Thursday, August 27, 2009

USDAA Laramie 2009

I know, Thursday already and I'm only now getting to a trial report. The lice panic threw me for a loop and last night I spent most of the night doing more laundry and vacuuming the spongy guts of the dog beds and crate pads. It's a bit overboard I know but it makes me feel better and I can't believe the amount of dirt and dog hair that's come up in my dryer's lint filter. I was probably better off before when I was living in denial of all the dirt and dog hair in everything. It's a good thing I'm working and busy all the time and have no time to dwell on it or I'd probably go mad.

The Laramie USDAA trial is one of my favorites. It's indoors so heat is not an issue and one ring so you can relax and watch other people's runs and not have to work every class and run between rings tearing your hair out over the conflicts. I like driving through WY, so pretty and wild and wide open. It's a 2 hour drive but it feels like a different world.

Lola had some nice runs and even picked up an elusive Gamblers Q. Her last one was a million years ago and she needs 3 more for her Perf. ADCH. At this rate she'll finish them off at age 37. I also ran her in Snooker, Jumpers and Standard, all of them really nice runs but for one little thing or another. I was particularly sad about missing that Standard run, she was going so nicely through all the tricky bits, got her table, weaves, contacts and simply ran past the teeter for a refusal. She was on a nice line to it too, I took my eye off her because I thought it was so obvious. I'll bet she was the only Masters dog to make that mistake, my creative little girl. But otherwise such a nice, fun run.

Strummer had mostly nice runs with one train wreck thrown in to keep me humble. I had a lot of total strangers, really good handlers, come up and introduce themselves and tell me what a nice dog Strum is. It was both nice and a little strange. One guy said he remembered on of Strum's runs from last February! I think it's because of the one ring trial, more people are able to watch and have time for socializing or something. It's always nice to meet new people though and of course it's nice when people tell you what a great dog you have.

Thanks to Julie we have super fancypants HD video of Strummer's crazy antics. She's got Strummer's twin brother. He's the nice one while Strummer of course is the one with the devil horns.

Strum had a pretty Speed Jumping run except for the weaves. This was puzzling to me since he's been doing good with the weaves in the trials. Weird. He couldn't do them in Standard either. Wonderful running A-frame though and I pulled off a front cross, yeah baby. He was 100% for 4 A-frames this trial.
(Click on link to view)

Had a little bobble at the start of his Jumpers run then got momentarily lost after a front cross but pulled it together for his first USDAA Q and 1st place.


Standard was the train wreck. After his Jumpers run a really good handler I know who knows a lot about jumping was telling me what a nice Jumper Strummer is, how he's jumping off his rear and judging take-offs nicely and he's 'scopey' (I had to look that one up) and probably a bunch of other things I can't remember right now. She and all these really good, top handlers were watching him and discussing him in the stands. Which isn't too intimidating. Then he proceeded to crash through the second jump of his Standard run like it wasn't even there. Poor guy, it looks worse on video than I realized. If I'd seen how bad it was I would have stopped his run right then and there. I'm not even sure what happened, it looks as if he didn't see it until the last second. I was frustrated with my handling as well but on the plus side I noticed my arm flying up about halfway through and stopped myself from doing it the rest of the run. It was the only time all weekend where it felt like he was running wild out of control so I suppose that's something. It was the last class of the second day and I think he was starting to get a little fried. A fly was winding him up right before he went in the ring and that didn't help matters.


No video for Gamblers but he had a beautiful run. The judge gave him credit for his dogwalk but he failed my criteria. Then we had to stop and re-run about 1/3 of the way through due to a timer malfunction and on the re-run he totally blew the contact. That was the only bad part though, got both his A-frames and handled nicely. Didn't get the gamble but was so fast and amassed so many points that he had more points in his opening than the first place dog had with its Gamble points. Silly crazy boy.

He was bad in his crate at the start of the trial, barking his fool head off despite being covered and as far away from the ring as possible. Unfortunately the noise of the other dogs running sets him off as well as the visual. I couldn't put him in the car Friday night because it was too hot but he spent Saturday morning in the car. I worked with him a little when I had to bring him back in and by the later classes he was finally quiet.

We slept in the car on Friday night in an effort to save money and it was so much nicer than a hotel room. I have a nice comfy air mattress so my back was fine. I didn't miss having a shower since I'd driven up on Friday afternoon and only had 3 runs. It was so much quieter than a hotel and it was nice waking up and being right at the trial site. The dogs alarm barked a few times during the night and at one point I looked out and saw what was probably a coyote but otherwise they were good and I don't mind them barking to scare the wildlife away. Strummer couldn't relax sleeping with me & Lola so I put a crate pad on one of the front seats and Mr. Fidgetpants finally settled in for the night. I had way too many blankets and layers on and had to shed some before the night was done so cold was not a problem. Overall much better than the expensive scary hotels in Laramie. I'm just glad I didn't know about the lice at the time or the night would have gone a whole different way.

I didn't enter for Sunday and drove back Saturday night because I wanted to relax and get one more bike ride in before my race next weekend. Just as well because Lola was limping on Sunday. Not a big limp but still. It's probably her bicep tendonitis flaring up as it sometimes does or maybe the arthritis in her feet flaring up or both. Of course it was the day after closing for a DOCNA trial she's entered in over Labor Day. When this stuff flares up I typically give her 2 days of Rymadil and 4 days of rest then gradually ease her back up to activity with leash walks. She might be fine for the trial, we'll see how she handles the return to activity. She's not handling her rest period well but tomorrow she can finally walk for a bit. Poor girl, sucks getting old, I know all about it. My knee was acting up Friday night and was sore on Saturday for the first time in weeks then was fine again on Sunday. We gimp along as best we can when we get old, I guess it's all we can do.

Do I even want to know what this is for?


  1. Rift has a shiny set of his own devil horns don't worry!!

  2. Somehow I managed to miss most all of your runs with both Strum and Lola, so thanks for posting some video!
    I think Strum looked good generally, maybe needing more trial experience with weaves. Even your "trainwreck" run was not bad - it had a lot of good elements. Seems maybe he isnt paying good attention with lead-outs, as in a couple runs he was not sure what he was supposed to do after the first jump.
    He's going to be just amazing when it all comes together as a team.

  3. I think most of his issues stem from being so amped up at a trial though he's been doing weaves nicely in general at trials, maybe missing an entry or running past them at first but he usually gets them done.

    It's hard to tell from the tapes but he's so wound up in general, esp. for that standard run. Pulling off that second or third jump during Jumpers was my fault, he read my motion perfectly. I peeled of laterally a little bit too soon and he came with me. His committment point is so late, same as Lola.

    I need more practice with him amped up or maybe some doggie vallium on trial morning would work.

  4. Just so you know, the steer hooked up to the tractor is for practicing Team roping (specifically heeling).

    Morganne (ex-professional Cowgirl).

  5. Oh, and your runs with Strummer were great. Especially the jumpers.

  6. Phew, that's much better than what I thought it was for.

  7. Congrats on getting all of Strum's aframes! Dogwalk criteria--well, my theory is that, with running dogwalks, you work your buns off to have very safe criteria and then in the heat of competition if it's off, it hopefully won't be all off. But I haven't actually taught running dogwalks, so what do I know?

    [As you know from my latest posts] it's so easy to become frustrated at one's handling. Sure, even the top folks make mistakes, but mostly they're spot on and I sometimes feel like my dogs are solving puzzles all the way through the class. Still--that's teamwork! And most of hte time it works, and you both get incrementally better. In theory. (I'm big on theory here.)

    Sleeping in car--I now use a chaise longue pad (like the garden chairs?) instead of an air mattress. More comfortable, don't have to blow it up or worry about it getting an unfindable hole.

    Take care of that knee.