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Course Analysis: Team Jumpers

Julie Daniels takes a closer look at Saturday's exciting Team Jumpers course.

This course, set in two different rings and run at the same time, seemed to play the same way for both sets of dogs.  The course was fast and smooth for some but could quickly become a bit of a mess if handlers lost concentration or forward momentum.

The opening line out was followed by a semicircle back into a 180 from #6 to #7.  Some dogs were off course in the opening, missing the sharp turn back after #3 and taking the inviting line out to #9.  Between #4 and #5, a rear cross was most popular, but a front cross was also fine for setting up the 180.  The rear cross could be handled from the takeoff or the landing side.  Only handlers who were in the dog's way caused a problem.

After the 180, handlers front crossed or blind crossed between #7 and #8, and then serped the line from #8 to #10.  Dogs turned equally well to the left or right over #10, but miscommunications there led to some back jumps and refusals.  The handlers who ran ahead to cue a left turn from the middle of the #10 bar were the most successful in establishing an efficient line.

Handlers kept the dog on the right through the weaves and generally solved the challenge at the back side of #12 with a late front cross, which was completely effective.  Some handlers chose to rear cross on the landing side of #12, which was fine as long as they allowed the dog to slice #12 on a forward line.  This played smoothly into a rear cross at #13. Handlers who crowded the dog at the stanchion of #12, just as at #5, were apt to cause some stopped action and missed cues there.

The outrun arc from #13 to #15 was generally fast and free.  It did look like the long spacing before the triple at #14 caused some dogs to second-guess their striding and take a bar there.  At #16, the handlers had to be aware of the dog's line.  Strong dogs sometimes went around to the outside and tight dogs sometimes came on the inside, missing the jump entirely.

The easy entrance to the #17 tunnel set up a quick 3-jump closing with an offset #19 jump.  Some handlers caused bars down here by being late or indecisive, but in general we saw all manner of side changes working well. Rear crosses, front crosses and those aggressive running blind crosses all played just fine to set up an efficient line through this fast and exciting closing.

Julie Daniels is a two-time USDAA National Champion and has competed on two IFCS Gold medal-winning teams. She can be reached through her website at


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