So, I brought my netbook to Louisville with all these great intentions of recapping daily, but just was too tired by the end of most days to bother, as clearly I haven't updated in a while.
I've mentioned European Standard from the 1st day, the mysterday delay causing us a 2+ hour delay in starting (the timers apparently were shipped to the wrong place??). Kiba won P16 for that class, which got no medal or trophy but a nice blue ribbon. Drifter did not run, and Seri ran reasonably well with a few "duh" moments.
Day 2 was Team Gamblers only for all 3 dogs. There was on course gamble involving weave poles with the handler in a very restricted area. I knew Kiba would not do this gamble and so ran like mad round the rest of the course to get as many points as possible, and she did fine. Drifter probably would've done the gamble, but I did not want to risk his toe by doing the weaves before they became absolutely necessary, and so devised a course with only right hand turns, and we got a good amount of points. Seri I knew absolutely COULD do the gamble, and so she ran a modified version of the course I ran for the others, and she even went out and took an extra contact in the closing (triple points) and got tons of points - she finished up 2nd place in the 26" class for her first ever medal and ribbon at a National event! I was very pleased:)
Day 3 was Performance Grand Prix Semi-finals, Team Standard, and Steeplechase Quarterfinals for Seri. Team Standard was a pretty difficult course, especially due to the large wings and tight spacing and funky footing in the West Hall rings (4 and 5). Those rings always seemed to be crunched spacing-wise compared to the 3 main rings. Drifter ran Team Standard first, and it started with a weird 5 jump, same side pinwheel, with off course traps and no side changes, many dogs were anticipating a rear cross or flip and turning away from the handler, "guessing" that a change of side MUST be coming, and even though I was very clear with Drifter, he did this. And so I walked him off after 4 jumps. Off course. My Steady Eddy dog. Oh well. I modified my strategy a bit for Kiba and Seri, leading out past 2, and then setting a line through 3 and 4 to take out some off course options for them. Kiba ran clean and I think ended up 2nd place overall. Seri ran 1-4 really well, but was sure I was rear crossing 4 and ran off in the wrong direction barking! I yelled "lie down" and "come" and she came back with only time lost, and finished clean for a 7th place run! Her 2nd placement! I also had Kiba's PGP Semi's, which she ran very nicely for a 2nd place seed going into Finals, and Seri's Steeplechase Semi's which she ran very well, just hit the last board on the broad jump, so didn't place but easily qualified to run in Semi's.
Day 4 (Friday) was Team Snooker, Steeplechase and PSJ Semi's, and PGP Finals at night. Team Snooker I devised a plan that was high points but not overly difficult, and also not likely to win. It went pretty well with all 3 dogs, Seri knocked a bar in the 5 in the opening but continued on through to the end for decent points, and Drifter also hit a bar on an opening color. Kiba missed her contact on the frame in 6 in the closing. So they all got decent points but not amazing. PSJ Semi's went very well for Kiba, with her taking 1st place seed for Finals to be held Saturday night. Seri and Drifter unfortunately did not run Steeplechase Semi's till the very last group at 5:30 in the small building, and the footing had deteriorated very badly, and was deep and slippery on the hard 270-ish turn, and both of my dogs hit the same bar, as did several other very nice dogs in our group. Someone told me only one 26" dog from the last 2 groups made it through to Finals due to the poor footing. It sucked, as it was unfair - the early groups had a hard, wet surface, and the late groups had a dry, deep one. Neither was ideal, but the deep stuff was awful. Drifter was clean aside from slipping and being unable to keep that one bar up. Not only that, but I KNOW it was the footing that caused the knock, as an hour later when I got him out for a walk, he was VERY sore on that side, in a very odd place that he has never been sore before, but a place that makes sense for a dog sliding in deep dirt. Sigh. Oh well. Nothing to be done. Should've been in there. PGP Finals was pretty late, and Kiba had one wide corner where she thought I wanted a rear cross before I corrected her, so she lost a bit of time, but I don't think we would have gotten 1st even without that. We ended up 3rd, with a pretty good run, a trophy, a medal, and a podium visit. Her run here.
Day 5 (Saturday, by which point I had no clue WTF day it was!) was Team Jumpers, Grand Prix Semifinals, and at night PSJ and Steeplechase Finals. I knew Team Jumpers was Seri's last run of the week, and I also knew her Team wouldn't make the Final due to a few mistakes by Team-mates, so I really wanted her to run clean or near-clean, and try to be a top dog overall in 26". Well it was no cake walk in Jumpers, and once again the big dogs were in the crunchy small ring in the West Hall. Well Seri did slide on her face, and once again she had a screaming running moment where she ran off the wrong direction, but I got her back and finished without fault again! She didn't place due to the screaming and faceplant, but she did run clean about 3 seconds off the top times. Drifter was in a different ring, and he had a nice run except for hitting the double. I was a little worried since he'd been so sore the day before, but he seemed to be moving fairly well. Kiba also had a nice jumper run, very very fast and tight but hit a bar as well. GP Semifinals was my big stressy run of the week. Drifter had yet to run "perfect" since we'd gotten there, and he just felt a bit rusty and out of tune up to that point. He had handled well in Jumpers but the bar bugged me. Well I went out and did what I know we do best, and he was great. Not quite perfect, as the beginning wasn't really a strong point for us (pulling around past obstacles out of a tunnel), and his teeter was slow as I held him forEVER, but he placed 6th for a good spot into the Finals.
Last on Saturday was PSJ Finals. I have no video, sorry, you can watch it on VOD if you have it. Kiba started out well, i let her run her frame and she hit it, but she started drifting out wide on a long slow curve near the end, and I think she was slipping a bit (hard packed sliding, not deep), and she hit a bar. Would've been 2nd without the bar! Oh well! Good girl anyway!
Sunday I did not enter "Rekoons" and so got to sleep in a bit. Good plan, yay me! Kiba's Team got 3rd in Relay with a lovely run (although Driven punched me in the butt when Kate handed me the baton!) and we finished in the top 10 overall out of 143 PVP Teams. Drifter's Team ended up 49th with 2 E's, and Seri's in 51st. But the biggest news was that SERI finished 4th overall 26" dog individually! Hurray for crazy screaming dog!!!
Finals was slow in coming. I wasn't unhappy overall with USDAA, it just seemed like things moved slowly sometimes.... anyway after the walk through as Ria was working on Drifter he tweaked himself again, in the same spot he pulled Friday. She worked the worst of it out of him but he was not 100% when I started warming him up. This made me really nervous, as I really wanted to do well, but I really didn't want to hurt him! She said he should be fine, just might be sore the next day after sitting still. So I dutifully walked him for a long time before letting him warm up properly for the run. Did no warm up jumps, just a little cantering with no sharp turns. And then it was my turn and we ran. I did not feel that it was a great run. He slipped horribly going into the weave poles, he slipped partway through the poles. He looked sore weaving. He hit high on the dogwalk contact (another strong indication he's not feeling super great). But he handled brilliantly. Very smooth path, even if he wasn't pushing himself. And we were in 1st for several dogs. Susan beat us with Encore, as I knew she might. Always a threat, that one! I was thrilled to get 2nd with my poor beat-up 8-year old dog who'd had only one training session since early September and had 6 weeks off for a hamstring strain! He's not doing agility all the rest of this week, but surprisingly he doesn't seem sore at all, he's not limping or anything. So we will take this weekend off for some easy hiking, see Ria on Monday, and then hopefully try to get our last 2 QQ's next weekend!
Long post, whew!