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Steeplechase Quarterfinals Analysis

How the course ran.  By Leona Hellesvig

The Steeplechase Quarterfinals was run on a different course than the Performance National Standard quarterfinals.  Mark Wirant, judge for the Steeplechase quarterfinals commented on this course, which was designed by Nadia Calabria from Switzerland, "It is a nice course with good challenges.  The beginning handled better than most competitors thought it would.  Off courses and other errors were evenly distributed throughout the course rather than being located in one section of the course."

This course was run in ring 1, where the physical size of the obstacles/wings is much larger than what is seen at most agility trials.  This didn't seem to intimidate any of the dogs or handlers. 

There was a very nice flow from obstacle to obstacle.  Some challenges were due to how quickly the course ran, and some obstacles being just a bit out of alignment from a straight approach.  In the opening, few dogs had problems negotiating the off-set jump #2.  Another example of an off-set obstacle is the placement of the long jump #8 between the A-frame and tunnel.  Most handlers performed a cross between the A-frame and long jump to more effectively direct their dog into the tunnel entrance. 

One section that had several handlers worried was from spread jump #5 to jump #6.  It appeared to me that perhaps the angle of spread jump #5 had been rotated just slightly counterclockwise from what is shown on the course map, making that challenge slightly easier than anticipated.

Some handlers had difficulty with directing their dogs into the weave poles for the second pass, #11, and incurred a refusal, or a wrong course to #14 at that spot.  Few handlers had difficulty with the off-course potential from weave poles to next obstacle.  A few dogs went wide at this corner, and incurred a wrong course by running from Jump #13 to #18 in stead of to #14.  The end sequence was easily handled by most competitors.



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