Posted Date: October 26, 2013
A close look at the course by Julie Daniels.
This course has interesting challenges while offering the opportunity for dogs to keep on running uninterrupted if the handler is doing a good job of setting lines and indicating upcoming turns.
There is a straight line opening over #1 and #2, followed by a turn and wrap back at #3. But there is nothing else beckoning an off course after #2, and, likewise, nothing calling for an off-course at #3. So, it's a challenge inviting smooth successful flow from the start line. The dog also gets a good look at the #4 poles whichever way the handler decides to wrap from #3.
Most handlers are choosing to have the dog on the left at the poles and then do a simple front cross to the #5 jump and a lateral push out over the #6 jump in the corner. That gives the handler ample head start for the upcoming #7-#10 box work. We are seeing handlers on either side with all manner of side changes here. Many are doing rear crosses at #8, many others are doing front crosses from #8 to #9. Most, but not all, dogs are being sent to the left over the #9 jump, and some handlers prefer to do ketschker turns there. In any case, the handler needs to get ahead to manage the back side approach to #12.
The #11 long jump is not causing any problems in a straight line from #10 to the backside #12. Some mistakes at #12 have been caused by letting go of the reins down that straight line. Dogs charging ahead are causing a wrong side straight-on approach to the front side at #12 for an off-course. And we are also seeing the opposite problem, over cautioning the dog into a refusal at #12 (remember that in Team events the refusal is only two faults). The other occasional problem here has been that some dogs have locked onto the back side of #2 and flicked away from the line to go off-course there between #11 and #12.
Once through the back-side challenge, the next tricky spot is the dog's invitation to go out off-course over the back side of #15 rather than come in to the #14. There are quite a few of these. On the other hand, the handlers who are cautious there and collecting the dogs with them are causing some spinning. The judge, Scott Chamberlain, is being consistently generous with this. The pattern is that the dog has to be very close to the #14 jump in order for a spin to be called as a refusal. There is a good deal of safe space in the area between #13 and #14 where the off-course is beckoning.
Most dogs are being sent in flow to the right over #14, but there seems to be no problem with the off set three closing jumps no matter which way the dog approaches. The line at the #15-#17 closing is quite different depending on the wrap to the left or the forward send to the right at #14, but we are seeing the dogs adjust easily at speed and not show any difficulty with these last three jumps.
At just 17 obstacles this is a fairly short course, which is interesting, challenging, and very motivating. It's well designed to test skills, talent, and teamwork without many changes of momentum. This class is fun to watch and the course looks very fun to run.