03 October 2012

2012 USDAA Cynosport Games

When I decided to bring only Strafe to this event, I knew he would probably do "well", but I mainly wanted to use it as a chance to get him some experience at a large event that went for multiple days. He would get to run when tired, around crowds, on footing that differed from ring to ring (grass vs turf), and generally get the whole "big event" experience under his belt early.

I did not expect to win 2 classes and make 2 Finals. . .

We flew out on Tuesday, met our roommate and rental car buddy at the airport, checked into the hotel, and went to the site to set up. I was crating out of the Advanced Canine Rehab tent because I handled the scheduling and wanted to be there to deal with schedule changes all week.

poto by Brandon White
Strafe was in the red crate nearest to me (I'm the one in the hat). I stuffed a 3" memory foam bed into a carry on suitcase, and placed the crate on top of that so he had good, comfortable padding. Strafe disagreed with my strategy and spent the week finding new and creative ways to move the crate so he could try to lay on the ground instead ;)

Wednesday was the first competition day, and did not start out well. It rained a lot Tuesday night and so USDAA did not want to use the 3 competition rings on grass, which  meant the "warm up class" took twice as long to run as it should have, being in 3 rings instead of 6. Regardless, I just wanted to get him running, reinforce his contacts, and get a mild correction in if he hit a bar. Instead, he slid sideways off the see-saw, something he's never done before. I put him back on it, but the entire week after that he was really hesitant to go all the way out the see-saw board and I had to drive him hard to get him into the contact. Later Wed evening (running late), we ran Steeplechase and Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the fall had made him stiff, and he hit a bar in Grand Prix, knocking us out for the rest of the competition. He also hit a bar in Steeplechase but we got through to Semifinals anyway...

After that I made sure he got all the kinks worked out by Ria:)

Neither of these is Strafe, but you get the idea!

He felt better on Thursday. We were the first group to run Team Snooker, and I ran a very ambitious plan, just made it through when we ran out of time, and somehow nobody else throughout the entire day could quite make the same plan work, and we WON the class! Ironic, because he has no Q's in Starters Snooker.

Strafe's first trophy!
later on Thursday was Steeplechase Semifinals. Strafe was feeling much better, and ran fabulously, placing 3rd place in 26" and making it into Finals! So exciting!

Friday we had Team Jumpers and Gamblers, and I caused a bar in Jumpers and was not running fast enough for some reason, but I was pleased with his time regardless - if not for the bar, would have been 2nd place. Gamblers he ran my plan perfectly, we did not place but got a solid amount of points.

Saturday started with Team Standard, a fun, twisty course. I pushed a little bit, and again we WON THE CLASS, beating a former World Team dog by more than a full second. Couldn't be more pleased with the baby! Not bad for having a stopped dogwalk contact either ;)

Saturday night was Steeplechase Finals. This was our very first run in the main ring - it has flapping banners and flags all around, running at night under lights, with a big cheering crowd. I assumed Strafe would be OK with all those things, but I couldn't really know for sure! Well he was more than OK! He ran a lovely clear run and TIED FOR FIRST with Svetlana Tumanova and Skippy, an experienced dog/handler team who has done a lot! She ran first in the run-off and knocked a bar, and since Strafe had no time to cool off from his first run and I had no time to really consider what to do or focus, we tried to run "conservatively" and be clean, but Strafe hit the last bar, and was a little slower than Skippy, so we lost the run-off. Still, the fact that my 2 years and 2 weeks old baby dog TIED with Skippy for FIRST PLACE! makes me very happy, and I think we both gave it our all in the first run. So Strafe ended up 2nd place in his very first Final Round at a National Event! Super happy:)

Sunday morning we got to run in Team Relay Final, Strafe ran his part clean, our team placed 4th in Relay, and 14th overall out of 167 Teams.

I did not get good video of much, but here is bad video off the livestream.

So Strafe came home with 4 big ribbons - 1st in Team Snooker, 1st in Team Standard, 2nd in Steeplechase Finals, and 4th in Team Relay.

He was also the top Individual dog in 26" over all of the Team runs!

He was very tired when we finally got home Monday afternoon.

He is not entered in any more trials until we run some USDAA at the end of October, and he gets the next couple weeks off from agility altogether. We will be hiking more and doing some core strengthening activity.

Starting late next week, I am going to be away almost every day till the end of October. Crazy busy!


corbinwooten said...

Congratulations on a great trip!

LiveWiredAG said...

Was able to watch your Steeplechase finals run from the stands! You guys had absolutely awesome runs!

If you want video from the run off let me know! I got both of the teams videotaped!

Congrats on a fantastic first Nationals with Strafe!

Rosanne said...

I would love any video!

Elf said...

Very well done! Funny how dogs can do stuff like not get a starters snooker but win at Nationals. I think they do it deliberately to make us crazy.

Rosanne said...

Well to be fair, Strafe has only run Starters Snooker twice. the first time he knocked a bar in the closing and got 35 points, the 2nd time I went for a really hard plan and he failed at recalling between 2 jumps across half the ring...