Monday, February 29, 2016

And Then There Were Seven!

Tessa and I just had another perfect Agility weekend!  On Saturday I took Tessa up to Bella Vista just to run Snooker, and then we went back on Sunday to run Jackpot, Standard, and Snooker.

This judge really likes to set out challenging Snooker courses.  The first one on Saturday had a threadle in the course, and I think that is the first time I have ever seen a threadle in a CPE course.  Also, the double sided flags were back, and the jump that was second in the threadle was marked in both directions.  I had walked it several times incorrectly before someone discovered that Jump #5 was actually to be taken in the opposite direction.  I didn't really have much of a chance to walk it properly, but at least this time I was enough aware of those unclear areas on the course that I remembered.

Tessa was in a fine mood, and she did a great job!  She did her opening perfectly and ran the course without missing a beat.  Her back feet ticked the second jump in the #6 jump combo, but the bar did not go down!

Here is her run . . .

That is my only video of the weekend, although I do have some still photos to share.

I stayed to watch Stephanie run Jumpers with Oliver.  I was kind of bummed because the Jumpers course looked like a lot of fun and it had a lot of different jumps in it that we don't normally see, especially the broad jump.  Stephanie and Oliver did a lovely job, earning, I believe, their first Level 4 Jumpers Q!

On Sunday Tessa and I went back.  She was rarin' to go, which was good because we started with a very challenging non-Traditional Jackpot.  The judge said that the purpose of the game was "speed and greed".  Greed for points, that is!

There was no distance challenge in the game, but the closing had to be three, and only three, obstacles!  Not more, not less!  If the dog were to take a fourth obstacle, even if the handler did not ask the dog to take it, it would be an NQ!

So, in order to set up for a good finish, I had to figure out about where Tessa would be when the buzzer went off to end the opening!  I wanted her to be set up to take three obstacles in a row without any "ooops" obstacles!  Two of the closing obstacles would have higher point values - the first of the three would be tripled, the second would be doubled, and then the third had its regular point value.

I thought that Tessa and I could rack up enough points in the opening that I wouldn't have to worry about trying to make up any point deficit in the closing.  I made a plan that included a loop of jumps at the beginning to hit the 5 point jump combo twice.  That is always the fastest way for Tessa to get points in these games.  Then we took a double jump to the teeter.  That set us up for a nice pinwheel of a jump, a tunnel, and two more jumps, which set us up for our closing.

There was a tunnel off in the corner.  I figured that Tessa and I would get to that tunnel before the close.  My plan was this.  If the buzzer went off before that tunnel, I would skip it, and we would go straight to the dogwalk to close.  If the buzzer went off after the tunnel, but before the dogwalk, Tessa would close with dogwalk, jump, jump combo (counted as one obstacle).  But, if Tessa got to the dogwalk before the close, I would have her do a tunnel that was under the dogwalk at the end and then the single jump and the combo.

We got the tunnel in, and the buzzer went off a split second before Tessa mounted the dogwalk.  The judge did not call "close", so the dogwalk was part of our opening.  So, our closing was tunnel, jump, jump combo, and then table to stop the game.

The whole thing was just flawless!

The photographer caught a really cool photo in the midst of this run.  Tessa has never been super excited about tunnels.  She does them, but kind of with an "OK, I do this" attitude.  Just as she was coming out of the tunnel, I cued the jump that came into her sight as she exited the tunnel, and she came to life and burst into a run to go get that jump!

The photographer captured just that exact moment!

Such an awesome shot!

And then, the judge had offered us a bonus.  If, when the dog got to the table, but before touching the dog, the handler called to the judge, "My dog is a rockstar", or something to that effect, we got 5 bonus points for the table!

The photographer also got his cool picture at the moment I was calling out, "Tessa is a rockstar!"

By her wagging tail, it is obvious that Miss Tessa agrees!!

We Q'ed and got second place for that run!!

That was our 3rd Level 5 Jackpot Q.  We only need two more!!  I pray we get more non-traditionals!!  Aside from the fact that we have a better shot at qualifying in a non-traditional Jackpot, I love these unique judge-created games!  They are almost always the most fun games of the day.

After Jackpot, it was on to Standard.  Tessa and I don't need any more Standard Q's for our C-ATCH, but I am still going to run Standard with her because we have come to love it!

I was so happy to see all of the jumps that I had missed out on in the Jumpers course the day before.  The broad was in there, and the panel, and a triple!  Tessa and I both really enjoy variety in the jumps.

We had a bit of an adventure when we went in to start.  Just as we set up at the startline, as we had been instructed to do by the steward, it was discovered that something had gone wrong at the scoring table for the team ahead of us.

Tessa and I had 3 - 4 minutes to just chill in the ring together.  I sat on the floor next to her, and she sunk into a down and then rolled on her side.  I was petting her and talking to her.  It was so nice.  We had the whole ring to ourselves, and it was quiet and pleasant!

When the judge was ready, I got up and Tessa jumped up, ready to RUN!  Her run was flawless!  I think those few minutes just hanging there actually put her in the perfect frame of mind!

I'm really glad it was us and not a team that would have been stressed by such a delay.

Here is a photo from the Standard run.  Another burst of focus and energy as Tessa exited the weaves and headed for the next jump.

Tessa looks like a Border Collie in that picture!!

We got the Q, which is our 11th Level 5 Standard Q.

We were both tired after that and I considered scratching Snooker.  But . . . I figured we had just better stick it out and run it.  If I left, we would have to sign up for Snooker at another trial - maybe on a day when that would be all that we would run - and it didn't make sense to leave and make it necessary to do that.  Tessa could do it, although I knew she would not have the same vim that she had at the beginning of the day.  But I knew we could get it done.

The Snooker was difficult, too.  It took some planning and the opening I chose was going to require a lot of course coverage and jumping.

Tessa was slower than she had been earlier, but she was a trooper and she put her all into it.  We managed to qualify in spite of the fact that she did not finish #7 which was a jump-weave combo.  The buzzer went off just as she was entering the weaves.

No matter!  We didn't need those last 7 points!!  We qualified and got 4th place!

So . . . now we only need 2 more Snooker Q's!!

And then there were seven:  3 Wildcard, 2 Jackpot, 2 Snooker

That's it!!  We just may finish this C-ATCH this spring!!  It depends a lot on what we get as Jackpots, and on keeping Tessa's energy up to run late-in-the-day Wildcards . . . but we just may do it!!

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