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SMART USDAA Agility Trial - August 26-27, 2006

Well, Mia and I decided to do the trek to SMART despite the fact that Bay Team is next week. One of the main reasons we came to this trial was because Nancy (Chance's mom) takes SUCH good care of us. Two nights of bitchin' meals, free romping for the dogs in the yard...doesn't get much better than this!
This was Kane’s first USDAA trial and I made a HUGE mistake. I paired Chancie and Kane up in Pairs and asked Mia if she would run Kane for me. Well, Kane tried his heart out (I was running Chance) but it fried his brain; he had no idea why I was standing there with another dog :-( He wasn't really confident for the rest of the day so hopefully tomorrow will be better. Cinder was LOVELY, she and Max picked up another Masters Pairs leg and she also made the 2nd round of Steeplechase, did the Master Gamble (but ran out of time because I was being so careful to get it right) and was a wild child in Standard :-) Gale was AWESOME - did ALL her weaves! Yay Gale! Too bad her pairs partner (someone we don't know) sent her dog off course. Sigh....

Chance was LOVELY on Saturday. Our Perf. Pairs run was perfect - Chance was fast and furious, too bad Kane was so freaked out about not running with me. Perf. I Gamblers was a blast and Chance was really moving! And then there was critical handler error: as Chance was heading straight for the 3rd jump in the Gamble, I called him off. Bad handler.....Our final run of the day was Perf. I Standard - other than a broken start line (sigh...) Chance was fast, lovely and responsive and he picked up his 2nd PI leg with a first place. But we definitely need to work on his contacts and start line some more :-) He was so happy though....

The most interesting run of the day was definitely Star and Finn in Masters Pairs. I had agreed to run Finn for Mia (since she had run Kane for me.) Star had to run first and Finn was absolutely hysterical, I mean that literally. As Mia was running, I had a body grip on Finn because he was screaming and making all kinds of weird sounds trying to get to Mia. At the exchange, the only thing Finn wanted to do was go to Mia: after what felt like an eternity of man-handling, I got Finn to sit. Only problem was that he was facing the wrong way. Thank heavens he is athletic: he came out like a rocket and ran BEAUTIFULLY for me (except for the A-Frame contact because he was running at Mia) and was wonderful. So Star finished her Relay Master! Yay Starlet!!!!

The golden old girl, Patches, was perfect on Saturday. She only had two runs - PIII Std and Leap N Chase and she ran clean in both of them despite the fact that I was totally unprepared for the standard run. Thank heavens for an older, seasoned dog! Good girlie Patches!

Before I forget, a little discussion about Max and Cinder's Pairs run: it was quite the adventure. After initially putting the two together, so we could go for placements, Mia and I have been humbled enough that we now just try to get around. In the past, Mia would send Max off course at the 2nd to last obstacle every frickin' time! Our first run had some scary moments with Max. He nearly went off-course to a teeter and after a HARD call by Mia, he started growling. She front-crossed the weaves and he bit her calf (lovely bruise there now). The exchange went fine, Cinder was fast and clean, and I was thinking Mia should get some ice on her leg. Turns out the timer wasn't working and I think both Mia and I had the same evil thoughts. We pushed the dogs harder and ended up finishing in 4th place in a very competitive class. Yippee!!!

Sunday was another good day. My Started dogs (Kane and Chance) had a lot of fun. Kane Q'd in everything (PI Snooker, Std and Jumpers) while Chance didn't :-) Chance has started breaking his start line and not holding his contacts...sigh....his owner Nancy has been told to work on this before Bay Team <VBG>
All the Masters dogs (Cin, Gale and Patches) Q'd in Snooker - even though Cin dropped a bar in one of the opening combos (that I HAD planned on doing 2 more times) so that caused a brief "Oh man, what I am going to do now????" Despite the COMPLETE change of plan and horrendous calls and angles, Cinder was lovely and finished with a Q. Gale was wonderful - did her weaves and got her 2nd Masters Snooker Q! YAY GALE!

The Masters Standard course was NOT pretty. The judge likes really terrible angles to things (like the dog walk approach in the Grand Prix - it was AWFUL!) I pulled Gale because I could see no reason on earth to run her on this completely demotivating course but both Cin and Patch got around clean. But it wasn't pretty. Like I said, the GP course was horrid - only Cin got around with a qualifying round but Gale would have if I hadn't done some weird thing at the teeter (which I have never done with her) and she jumped off the side. Poor Gale. But she got a hard weave entry and one-footed through the poles. I think Gale's weaves are back! Yay!

Cin made the 2nd round of the Steeplechase and the course was lovely. Only problem was that the grass got really slippery: dogs were slipping all over the place and bars were coming down. Despite some scary moments (where I thought Cin was going to face-plant) she kept all her bars up and had a respectable finish. But this run convinced me to pull ALL my Masters dogs from Jumpers: first, the course was ugly and fairly de-motivating; second, my dogs were/are TIRED (this is the 2nd full weekend in a row of showing and we still have Bay Team next week; and third, I couldn't see the point of risking a potential injury on any of them. So...even though we were there for the runs, me and my dogs didn't play :-)

The weekend was a good one but man, it was a long show and an even longer drive home. I am glad Mia and I are traveling together next weekend - talking on the phone isn't quite the same as having a body in the car with you when you are driving. I have to mention (once again) that staying at Nancy’s is so WONDERFUL for the dogs (and me!)

Thank you Nancy!



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