Monday, May 21, 2012

Chipping Away

Another USDAA trial this past weekend.  Two in a row is unusual for me but I'm determined to qualify for Nationals and get out of Starters before it's time for the Vet class.  I also haven't been down to this trial site in Fountain, just south of Colorado Springs, for years.  On the one hand it's really nice, lots of shady parking so if it isn't broasting outside you can crate out of your car right next to the rings.  There's also a nice big field away from the rings for warming up and almost nobody seemed to go back there so I could do my goofy warm-up routine that I learned in boot camp without worrying about putting on a show for all the other crazy dog ladies and men though could be there were some folks in their RV's having a good laugh.

Strummer rocking the broad jump in Steeplechase.  Photo by the awesome Ken Gee.

On the other hand the site has many challenges including a freight train that rolled past very near the rings throughout the day, a nearby munitions area where military grade explosions were going off, the occasional military jet flying overhead and thunder on Saturday afternoon.  Normally any one of those things would send Strummer into a shaking, panting, panicking ball of mess let alone several of them happening simultaneously but somehow when there are agility toys nearby he can handle thunder, trains and bombs going off with nary a bat of the eye.  I'm not complaining but sheesh, what a weirdo dog.  I was surprised at the small entry given USDAA Nat's. coming to town but maybe there are others whose dogs can't cope quite as well and they decided to find other activities for the weekend.  Sites are hard to come by though and I'm glad I didn't have to drive the extra 25 minutes to Pueblo where they normally hold this trial.  Already it was a 1 hour, 50 minute drive and I went home on Saturday night to avoid catching bedbugs or something worse and a poor night's sleep in whatever unsavory hotel I might have ended up in.

Overall it was a good trial, we're slowly chipping away at our bid to qualify for Nationals and get out of Starters.  We picked up a 2nd Steeplechase Q on Saturday with a 2nd place finish, only .24 secs. behind 1st, very fun run and I really really wanted to qualify in Steeplechase for Nat's.  So now we only need 1 Grand Prix Q to be qualified in everything.  There are 4 more chances, 3 if the site of one trial is not going to work for Strummer, and I figure if we don't get it then it's not worth shelling out the zillions of $$$ to enter it at Nationals anyway.  We also had 3/3 perfect dogwalks on Saturday and picked up a Gamblers Q that we didn't really need but it was fun anyway.  Also picked up a Starters Snooker Q on Sunday so now all we need is 1 Jumpers and 1 Standard Q to get out of Starters. 

We didn't get the Grand Prix Q we needed but at least the course was more reasonable than some of the others we've seen.  Strum missed a weave entry right off the bat and then later I eased up in my handling and got a back jump towards the end but he had a beautiful dogwalk and I was happy with how I handled everything else, including many more rear crosses than I'm used to doing.  Weave entries were a huge problem this weekend, I'm going to have to go back to basics I think.

Aside from our nice Snooker run Sunday did not go nearly as well.  A huge miss on the dogwalk in Standard thought to be fair it was a difficult scenario with the dogwalk going into nowhere and then a sharp turn off into the weaves.  The rest of the run was a mess, a dropped bar and some other fault too I think.  Steeplechase Finals was also a mess, 2 missed weave entries, a dropped bar, a big miss on the broad jump and then he ran off to the score table for his treats rather than following me to the last jump which was not at all obvious to be fair.  But still.  I got him back eventually but all the wasted time getting him back plus re-doing 2 sets of weaves and 10 faults put us all the way in 7th place.  Ah well, at least we had our fun and got our Nationals Q in the first round.  Though that was the last run of the trial and I wish we could have ended on a better note.

Next trial isn't for over a month and I'm only signing up for 1 day/3 runs since I have my first triathlon of the season up in Wyoming on the Sunday.  That trial is also a 1 hour, 50 minute drive so I don't want to be stuck there too late or exhaust myself with too many runs though I'm feeling pretty good after this weekend despite the driving and 4 runs on Saturday.  Still, no point in spending the $$ on Steeplechase and 3 runs should be plenty.  Part of me wishes I could trial more.  I know we could get more consistent if I did.  But the other part of me doesn't want to spend the time, money and driving so we'll stick with once a month for now, maybe twice in August for practice as we get closer to Nat's. but we'll see.

Trial Stats

Steeplechase Q, 2nd place Round 1 (.24 seconds off of 1st), 7th place Round 2

Starters Snooker Q, 1st place

Starters Gamblers Q, 2nd place

Dogwalks:  3/4 (75%) 

A-frames:  10/12 or 11/12, not sure if 1 was called, might have been up contact on one or both (83%  or 92%)

Weave entries:  1/7 (14%)   didn't pop out at all, weave entries were challenging even for Starters but sheesh

Knocked bars:  3 (1 each in 2 rounds of Standard and Steeplechase Finals)

Teeters:  4/4 (100%)

Table: 2/2 (100%)


  1. Congrats on being almost qualified in everything. That trial site "sounds" like a challenge in itself...

    Strummer's looking great -- love that photo.

  2. Congrats on the Steeplechase Q; that's nice to be done with. Always weird to qualify and then bomb in round 2--like, how is it possible to do so well in one round but not the next? Better that way than the other, I suppose.

  3. You did have nice runs on Saturday and such beautiful dogwalks. Lots of dogs had trouble with that one on Sunday in Masters.
    I don't remember what you did in Sunday's snooker, but I do recall you got all the way through the closing.
    Nice to be so close to qualified.

    Rip needs 1 more Steeplechase Q and I botched this one with a missed weave entry and a jumped contact. Next time!
    Funny you mention weave entries because Rip missed two this weekend, and I can't remember the last time he missed one.

  4. Anonymous7:31 AM

    another way to look at trial money is that to trial well, you need to practice trialing (spellcheck says this is not a word but spell check is wrong,) so money spent trialing is money in the do well at trials bank.
    quite a few people who usually go to that trial went to SC Regionals in ft worth, which is usually the week after ACAT.

  5. Yeah, I'm very glad I had my nice run in round 1 and got my Nat's. Q.

    It would be great if I had messed up Masters Standard on Sunday but alas it was Starters Standard and aside from the challenging dogwalk to weaves section it was a very easy course. In general there were a lot of tough weave entries this weekend even in Starters. Rip will get his Steeplechase Q, still lots of tries left.

    I do get that I would do better at trialing the more I trialed but I can't spend money I don't have :) Darn that mortgage and grocery bill.

    I know some folks were at Regionals but I'm wondering where all the folks were who flooded the Jan. and March trials who aren't hardcore USDAA folks but who want to go to Nat's. Maybe they won't trial outside? Maybe the figure they can qualify at the Denver trials and didn't want to travel to Fountain. Hard to say.

  6. Funny--we were just talking this weekend about how our January & February USDAA trials were filled to the teeth with competitors, but our May trials were wayyyyy down from last year. Everyone got spring fever at the same time? I thought it might be just how many trials there are around here of different venues, but maybe not.

  7. There are trials every weekend in May and I think even 2-3 trials on one weekend so it could be people are spread out between them all. Lot of those folks who came out in Jan./March typically only do AKC and maybe DOCNA but want to go to USDAA Nats. since it's in their backyard but probably don't care enough about it to skip an AKC trial.

  8. Anonymous6:30 PM

    some of those people might have gotten scared off at Brighton when it was suggested, for the sake of keeping the trial moving, that they walk 2 courses and then run them :-)
    yeah, i guess food and a mortgage trump entry fees.
    are you going to that GP/Steeplechase only trial on july 4th?

  9. Ha ha, if that's the case they'll have a rude awakening at Nat's.

    Yes, I just sent my entry in. Not sure why it was so expensive but I had boatloads of worker's coupons so that helped.

    Are you going to go? I imagine that's a long drive for 2 runs and I'm guessing you have your qualifiers by now but maybe you're in town for something else?

  10. Anonymous1:02 PM

    i'll be back east visiting my family. but you're right, i would not have driven over for just those 2 classes... rita does have all her Qs, though, so who know what i might have done if i needed them:-)
    good luck!
    this proving i am not a robot is getting tedious. half the time, i don't type the non words correctly. you'd think blogger would know that a robot would get it right the first time.