Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Teams and Titling

The Fair Hill trial was a few weeks ago now.

It was so much fun! I think secretarying for not-my-club is a little more relaxing than when I secretary for Keystone. The weather was great with no rain ... first time in 7 years or so I heard!

I've only ever done Fair Hill twice ... once with Princess back when USDAA was running it and it was still the Steeplechase and DAM Team Nationals and once, last year, with Luce. Both times I only went for one day, so this was a whole new experience.

I had Luce entered in everything and she LOVED the cooler weather. I had my old (young) dog back! We got a few Q's including a Gamble Q!!!! Two more and that is her APD, the Performance ADCH!

Rebecca & Piper teamed with Luce and me for Performance Versatility Pairs. We were supposed to team for NE Regionals. I wanted to do Team as I figured we would need another Team Q in order to earn the Accomplished Tournament Dog at some point in time. I didn't think we could earn the rest of the 10 Perf. Grand Prix Q's by the end of 2008 which is when the new Performance titling rules come into effect (finally!) By June 2008, we already had 7 GP Q's, 2 Steeplechase and 1 PVP. So, old or new rules, we had enough tournaments for the APD. New rules will mirror the Championship requirements, so for the Accomplished title, need 2 of each tournament and fill in the rest.

Rebecca had emailed me back before the NE Regional, asking if anyone had entered PVP as a draw, but it had to be someone wanted to go for a Q but understood if things happened. Or understood if she needed to pull Piper as Piper had had some medical issues the few months before. As I said, I had wanted to enter PVP, but hadn't lined anything up and was hesitant to enter as a draw as we can be inconsistant and the heat really slows Luce (and me!!) down. After all, chocolate DOES melt in the heat :-) Plus, being trial secretary means I am distracted and even less on my so-called game than usual. So this was perfect!!!

Back in 2006 when we hosted the NE Regional and I was secretary for it, I missed the Team Snooker briefing, and never had a chance to look at a course map. I walked it but it was quite a while before we could run. I totally missed that the #7 was tunnel, jump, tunnel. We were having a good run and were going for the 7 (can't remember if it was in the opening or closing!). Tunnel, jump, she heads for the tunnel and I pull her off, phew!! TWEET!!! Judge Tammy said I should have trusted my dog We came off and I was confused until someone explained. Ack!!

Rebecca understood and said she would undertake the responsibility of making sure I got to the walk throughs, tell me what I needed to know in case I missed the briefing and give me the gamble and snooker strategy. After a long series of ping ponging emails, we came up with a name, Caution, Loose Pipes!, and Rebecca even had tshirts made for us. Thursday came and I loaded up my car for the long weekend ahead and got to set up. Weather was really nice. Brennan called me saying someone left a message about being sick and the hospital and tick disease and apologising profusely. He really didn't get it, but thought he should call me. When I got to the hotel that night and was able to check my email, I got one from Rebecca ... she was the one who had called. She had gone to the ER with a really high fever and it turned out that SHE had Rocky Mountain and Ehrlichia and had to scratch. She was really sorry for pulling etc, etc.

Turns out it was for the best as it was BEASTLY hot and we had a lot of problems on Saturday because of the heat. Luce and I only had one run scheduled now that we weren't doing Team and we scratched out of that as well as it was round 1 of Grand Prix. As we had a bye (!!!!) we could run the next day anyway. Rebecca recovered as well, so that was good!!

Fast forward to Fair Hill and Rebecca and I decided to try the team again. Rebecca made sure I made the walk throughs, I actually made it to the briefings :-) She also was able to spend time with the course maps and gave me some strategies for Snooker and Gamblers.

Rebecca and Piper E'd in Jumpers but she did it so smoothly we weren't sure WHY she got an E until we asked someone. Luce and I almost E'd ... I finished rotating after a front cross and almost sent her over the wrong jump, recovered, but it put me out of position for the 180. Luce being not that fast meant I had time to peak around the jump to make sure it was the right one and we finished clean. Snooker went well for us both. Gamblers was a Time Gamble and we both finished. I wanted to play it conservatively and not lose points. Luce and I E'd in Standard. She is such an honest dog that she will try to do what I tell her even when it means I don't give her enough room and miscue her so much that I send her right INTO the jump standard. She turned around and looked at it like it had jumped out and bit her! She didn't seem to be limping so I put her in the weaves and could see the jump after the weaves that she wasn't right. I ended up taking her off the course when Cherie said she seemed to be limping. I think she just stung herself as she was fine afterwards.

We strategized over Relay and picked the half that was best for each dog. Had a couple of hairy moments with Luce and she even rolled out of the chute! Yikes!! But we were clean and we won the class!!!! The bigger, faster dogs were E'ing like crazy and that course really allowed some teams to move up above the line .... like Caution, Loose Pipes!!! So, that was our second Team Q and means Luce now has her Accomplished Tournament Dog title ... I guess it isn't official until January 1, but who is counting :-)

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