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USDAA TRIAL April 13-16, 2006 Dixon, CA THE GREAT ADVENTURE

DAY ONE OF THE GREAT ADVENTURE

Mia and I are calling this experience "an adventure". It was a fun drive and I had lined up a stockdog lesson for Sizzle with Sherry Baker on Wed. Let me just say, that lesson was worth the entire trip! Sherry worked Sizzle for an hour and did some AMAZING things with her. Sigh….I wish I lived closer to her! Guess I’ll be doing a lot more driving in the future!

The drive up here was rain-free, until about 20 minutes from Dixon. Kate had already made it to the show site and was telling us it was bad, but just how bad I couldn't comprehend. All the rings have
some standing water and as Mia and I walked around one of the drier looking rings, Mia discovered that the grass was just hiding the water underneath (she thought she was stepping on solid ground and wound up with water over her ankle.) It's definitely not pretty and I'll be curious how they alter the courses to keep things safe. 4 days, 4 rings and 5000 runs, I can't imagine what's going to happen to the footing. The adventure continues early tomorrow morning, since it's so wet there's no good crating, so they're letting us all basically crate out of our cars. Thank heavens for the van!

DAY TWO OF THE GREAT ADVENTURE
No rain today, but it sounds like it's coming tomorrow. The show committee did an amazing job with LOTS of straw and shavings in an attempt to make the footing better. All I can say is, it was MUDDY!!!! Despite that, I had a rather nice day! Gale qualified in Adv. Standard and Masters Jumpers and Cinder qualified in Masters Standard, Masters Jumpers and was solid in all the DAM events (we did Snooker, Gamblers, Jumpers and Standard today, only the 3-Dog Relay for the DAM tomorrow). Despite the club’s attempts to improve the footing – the more dogs ran, the worse it got – slushy and slippery. There were definitely more bars down than normal and there were a couple times that the footing affected handling decisions (I can probably count the front crosses I did with all 3 dogs on two hands). But the dogs tried their hearts out and that is all that really counts!

DAY THREE OF THE GREAT ADVENTURE

First off - IT HASN'T RAINED!!!!

Second - GIDGET GOT HER ATCH!!!! (And I am sooooo jealous she got the big pretty ribbon and I got the dinky little ass ribbon from CPA.) But Gidget had a LOVELY standard run and got the job done! YAY GIDGET AND DIANE!!!!

Third: MAX AND MISHA WON VERSATILITY PAIRS!!!! The whole friggin' thing! Max was the golden child (as usual) and ran flawless every time.

OK - back to the rest of us. The Santa Barbarians (Seeker, Starlet and Cinder) ended up 14th out of over 75 teams) so we are all quite happy with that. Finn's team didn't do quite as well - according to Mia, three E's in Standard was NOT something they could come back from. Bummer.

Quick synopsis:

Patches has not had a successful trial (so far.) She leaped the dog walk contact today in Standard (with great joy and verve - Betty we are going to start training this dog again!) and then in Jumpers yesterday she dropped a bar but that was due to mud and muck. Her Performance Grand Prix was horrific - a busted start
line, a leaped dog walk contact (Betty, did I mention we are going to start training this dog again?) and just a "la la la" attitude so she didn't Q in that. However, she redeemed herself in PIII Snooker by smoking the course and qualifying. She might have Super Q'd, I will check tomorrow....

Gale had a limited show day today - but she easily qualified in the Performance Grand Prix with a clean run. YAY GALE!!! Unfortunately, we literally had to run from that ring straight to the Adv Std ring and start our run. The good news is that Gale has been sticking her A-Frame contacts all weekend - but she did "forget" how to weave in standard today. Oh well, there is always tomorrow and she only needs one more leg. I pulled her from Adv Snooker because (1) the course was REALLY ugly and (2) it was the end of the day and Mia and I wanted to go home.

Cinder. What do I say about Cinder? She has been BRILLIANT,AWESOME, SUPER (these are all the words Mia has been telling me about the Binder-brain.) She was dynamite in Team Relay, qualified AGAIN in Masters Standard, would have done the Masters Gambler if her mom wasn't a moron and then had a SMOKING Snooker's run. Cinder is my personal golden child. She hasn't stepped a paw wrong since last Oct....what a gal.

So...no rain yesterday, LOVELY weather today. We got a couple smatterings of rain "spittings" but honestly, we were enjoying it because it was getting hot! Weather is supposed to be clear tomorrow so yippee skippee. Steeplechase here we come! Oh - and the courses have been WONDERFUL - tons of flow, fast and furious. The club has been AWESOME - we were finished by 5pm today and still no rain!!!

DAY FOUR OF THE GREAT ADVENTURE

First off - THE WEATHER HELD AGAIN!!! Woo Hoo!!! It got a little ugly looking for a little while but never really rained enough to even get us wet or make the ground sloggy. It has been great!

So...let's see....let's start with the grand old lady. Patches made the cut in Leap N Chase so will be in the finals tomorrow. PIII Standard was wonderful until the dog walk (3rd to last obstacle) when Patches gleefully leaped off and blew her run. Betty - did I mention we were going to train her dog walk???? She then ran in Oscar's Pairs with another lovely Aussie and they picked up 4th place. She had a smoking PIII Jumpers run, kept all the bars up and now only needs one more leg for her Jumpers Championship! Yay Patch!

Cinder was (once again) lovely today. Mom however, was a moron. I sent her off course in Standard (and made her drop a bar) and then made her drop a bar in Jumpers (and she was being soooo good....) I had one slightly traumatic moment with Cin and Steeplechase today and it had nothing to do with her run. This is a four-ring show so there are bound to be conflicts. Well, I kept trying to move Cin up in the Steeplechase run because Advanced Pairs was also running at the same time. Of course they wanted to keep to "catalogue run order" and I kept saying "I have dog in Advanced Pairs to be immediately followed by a run in Oscar's Pairs and that ring takes precedence" and the gate steward at the Steeplechase ring kept saying "No, you can't move Cinder." To make a long, traumatic story short, AS I WAS RUNNING PATCHES I hear over the loudspeaker, "Kristi Cetrulo and Cinder - come to the Steeplechase ring NOW." Yeah - slight meltdown....the good news is that Cinder was phenomenal and made the cut! Woo Hoo!!!

My star today was Gale. What a gal....She was paired with a veeerrryyy slllooooowww Aussie in Adv Pairs and was fast enough to make up the difference so picked up an Adv Pairs leg. Then she went over to Masters Jumpers and had a smoking course and picked up another leg! And then, she went and qualified in Advanced Standard (with a placement, I just can’t remember.) YAY GALE!!!!!!! This show has gone ridiculously well - it is actually kind of embarrassing. Now I know why Mia wanted to come!

DAY FIVE OF THE GREAT ADVENTURE

It was dumping this morning. I mean POURING!! We couldn't complain, since we'd had such good weather the previous days, but the ground was so saturated, the dumping definitely had an impact on the footing.
I had a great day today. I played it VERY safe with Patches in Standard and we just missed time in PIII Standard. (And it would have helped if it hadn’t taken Patches at least 10 seconds to lie down on the table!!!) After running Patch, I scratched Cinder – there was no way I running my fast dog on that course. I also scratched from Snooker and was getting ready to scratch Gale from Adv. Gamblers, but then I realized that Gale still needed a Adv. Gamblers leg for her AAD, so I decided to give that a try, IF the timing worked out. There was no way I was going to stand around in the rain for 45 minutes for an Adv. Gamble run – plus that virtually guarantees we wouldn’t get a Q <VBG.>

I ran Cinder in Steeplechase and had a really solid run. We ended up 12th overall which is great for the quality of dogs that were there. Right after Steeplechase (literally,) I ran Gale over to the Adv. Gamblers class. We showed up while the dog ahead of us in the run order was on course, so I gave the ball and my jacket to the gate steward and off we went. Gale was awesome. It appears that she REALLY likes just stepping into the ring without a big warm up. The gamble had 12 weaves in it and those of you who know Gale, know that we have been battling the weaves in competition (she's Finn's sister, so you know she's always super solid in practice :-)). Gale was fast and furious in the opening and did the gamble like she was
in her backyard, what a great way for her to finish her AAD. Woohoo!

I also have to give a special thanks to my great teammates Mia and Terra! I have such a great time with you guys and I REALLY like our team mentality – we all seem to fit well together. I hope The Santa Barbarians live on for a long time!

I also have to say, if you like USDAA, you have to plan on coming to this trial next year. Put in for time off early, it is worth it. I think it's my favorite show and I will definitely be going again next year!

 
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