Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Git Along Little Doggies

I love Laramie, Wyoming, it's the perfect combination of cowboy and hippie. Lola and I got our picture in the local paper, the Laramie Boomerang, when we did this trial a couple of years ago, too funny. Other than a quick cruise through the historic downtown area in search of food I didn't have too much time for sight seeing this past weekend though since we were up for a USDAA agility trial. This was Cody's last chance to qualify for Nationals so there was a bit of pressure. I tried no to let it get to me because I didn't want to be nervous in the ring but it was hard to put the thought completely aside. It would make the trip to AZ a lot more worthwhile if I could run both dogs and this is the last year you can qualify for all the events just by qualifying in the Grand Prix. Next year you have to qualify in each event individually and the standards for qualification are being tightened a bit.

Standard runs were first and Cody's was wild. This was our first indoor trial in a while and it was cloudy and cool outside so he was having none of the motivation issues we had at the hot, sun beating down outdoor trials this summer. Then I had the brilliant idea of winding him up while we were waiting our turn. He was so excited he was barking at me as we waited to go into the ring. I thought, this is great, he's going to be flying. Well, he was and I wasn't prepared and he quickly lost focus taking off into an off course tunnel, popping out of the weaves because he was overexcited and leaping over the contact zone on the A-frame. Just about whatever could go wrong did. This did not bode well for the Grand Prix and his chances at qualifying for Nationals.

I can't quite remember where Lo's run went wrong but it did somewhere and we had an off course. She did her down on the table though and I think she got all her contacts with not so much creeping/stalling so that was something to be happy about. Those masters standard courses are tough.

Lo was up first in the Grand Prix which meant I could see how the course ran and adjust for Cody if need be. It wasn't a great course for Cody, lots of traps and an awkward jump sequence towards the end with traps on either side just begging for an off course. I'd resigned myself to the fact that Cody likely wouldn't qualify, never mind the confidence rattling run from the first class. But I managed to get Lola through clean for yet another Q and I think that completes her Grand Prix requirements for her championship title (lots of Q's left in all the other classes though).

So I went to the start line with Cody with a wee bit more confidence but not too much. He's such a freaky dog, there's no telling what he'll do at any given moment. But he was in a happy, focused mood and we had a beautiful, smooth, flawless run. My friends watching in the stands erupted in cheers and I just about burst into tears as he cleared the final jump. The thought of my crazy, mixed up Cody who could barely stay in the ring when we started out several years ago (never mind the year off for shoulder surgery) actually qualifying for Nationals was pretty amazing and all the more so with the added drama of it being our last chance. Lots of people from my training field came up afterwards to congratulate us on our run so it must have looked really nice. I'm going to order the video of it so I can see for myself. His run was good enough for 3rd place and a big fancy ribbon. Lo came in fractions of a second behind him in fourth.

I could have gone home happy right then but I still had Snooker to contend with and a whole day of runs on Sunday so I had to keep my head together.

I decided to go for a nice, smooth course for Snooker and not worry about winning/Super Q's. It was a great set up for flow with reds in all 4 corners of the course. At the 3rd obstacle of Lola's run I somehow got my legs all tangled up as I attemped some weird wrap/front cross and I managed to fall on my ass/right hip. Hard. I was o.k. but then tweaked my knee as I tried to stand up and get going again. Yowch. I got up and finished the run making it all the way to 6 (second to last obstacle) in the closing which was freaky enough but we somehow had enough points for first place and another Super Q. Cody's run didn't go as well, he was running pretty wild again and my handling was crap but he was happy so that was good enough for me.

No Q's in standard or jumpers for Lola on Sunday due to my crappy handling. I just couldn't get my head around this judge's standard courses this weekend. No Q for Cody in standard but he had a lovely jumpers run on a really fun course earning his first Q in master jumpers and second place.

All in all a great end to our 2006 USDAA season.

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