as a refusal. Surprisingly her run was scored as clear, though, and she earned a Q and 2nd place (three dogs in our class E'd out on this course). Secret's time was 33 seconds and change, so quite a bit slower than Luke's run.
That said, I'll mention now that I felt she did much better at this trial than she has at the last few. I felt that she was more engaged with me and surprisingly she did not seem to get worse as the day went on. She certainly still moves faster at home and has ran better at trials, but I feel as though the few opportunities we had to play at home prior to this weekend may have actually helped. Of course the chiropractor appointment probably didn't hurt, either.
This was Secret's Performance Jumper Master title! Her first title in P3!
Secret had a bit of a break while they ran Masters Challenge Jumpers, and then Snooker was up next for us. When are we going to see a Snookers course that doesn't have weave poles and/or a massively long combination for the 7?
I'm sure you can see where this is going. Yet again, no Super Q. In a set-up like this pretty much the only way we can hope for a SQ is if everyone crashes and burns. There actually were quite a few of those in the CH class, but the Performance dogs weren't having any problems.
The most "Secret-friendly" and points-accumulating course I could come up with was 1-7, 1-6, 1-6. We got a good running start to the center red and then wrapped the first 7 jump to the right. She had very slow weaves and I'm pretty sure she trotted up to the top red. She looked hard at 4 on the way to the last red, and looked at it again on the way back to the tunnel. When we started the close she finally realized she had gas in the tank (or maybe I stopped way overhandling at that point) and she picked up speed. I'm almost positive she entered the weaves wrong (we didn't get whistled), but it didn't matter because the buzzer sounded before she finished them. We got through 6 in the close for a total of 42 points and a third place Q in the 22" class. We shared 3 SQ with the 16" class -- the top dog had 50 points and the other two had 49.
Relay was up next. I was paired with a woman who I believe I heard traveled from New York and was running something like six or seven dogs. She was a very busy woman, I know that much! She was also very easy to work with and we had no problems. I met up with her at the gate before the run and she asked if I had a preference as to which side. I explained that Secret's weaves are slower than slow these days (I didn't mention that she hadn't done the teeter yet and I didn't know about that, either), so it would probably be to our benefit to have her run the first half. Wendy didn't care and it worked out that she was able to get all of her dogs to run the second half of the course.
Secret ran her half well. She didn't dive into the tunnel or come out super speedy, but it was decent enough. Burdock was a good boy on his half as well and we easily came out with a Q (12 seconds under SCT), but it wasn't fast enough for a placement.
It was nice to pair up with someone from out of town because I likely won't have to worry about pairing up with Burdock again (for the requirement of 5 Qs with 5 different partners). :o) First P3 Relay Q is in the bag! That wasn't so bad. I'm starting to get over my extreme fear of being the one to screw everything up.
Gamblers was up next. I picked different plans for the dogs because their strengths are so different.
Luke loves his weaves, so I went ahead and started with those for him since they were the 5-point obstacle. We did jump-jump-weave-weave-teeter-jump-a-frame-chute-a-frame-jump and then I think the buzzer went off right around then. I know we were nowhere in position to send to the gamble. I wanted to send him in off my left -- I was surprised at how many people approached it with dog on right (the jump was set a little more in front of the correct opening than shown on paper).
We dilly-dallied around a bit and I finally got Luke set up and sent to the correct tunnel entrance. My timing was off and he paused in front of the second tunnel entrance and may have barked at me, earning a refusal before he turned into the tunnel and finished just as the buzzer sounded. Ah well, my fault. When will I learn to stop treating the Gamblers line like lava as we do in Chances? Several people called their dog to them and sent them back out successfully. Gah, we totally could have done that.
Pretty much the same scenario with Secret, although her opening was jump-jump-teeter (although the stinker was heading towards the weaves!)-jump-a-frame-chute-jump-a-frame-then several more jumps to waste time until the buzzer sounded. We were actually set up perfectly when it blew, but Secret had the same exact pause/bark scenario as Luke (although hers was far longer and I did have to call her to me before sending her back), but we'd already earned the refusal. Secret earned 19 points in the opening; Luke earned 20 thanks to his two sets of weaves.
It was only three o'clock when we were walking Standard, which is really amazing considering how many runs there were in that ring. Luke was the only Veteran entered and thus ran first. They held the ring while they finished Steeplechase in ring two, so poor Luke ended up standing around for a very long time and then we were kind of thrown to the start line without much warning. I guess that's my excuse for being a cruddy partner to the big guy.
But hey, we did a ketschker at three! Yay for fun fancypants moves at trials! lol Everything was going great until I attempted to send him into the tunnel at 14 from the backside. While walking the course I thought, "we just did this exercise at home, we can do it at a trial!" Well, not quite. Luke started to go into the tunnel then stopped, backed out and looked at me to make sure I knew what I was doing. Refusal. And then for good measure he went into the wrong side of the next tunnel for an E. Oh well, only one Q for the old man, but he was running great!
I appreciated Luke telling me that this just wasn't going to work, so I changed my handling with Secret and escorted her to the tunnel entrance from the top instead of sending from the back. And no worries, Secret got the fancypants ketschker at the start, too! :o)
Considering that this was Secret's fifth run of the day I was very pleased with her performance. She's not a huge fan of the chute and thus started a bit slow, but she picked it up after the dog walk. Her weaves were definitely faster than they had been in Snooker in the morning. We didn't have any problems with the teeter all day, so that's fantastic, too. We weren't blazing fast and were only a couple of seconds under SCT, but we made it for a Q.
Kaiser came along for the ride and was a good boy. He hung out in Luke's crate with him all day, which neither of them seem to mind too much. I took Kaiser out once to play with the measuring device and he was really good, not spooking at it at all. I will seriously be holding my breath when he gets measured at AKC in a few weeks, though. He is going to have to be perfectly relaxed to get that 14" measurement, and we're going to have to have a very friendly and forgiving judge. I really want for Kaiser to be able to play in another organization, so we'll cross our fingers.
Tomorrow Kaiser has his yearly wellness exam at the vet's office and I'm taking Secret along for (I believe...) her lyme and lepto boosters. I'm also getting a new driveway put in this week, so we'll be a bit disrupted for a while.