2009 TDAA Petit Prix results, new Country Dream classes

We’ve been home for nearly a week and have been catching up on indoor chores. Weather has been cold and rainy. It doesn’t seem right that we left for Wisconsin in late summer and returned home in mid-fall. Because of the cold and rain the leaf color is falling to the ground prematurely.

Autumn chores of winterizing haven’t gotten done and this morning there was frost on the dog ramp into their yard. We’re hoping that next week provides us with some dry days and higher temps, allowing us to get caught up with outdoor chores including:

Last mowing of the season … both cottages, the front yard, the dog yards, Bud’s garden area, the agility field, the training building surround, the pond and lower gate.

Cottage prep … getting propane furnaces lit, windows and doors shut tight, firewood for lower cottage woodburner, campfire logs stacked, deadwood picked up, cleaned and freshened.

Lawn hoses … last watering done (though it has rained for 2 weeks, so probably don’t need to do that), disconnect and drain hoses, allow drying time, store away for winter.

House tasks … fall cleaning of high surfaces, placing pest strips to capture the onslaught of asian beetles we know will be with us soon, laundering curtains, adding black-out fabric to backs of curtains (a project Mom and I planned about 6 months ago), and putting together our “extended bad weather emergency food-and-water kit.”

Regarding the 2009 TDAA Petit Prix — I don’t think I could have been more pleased with the results unless we’d actually won. I had personal victories on many fronts though walking and running courses with Bud’s sheltie, Hazard, was bittersweet. I was often reminded of my original plans to run Blue in the 12″ division, and I spent some time wondering how she was doing in the Cell Dog program.

On that front, I’ve had many supportive letters from people involved in the cell dog program telling of changed lives and the benefits to inmates — I know Blue’s being well cared for and that she’ll find a fabulous home. I miss her and wish things had worked out better for us as Blue’s family, but my continued sadness over the loss of Red keeps me from dwelling overlong on Blue’s departure.

So — the Petit Prix — what a fabulous time that was.

Day one of the warm-up workshops we had a fine crowd of participants and there was room for me to run Hazard. We had 2 participants use their state winner gift certificates from 2008 as part of their workshop fee, and about half of the folks there had trained with Bud in the past, so it was a bit of a meeting of old friends.

Day two of the warm-up workshops we had about 7 more people added to the mix so we spent the morning hours in split-group work. I did obstacle conditioning for table, teeter, tire and weaves, focusing more on table and teeter in the more novice group, table and weaves on the more advanced group. I doesn’t surprise me that folks don’t remember to continue obstacle conditioning with their “superior” dogs — I forget to do it myself — but conditioning can enhance  your performance in sequencing.

Day one of the Petit Prix weekend was a regular trial with 2 classes — one standard (all three levels) and a game (Chutes and Ladders. Hazard had a slow start on the weekend, running at half speed in standard and at quarter speed in Chutes and Ladders. She’s one of the few dogs I know that dislikes tunnels, and a corgi took a poop break in one of the tunnels first thing, so it was no surprise that her Chutes and Ladders run was less than stellar.

Highlight of day one was the opportunity to do Strategic Teams. Jackie (with Baxter, the Min Pin), Vicki (with Elmer, the Beagle) and I (with Hazard, the sheltie) had been practicing strategic teamwork for a few weeks.

Hazard would shut down if Vicki or Jackie yelled to get their dog’s attention, so she needed to run the outside or end of the course. Elmer tends to blow contacts and miss turns when excited, so he needed weavepoles and straight lines. Baxter misses contacts when Jackie gets excited, but he was assigned the a-frame and dogwalk.

We did a lot of chopping and would have had a marvelous run if we’d held it together. An interesting note for TDAA judges … try to remember the course and watch the obstacles in order, so you actually are watching the dog that is working. At one point we sent Vicki’s Elmer over the dogwalk as a transitional obstacle — it allowed her to fix her 2O2O performance and got her from point A to point B for her next sequence. The judge was confused by our strategy and ended up watching Elmer on his not-part-of-the-course-dogwalk instead of watching Baxter as he did the next 6 obstacles, but she quickly regained her sense of the course and we finished in a muddled mess at jump 30.

My proud moment that day came when Vicki — having come to Bud’s training 2-1/2 years ago with no agility other than AKC under her belt — designed a strategy for her OTHER team (with Quigley, her puppy) that beat all other teams by 40+ seconds. Her teammates were fast, accurate dogs and that helped alot, but they had NO bobbles and ran beautifully.

Our Petit Prix banquet was fun, motivational, and uplifting — exactly what a national event’s banquet is supposed to accomplish! Paul Jensen, TDAA President, gave us some terrific statistics — in 2007-8 there were TDAA trials scheduled every other weekend, somewhere in the country. In 2008-9 there were TWO TDAA trials scheduled for every weekend, somewhere in the country. What an achievement.

Bud and I kept reminiscing about the start of TDAA — our first trial had about a dozen dogs and 10 handlers. We were at a little park near Columbus. We had pizza for lunch every day and had a banquet at a nearby restaurant on Saturday night. To see the organization as vital and vigorous as it is today is very uplifting.

I truly remember when Bud began discussing TDAA … I was running aussies and was less than interested in a venue that excluded me and my dogs. But the first time I ran a teacup course with one of the shelties I was HOOKED on it. TDAA is more of a dance than a speed sprint. It’s that dance that I love.

Days 2 and 3 of the Petit Prix to follow.

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One Response to “2009 TDAA Petit Prix results, new Country Dream classes”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I remember last year Marsha, when you couldn’t run Blue at the VT PP because of your knees; I was also upset with your loss of Red and Blue and wondered if you had thought about them during the WI PP. I almost said something to you but didn’t want to upset you. You did mention that you were still troubled by the loss of Red. I can sure understnd that. I was so happy to see you and Hazard do so well. I think Hazard will come back fully from her traumatic experience and you wil continue to have great runs together. I was thrilled you made it to the finals.
    I agree the banquet was really nice. I also thought Bud’s remarks about all TDAA enthusiasts being champions was right on.
    I think this year’s competition was the best so far. Who Dares Wins was the best finals game we have had so far and it allowed the handlers to demonstrate knowledge of their dogs along with teamwork and skill. Perfect!
    Hope you write an article for the TDAA newsletter!

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