I took Dancer (and Rush) down to Turner for the Fleet Feet CPE trial. I had one goal in mind for the entire weekend: a single Q in Level 2 Standard. Qualifying for CPE Nationals, to be held a short 25 minute drive from my house in June, requires 24 CPE Qs and completion of all titles in level 2. All I needed was the level 2 standard Q.
Saturday went well. Dancer Qd in Level 3 FullHouse, completing her Level 3 requirements; she Qd in Level 3 Snooker, completing her Level 3 requirements there as well (and the teeter was part of the closing, too). Then we got to Standard. It was a straightforward course, no really scary traps or likely off-courses. 17 obstacles, if I remember right. It started with a jump and the a-frame; the teeter was in the middle somewhere; the dogwalk was the second-to-last obstacle. A mere six weave poles. I planned to micromanage Dancer so that she didn’t have a chance of messing up. I was incredibly nervous; I walked the course until the judge threw me off.
When I came to the line, it was close to the end of the class and most people had Qd without difficulty. Dancer did a nice a-frame contact; the teeter wasn’t great–she was hesitant to tip it, as usual–but she did do it. Her weaves were lovely and fast.
And she jumped off the dogwalk from about two feet above the contact line. People groaned. I stopped her, let her do the last obstacle, and walked her out of the ring. No one spoke to us, because what was there to say? They all knew I really really wanted that Q. The scribe said “it was a beautiful run, except for the dogwalk.” It was true, and I was glad she reminded me. I was proud of Dancer for doing the teeter.
She redeemed herself, however, with a first place in Level 4 Jumpers. Jumpers is always her best class: no contacts.
Sunday I was up at five and left the house just after 6. First dog on the line, slightly more than an hour’s drive away, at 8 AM; walkthrough at 7:45. I got there early enough to let Rush and Dancer play for a while in one of the corrals. Dancer was early in Level 3 Jackpot–tenth dog, I think–and I did my best with her. She missed her a-frame contact, and ran around the double and the tire, costing us 11 potential points. I left the ring knowing I’d finished in plenty of time, but not sure if I’d gotten enough points; the last trial, I got optimistic and got a ton of points–and went over time by one second. You can’t Q in Jackpot if you go overtime.
She got the Q; she needed 40 points, and she got 40 points.
Standard Level 2, the Q I really really wanted, was next. Another straightforward course. A flip-away into the tunnel after the dogwalk. I really pushed her into the tunnel; I didn’t want her to turn back onto the dogwalk and get an off-course. She got the dogwalk contact and I breathed for the first time. From there it went smoothly; they’d adjusted the teeter and Dancer didn’t mind it so much. The a-frame was well away from the spectators and she didn’t perch on the top to check things out.
In short, nothing went wrong, and Dancer got that Level 2 Standard Q. Finally. That completed her Level 2 title, qualified us for Nationals, and I went home to make dinner for friends, skipping the last two runs of the day.
Official results (except for Standard, where I forgot to write it down):
Snooker, Level 3: 45 points, 33.86 seconds
FullHouse, Level 3: 27 points, 35.87 seconds
Jumpers, Level 4: 119 yards, SCT 32 seconds, 29.17 seconds (4.1 yps)
Jackpot, Level 3: 40 points, 40.15 seconds
Standard, Level 2: Q (and completed level 2)