All the dogs did well in AZ. I survived my drive out/back alone with 4 dogs very well. Went through 3.5 audiobooks. Drifter looked 100% sound the whole ride out and felt great when checked before running.
here's the class-by-class recap.
Wednesday - European Standard
This was a fun little course, although I was a little frustrated that it was dogwalk-turn and don't take the jump right off the end. I hemmed and hawed about whether to just let Drifter run off course - if I turn him too much off the dogwalk he starts coming off a little early. I decided to just run like mad off the end and call when he hit the ground, and if he went off course I wouldn't care. He didn't.
Drifter - clean run, a little wide in 2 places but 1st in the class to start the week with a blue ribbon.
Kiba - a little over-the-top going in, she hit a bar and missed her aframe (I let her run)
Seri - WILD-ASS BABY DOG got walked off after; knocking a bar, running off her DW, knocking a bar, missing a rear cross cue, then going behind me to go back up the DW. All before obstacle 6.
Team Jumpers -
Kiba clean, ended up around 12th place
Drifter - Had a majorly disappointing WTF moment, and went off course out of a tunnel. I think that's his 2nd off course all year.
Seri - not too bad, jumped bigger and bigger as the course went on but survived with only a spin and one bar.
Team Snooker - I had a plan in the morning. I knew it wouldn't last. My plan had only 55 points. People were getting through 56 and 57. So I watched, made a new plan, and tried it with Kiba to see if I'd have time with Drifter.
Kiba - knocked the 7 in the opening but made it through my plan with 4+ seconds to spare
Drifter - awesome, ev en without a lead-out (his stay is shot, I get about 5 steps), only 26" dog to make 57 points for a 1st and another blue and a trophy
Seri - um. This plan was too much for her. 1 point:)
Steeplechase Quarterfinals: Only Seri was in this, the other 2 had byes into Semifinals. Seri was a VERY good girl here, her first run in the main ring. Only fault was a miss on the 2nd weave entry, quickly corrected, meaning she acheived Semifinalist status! Yay!
Team Standard- good course, I worried about a few bars, and of course it was dogwalk into a corner meaning I had to run like a crazy person only to pivot into the weaves.
Kiba - clean, 14th place.
Drifter - clean, 3rd place.
Seri - not bad. missed a weave entry but otherwise clean.
Steeplechase Semifinals - due to poor scheduling, my 26" dogs had exactly THREE minutes of down time between Team Standard and Steeplechase Semi's. This sucks. It was sunny and warm and nowhere near my kennel tent so they got jammed in a crate together.
Drifter - was not "with it", still cooling off from Standard. Hit a bar and the broad jump. No Finals.
Seri - not bad, hit a bar and missed the weave entry (yes, that's a theme here). Someone asked me if we had bred her:)
Kiba - clean, good run but it was a bit of a wide-open speed course so I wasn't sure if she'd make it, being a little thing.
Grand Prix Quarterfinals - again only Seri in this class. She was SO GOOD until we got to the dogwalk/tunnel discrimination, where I thought she had the DW but I was wrong. Then she did the tunnel a couple more times for good measure. Once I got her on the DW she did the rest of the course clean, so I was pretty pleased. She's showing some nice moments of promise.
Afternoon Friday, I had Drifter checked out and he was quite sore. 2 runs that close together on the concrete-hard ground was a bit much for him. 26" is a good 6" over his shoulder, and he runs HARD out there. I think he was sore going into Steeplechase and would have greatly benefited from a 10-20 minute slow walk to warm up/cool down his muscles. Oh well. Nothing I could do about that.
Also that afternoon I found out KIBA made Steeplechase Finals! She was 20th out of 20 dogs to make it in! dogs on either side of her were VERY close in times, only hundredths off, so any wasted stride and we would not have made it, but I was very pleased with her, she's a good little smidget!
Team Gamblers - had an actual honest-to-goodness distance gamble. Only problem was there was a 10-point easy gamble and a 20-point hard gamble. I was the THIRD dog to run in my height so I had NO idea whether people would get it or not, but I figured with IFCS points on the line I had to try. Well Drifter spun too close to a jump before figuring out what I wanted and finishing the gamble. The judge called it a refusal so we didn't get the points, but if we had gotten it we would been top 3. Oh well again!
Seri was very good, although she also failed at the hard gamble, that's ok.
Kiba was perfect and nailed the easy gamble.
Grand Prix Semifinals (no Seri)
Kiba - ran first in a non-main ring. She was booking along really well and then hit a bar. Oh well.
Drifter - in the main ring. IFCS on the line. I knew I had to make GP Finals or my shot was over. He NAILED this course, fastest 26" time, for 9 more points and first seed into Finals.
Saturday night Steeplechase Finals!
Little Kiba dog was perfect. Again the course was a bit wide open so I knew our shot at winning was pretty slim, but she ran a great clean course and didn't put a foot wrong. We got 8th place, a pretty ribbon, and an IRS form to fill out for our $100!
Saturday morning Team Relay
Kiba's team was in 3rd going in, but the top 3 teams were only separated by 7 points. Unfortunately Kiba hit a bar and missed her weave entry so we didn't overtake anyone, but we did finish 3rd overall for another shirt, a medal, and a great big ribbon!
Drifter was the LAST DOG to run the course for the entire weekend! And he was great. I did lose a bit of time after the see-saw so maybe lost 2nd place and got 3rd instead, but I was so happy with him. (he 2-strided his aframe, which caught my eye and distracted me, then when I pushed out to the jump I lost sight of the see-saw and had to book extra-hard to get there so he didn't fly off and was behind when he came off of it, so he had a moment of "where now?") anyway, he got 3rd, behind Maverick by .07, and ahead of Icon by only .02! I was SO happy with his weekend, he was really good.
Afterwards I found out that we were one of THREE dogs tied for 2nd place in IFCS points. We are still awaiting final word from USDAA on who made the team, but Drifter should win the tiebreakers, he defeated the most dogs, got the most Tournament top ten points, and did the best head to head at nationals. I think! Anyway I am excited to go to England! How AWESOME would that be? A crowning acheivement for Drifter's career, and a fun trip for me! After this he is doing 20" in AKC from now on, and 22" for Tournaments in USDAA as that's what he'll jump at Nationals next fall (which WON'T be in AZ!!!!). We will do regular titling classes at 26" to maintain his form.
For now we are on time off. They are doing nothing at ALL for a few more days to heal them up from running on the super hard ground, then we'll resume hiking and running for a few weeks, and back to agility mid-December.