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COURSE ANALYSIS: Performance Grand Prix Finals

Clair Lofthouse breaks the 2009 Cynosport World Games PGP Finals course down.


This year's Performance Grand Prix finals course was seemingly easy in appearance, however, upon closer examination, hidden tricks rose to the surface. Many people pushed their dogs too hard and were forced to pay the price. The most common mistakes were handlers trying to cut corners and their dog missing jumps, and also handlers pushing their dogs ahead so much that the dog's natural tendency to pull back towards the handler led to an off course.

The first big problem area was near jumps #3 and #4, where the A-frame and the seesaw formed a very dangerous intersection. The first of two common problems here occurred at the fourth obstacle. Some dogs got so excited about the easy first three jumps set on a nice line that they just kept going straight onward and up the A-frame instead of going to their left into the pinwheel.

The second of the problems centered in the tricky intersection occurred when the dog actually went over jump #4; sometimes he or she saw jump #10 up ahead of them. Despite the handlers' best efforts to correct their mistakes, there were a surprising number of off-courses at this section.

Minor bobbles occurred next at jump #14, was set at an angle leading away from the #15 tunnel. Many dogs did not take this turn to the tunnel tightly, wasting valuable time.

After that, there were no consistent off-course mistakes. Surprisingly, however, there were many missed down contacts on the dogwalk, which must have been heart breaking for both dog and handler to make it through the entire course only to earn a fault at the very end.

The Finals this year were very exciting. The crowd was cheering for everyone and the atmosphere was great. Congratulations to all who had made it this far, and even more congratulations to our prize winners!

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 clairsmusic@live.com

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