12 October 2009

Keystone USDAA Recap

OK, first USDAA for me since Chicago Regional in early August, first USDAA for Kiba since Keystone Regional back in mid-June.

I'm going to just go chronologically as that is how I remember it.

Saturday started out with Drifter in Masters Jumpers, it was a tough course. He handled very well, tight spacing lots of crosses, but just rolled the 2nd to last bar on a serpentine.

In the other ring I had Seri's Advanced Standard course. She was, um, excited. We've had 2 weekends off but she seemed to think it had been longer. She started out by crashing the 2nd jump, which earned her a "pause" correction (that's my "hey, pay ATTENTION" behavior), followed by a dogwalk where she ran off the end, another pause, 2 jumps to a see-saw flyoff, another pause, then the table. After the table - she was great, including a nice aframe. So half a goofy course, half a great course. OK. I can take it for a 1st run.

Next up was Masters Gamblers. The older dogs have tons of these so just Seri in this one. She was a smidge wild in the opening, broke her stay and got a pause for that, but DID both dogwalks really nicely. Missed 1 out of 2 aframes. Then got the gamble, her first Masters leg.

After that was Masters Standard, Drifter first. This course was YET ANOTHER dogwalk-into-empty-space course. I am seeing these courses all the time lately. Damn good thing I worked on that over the winter before Tryouts. It's getting really aggravating, because the more I see it, the more Drifter wants to come off early towards the next obstacle. Anyways this was a good dogwalk hit but his slightly slow table and wide corner after the DW earned him I think 3rd place. Kiba ran very well, jumping a little flat (hadn't competed at 22" in FOUR months!), hit one bar but got a high but solid 3-stride aframe hit.

Next up was Steeplechase in the other ring. Pretty nice course, no horrible issues. 2 weave poles, and the local viaduct jump was out. Drifter was up first, ran clean. I didn't push and he ended up 3rd, although he was only .2 seconds behind the dog in first. Seri ran next and was fabulous, hit one bar towards the end, had a lovely aframe, and beat Drifter's time by .07! Kiba was last, since they went down from 26", and she was nice and clean too, seeded in 3rd or 4th.

Last was Masters pairs, which only Kiba was entered in. Coming into this trial she needed only 2 Pairs legs and a Super Q for her ADCH, so I figured I'd actually enter those 2 classes. And she and her partner both ran clean and won the class, yay! Nice thing about Kiba is that she just sort of does what I want, all the time. I can push, or not, and she just does it.

So recap for Day 1: Drifter Std and Steeplechase Q, Kiba pairs and Steeplechase, Seri Gamblers and Steeplechase.

Sunday was COLD in the morning, 39 degrees! The grass was wet and didn't dry off very quickly. Which sucked.

First run, Advanced Standard for Seri. I led out doing my usual-for-Seri calming "lie down, liiiiieeeee doooowwwwn" voice, and guess what? Didn't work. Near jump #2 she just got up and ran up to me. She's young. I gave her a 2nd chance, said LIE DOWN in my serious voice and proceeded to continue my lead out. She jumped the 2nd jump. I scooped her up, said my polite "thank you" to the judge, and walked her out. She can't be allowed to do that. At least she doesn't creep, it's WAY easier to be black and white with a dog who stays or goes than with one who creeps.

Next was Masters Standard with Drifter. Remember that wet grass? Well again we had a dogwalk-into-space followed by tight turn to a jump in-your-face. So that requires me to a)run like hell down the dogwalk followed by b) slam on the brakes and pivot for the jump. Well I got a) just fine and when I tried b) I slipped and fell. HARD. At the time I felt fine, popped back up, growled at Drifter because he was sort of shopping obstacles instead of coming back to me, then continued on. His brain was fried though, he came off the table before I released him, didn't "understand" a back-tunnel signal, and came off the seesaw early too. Not a flyoff but not a wait. No bars at least!

Masters Snooker was next, Drifter and Kiba both in this. The 7 was THREE STRAIGHT TUNNELS "stacked" parallel to each other. Fun? maybe. Time-consuming? Definitely. I planned two 7's and a 5 (which was quick single jump). Drifter did my clever opening very, very well, then knocked the 2 at the beginning of the close. Annoying bar but I didn't get too mad.

At this point I to go run Seri in Advanced Snooker in the other ring. I planned a fairly easy, wide open course. It did require a start line stay as I had to lead out a good bit. She stayed like a freakin' rock:) And Q'ed. Lovely run, good weaves, good frame, no bars for a Q.

Back to Masters Snooker with Kiba. Checked the score table, highest scores were still 47-48, nobody had done 3 7's in time (a tight 46 seconds). Stuck with my plan. She was beautiful, rattled a few bars but none came down, she was tight and lovely and got her 49 points in 39.6 seconds, won the class for her last darned Super Q! Yay! Even though I had 6 extra seconds, retrospectively I'm still not sure that would've been enough to go down and hit that 7 one more time. A squiggle of 3 straight tunnels and then weed past them to the 2? Probably more than 6 seconds.

Steeplechase round 2! Somewhat twisty course, some funky spacing beginning and end with a big wide open jump-triple-aframe in the middle. Kiba up first, she was BLASTING and yet still SUPER duper tight on the wraps and front crosses. Won the class! Seri up next, did the opening great after another wonderful stay, then on the wide open section picked up too much "yahoo" and completely smashed her face and front end on the upside of the aframe. Finished the course with just a bar, but I think she hyperextended her right wrist. She is on rest, aspirin, and ice for a few days. She also got paint and a bit of "road rash" on her chin but no bleeding. She is functionally sound. Dork! Drifter ran 2 dogs later (I was breathing hard by now, running 3 dogs in the space of about 5 minutes), and he was good. I pushed hard but still only got 2nd by almost a whole second. Darned younger dog with a bigger jump. Still, for me to be able to push him hard, and he took it well, and left his bars up, that was good. So Kiba 1st in 22", Drifter 2nd in 26", and Seri 5th in 26" for a total of $77. Considering there were 92 dogs entered in Championship steeplechase I was a little disappointed. I think prize money has gone down over the last couple years.

Last class was Masters Jumpers again for Drifter. He knocked #4 when I took off running. I growled at him for it, then pushed him verbally for the rest of the run and got some 1-stride distances from him that made me happy, but overall 3 bars is a bit much for 7 classes, so a little disappointed in that, considering how fit he is getting. I have decided that because of the bar argument that never ends, I am not going back to Tryouts with him. If he doesn't make IFCS team he'll just do 20/22 from now on. I know I waffle about this all the time, and it's still really hard for me to do, but I don't like being mad at him for stupid crap. When he's at the lower height I can PUSH, he is FAST, and we can both come off the course happy all the time. Seri will have to be my FCI dog.

And no, Kiba won't be doing 26". On video I see a slight hesitation now and then at 22", which would only get worse at 26". She looked great though this weekend, once again proving a smidget is just as fast as a normal-sized BC!

ETA: And now today I woke up with an aching swollen right knee, sore right triceps and left forearm from landing on the hard ground. Good news is that we're not trialing next weekend. I do have video of my 2 Masters Snooker runs so the 3-straight-tunnels course will be viewable, probably tomorrow afternoon I'll get it online.

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