Wednesday, April 2, 2008


This past weekend, the dogs and I travelled down to Albuquerque, New Mexico with Judy and Sisu for the SWAT USDAA trial. It was a two-ring trial held outdoors in a soccer field. A beautiful location and the weather was awsome! Sunny and warm.

My goal for this trial was to earn an Advanced Gamblers and Snooker leg so Sage could finish her AAD title and also (hopefully) to earn a Q in Steeplechase or Grand Prix to qualify for Nationals. Well Sage had a wrong course in both tournament classes;-( both were tunnels which is unusual for her. In all fairness, the Steeplechase course was tight and very technical. I thought I was walking an AKC Excellent-level standard course. There were not a lot of Q's on that course. But the GP course was very nice and flowing and my lack of full rotation in a FC sent Sage to the wrong course tunnel.

Sage did Q in Gamblers and Snooker though and finished her AAD title! The Gamble was a bit tricky for us but doable. The Snookers course was a nightmare. Very difficult and even the closing sequence was tricky. I was bummed when I looked at the coursemap as I wanted this Q so badly. Snooker is what always holds us up from moving to the next level. It's been a hard game for me to learn but I'm really starting to enjoy it and it's quickly becoming my favorite of all the games.

There were very few qualifying runs in the Masters Snooker class which was identical to the Advanced course. To make matters worse, I was 5 dogs from running Summit in Starters Snooker in ring 2 and Advanced Snooker was being run at the same time in ring one. Judy held Summit while I quickly walked the Advanced course, then Shar went and got Sage out of her crate and warmed her up while I waited to run Summit. Just as I was getting ready to go in the ring with Summit, I heard the gate steward calling Sage's name in ring one. Yikes! They knew I had a conflict but the class was small. I quickly stepped into the ring with Summit, made it to the second red jump and for a split second, forgot where I was sending him next (I had two courses in my brain), and he backjumped the second red. Whistle goes off and I run off the course, quickly hand him to Judy and run over to ring one where Shar was holding Sage. I really needed to clear my mind at this time and just focus on the advanced Snooker course and try and remember what my strategy was.

I still can't believe it but we ran that course clean and somewhat smoothly (as smooth as a Snooker run can be anyway). Sage got the Advanced Snooker leg with a First Place. We did not max the points (only taking 3 reds) but Sage was the only dog that qualified in the 22" class so hence the first place.

Summit did really well at this trial. This was his first USDAA trial as well as his first one outdoors. Some dogs (like Sage) can get the zoomies at their first outdoor trial but Summit stayed focused. He only dropped one bar out of the five classes (cause by my yelling a command while he went over the jump). Not bad for the first time jumping 22" in competition. His contacts were solid and his table was good (no sliding off the backside).

He had some really nice runs with minor faults and managed to run a perfect standard course and place on Sunday.

We arrived home about 11:00 pm Sunday night. I had two very tired dogs. I was exhausted. This was the first time running two dogs in USDAA (and Summit was not even entered in the tournaments). I had 14 runs over two days. A very fun weekend!

No comments: