Friday, August 24, 2018

Nationals Recap

Last weekend, we went to the Agility Association of Canada (AAC) National Agility Championship. Keltic only got to play on Friday at the sanctioned trial events since he missed qualifying for Nationals by 0.4 points. Quite a heart breaker but as someone said he saved me money and the stress of running two dogs.  Keltic got to run two Masters Jumpers courses and was able to get his first Masters qualifying score with a very nice clean run. There was only one spot where I thought we might have had a refusal but another competitor, who is also an AAC judge, told me Keltic stopped but never had any backward motion. I thought all those tunnels in the middle would cause an off course but they didn't.

Beckett had two Steeplechase runs on Friday. Since Steeplechase is time plus faults, he managed to get a Q with a bar down (5 faults) but didn't Q on a clean run since we spent a lot of time getting the second set of weaves done and were over time. But that run was still good enough for third place and qualified us to run in the Steeplechase final on Sunday. More on that later.

They had so many dogs in the Steeplechase that they didn't finish running until about 8:30 pm and had to run under the lights of the grand stand. They also had to postpone the opening ceremonies until Saturday morning.

Some of the Nationals rings

Opening Ceremony

Judges in kilts
Saturday was the first competition day of Nationals. Over the two days of Nationals, we would run six courses, two Standards, two Jumpers and two Gambles. Our rotation on Saturday was Jumpers, Gamblers and last the Standard.  We didn't get a clean round in either Standard or the Jumpers, we had one refusal on the weaves in the Standard and two refusals in the Jumpers course.   We had a decent opening in the Gamble but could not get the main Gamble. We finished the day in 13th place out of 18 dogs in the double drop 8" veteran class.

Saturday night was the banquet. It was quite well organized and the meal was good too. I had the salmon.  They had highland dancers and step dancers for the entertainment.

Step Dancers

Highland Dancers

Complete Dance Troupe

It made for a late evening though. We left at about 8 pm. Getting home around 9 pm, it was off to bed after the dogs had been fed, Sunday would be another early day.

On Sunday, our rotation was Standard, Gamblers, then Jumpers. It was good to get the Standard done before it was too hot. The Standard had the weaves divided into two sets of six. Beckett was having problems with weaves over the weekend and sure enough he faulted the second set of six, we also got a refusal on one of the tunnels. Again in Gamblers we had a nice opening and Beckett did the first four obstacles of the Gamble before running out of time. I was quite happy about that.  Last up was our Jumpers, since we were in the Steeplechase finals they had moved Beckett up in the running order so we would have time to rest.  We had a beautiful clean round in Jumpers.  The standard course time was 49 seconds so we were over 10 seconds under time.

Finally, we had Steeplechase to run, there were a minimum of three dogs in each height class. Beckett and another Sheltie named Brigid ran very close in time in the sanctioned event but the third dog Cinn, an Icelandic Sheepdog was very fast in comparison.  I expected him to win. Beckett ran first since he qualified third and we set the time to beat. Beckett popped the first set of weaves at the tenth but we finished them before moving on. We ran the rest of the run clean even if parts of it weren't really pretty; Beckett even stayed in the second set of weaves. I didn't see Brigid's or Cinn's run; all I heard for Cinn's run was that he took 20 faults for not completing the weaves.  Maybe the handler thought he had done them but had put the dog back in at the wrong pole or in the wrong direction but in any case even a fast dog has a hard time making up 20 faults.  Beckett and I got first place, beating Brigid by only 2/100's of a second.

Overall I was  a bit disappointed. We finished in 13th place out of 18 dogs but there was some tough competition. That clean Jumpers run over 10 seconds under time was only good enough for 8th place. I did do the "what if" scenario, and if we hadn't had the weave issue, then we would have had a clean first Standard run. If we had run that clean, we would have ended up in 10 place overall and made the podium. But we had some nice runs and got to run Steeplechase with everyone watching. What a blast that was; I could hear people from the standings cheering us on.  Beckett gave me all he had over the weekend and that's all you can ask.

Keltic and his first Masters ribbons