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COURSE ANALYSIS: Grand Prix Semifinals

By Clair Lofthouse

The Semifinals for the Grand Prix were pretty fierce this year. Not many mistakes were made as all the dogs and handlers were on top of their game. There were spots where an observer would find potential trouble spots, however, very few people have fallen into the traps. This course looked very fun to run and surely people will be taking portions home to practice.

The first section that looked troublesome was the opening sequence. Jump #1, the #2 chute, and the #14 jump were all in a straight line. Dogs were supposed to turn after the chute and run up the A-frame. The chute generally blinds dogs for a few seconds of run time so the next thing the dog saw after exiting the chute was the #14 jump.  Handlers had to time their cues very well in order to avoid disaster.

The next troubling segment was from jump #9 to #10. There was a spread jump (#18) set directly after #9 that some dogs took as an off-course. Most handlers managed to stay on course through this tough turn but some anticipated this problem and overhandled, making their dogs miss the turn and take the 10th jump backwards.

After this, the course was pretty straightforward, apart from an interesting turn from the weaves to the #16 jump. All the dogs seemed to get this easily due to their handlers thinking ahead and being quick on their feet; as most of them did a front cross to make the turn and prepare for the twisty ending sequence.

Everyone enjoyed the challenge of such a versatile course. The fastest and most agile dogs were the ones who really loved the intricacies at high speeds.

Clair Lofthouse is currently enrolled as a junior at Westlake High School in California. She loves running her Shetland Sheepdog, Rugby, in agility, plays guitar, and writes her own songs.  She also rides horses in dressage and jumping. Clair would like to someday write a book and become independently wealthy. Contact Clair at


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