We ran round one of the Steeplechase early in the day and boy was that course interesting. There was a spot on the course we all started calling “Dead Man’s Curve.” I sat and watched dog after dog go off course (really good dogs) and started to get a very large pit in my stomach. I should not have worried – while I ran very conservative (which makes Cinder slow down and look at me funny) we managed to get around the course clean and qualify for Round 2. Yay Cin!
Our Masters Standard on day 2 was lovely – fast and furious – but unfortunately, Cinder hit the table going too fast and although she tried really hard (all nails extended and scrabbling) she couldn’t hang on to the table and came off. She gave me such a pitiful look (“I really tried Mom!”) that I pet her before putting her back on the table. I am glad I did that: she was happy and confident for her Grand Prix run and we managed to get around that clean and qualify for Round 2 – and so did Patches! Good girls.
Day Three dawned and I was sore and tired. I can’t imagine how Cinder felt. Patches had only had 2 runs per day but Cinder had 6! The Final Round of the Steeplechase was a fast, super fun course. Cinder was dynamite, I couldn’t have asked more, but I made the fatal error of quick releasing her a second too soon on the A-Frame and we got called for it. Oh well – she was LOVELY. Then she Q’d again in Masters Standard (took 7th place!) and we were on the line for the Grand Prix Round 2. I had run it earlier with Patch (who incurred a refusal which was my fault) so I was really paranoid about that particular spot on course. I shouldn’t have been. I should also know the rules a little better. Cinder was lovely – we had one bar down (in the area I was worried about) so I went into training mode. Little did I realize that the top 50% of the dogs get an automatic “bye” into the semi-Finals at Nationals and I should have been pushing Cinder since so many dogs were crashing and burning. When I came out of the ring, Mia was saying “WHY DID YOU DO THAT? WHY DID YOU SLOW DOWN???!!!” This was not a good way to end the show. I packed up (feeling absolutely disgusted with myself for not knowing the rules) and hit the road. Those first 30 miles were veeerrryy loooong as I beat myself up. And then I got a phone call from Mia: “You geek. Cinder qualified despite you!” It’s amazing how those two sentences changed my entire attitude for the rest of the drive home!
The show was a blast – it was wonderful to see all the top competitors and top dogs and see how truly nice most of them are. The show was extremely well run and the site was lovely. I can hardly wait to go back next year!