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Grand Prix Semifinals Course Analysis

If you like cross-in-fronts, this is your course.  By Leona Hellesvig and Tania Chadwick

The Grand Prix Semifinal course might be called the course of cross-in-fronts.  It is a flowing course with frequent changes of direction required. 


Prior to running the course, Anna Green from California said it would be a fun run, and looked pretty straight forward.  Tammy Skillman was thinking about the beginning and the start line stay.  She was also worried about possibly pulling her dog in too tight at the end of the course.  Other exhibitors were overheard discussing the weave pole entry.

The majority of handlers led out at the beginning of this course to a position between jump #2 and #3, many employing a lead-out pivot to direct their dog to jump#3 and avoid the wrong course opportunity directly ahead of the dog.  The turn to the see saw is tight, yet few dogs strayed toward an off-course to the A-frame.  The bar on jump #4 did fall with great frequency as handlers drew the dog's focus off of the jump .  When walking the course, I thought perhaps the approach angle to the tire might be an issue, but few dogs had a problem with this.

That weave entrance was the source of many refusals as dogs came around from the tire, with an obvious view of a wrong course jump #10 more visible than the weave entrance.  Few wrong courses occurred here, but it was a challenge to quickly direct the dog's focus to the weaves. 

The section from #9-#10-#11 proved to be more of a handler problem than a dog problem.  Most handlers attempted to do a cross in front between jumps #9 and #10, and quite a few found themselves in their dog's jumping path at that point.  It really didn't seem to cause a big problem for most dogs, though some of them jumped more cautiously.  Several other handling options appeared at this point in the course.  A cross behind with the handler remaining on the take-off side of the jump was also popular.

A few dogs took the bar of the triple, and one dog ran past the dogwalk entry clear to the tunnel.  The most popular direction to wrap at jump #13 was to the left, making the dogwalk ramp attractive, yet few had problems with that. A few dogs took a very wide turn and ran to the A-frame before the handler could call them back and direct them to tunnel #14.

The end of this course did not prove especially troublesome for most handlers.   


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