Posted Date: November 3, 2006
What happened in the Steeplechase Semifinals
We were anxious to get the day started and most of us were still reeling from the Team Snooker rules when we got to walk Steeplechase. Essentially, it was all work and no play. This course required handlers to be on their game, which is expected at an event of this magnitude.
The opening had two straight tunnels, or "dog accelerators" as they're affectionately called. This is exactly what happened...dogs were accelerated to various off courses. Many dogs couldn't handle the speed at the beginning and went straight from tunnel #2 to tunnel #18/11. Lots of good dogs were lost here, including Luka and Ashleigh Deacon the 2005 Steeplechase Champions and Keri Caraher and her Great Dane, Morgan.
Handlers had trouble at the #3/#4 serpentine, with many dogs going by #3 and back jumping it, or handlers inadvertently turning their dogs to the left causing their dogs to jump #3 again.
Lots of bars were down; Chris Parker with Yikes and Jen Pinder with Soda had #4 down, Rosanne Demascio and Drifter had #10 down.
Once through the opening, dogs were blasting from #11 to the weaves and either couldn't gather themselves for the entrance, or handlers were too far forward and pulling their dogs into the second or third pole. Since Steeplechase is judged under Starters rules, teams were just losing time here, but at this event every fraction of a second counts. Lo Baker and Perk, had a lovely course going but had to restart their weaves.
There were also many missed Aframe contacts at #13 and off courses from #10 to #11, with dogs taking #3 instead.
Tania Chadwick has been competing in USDAA for 10 years and had a little bobble on this course that cost some time, but stayed on course.