Posted Date: November 4, 2007
See where it got tough! By Leona Hellesvig
The Grand Prix quarterfinal course offered many challenges to all. Before his run, Bret Duke from Minnesota was thinking about the best way to get his dog onto the dogwalk while keeping it smooth, and getting a tight turn. Jose Gonzalaz from Puerto Rico was concerned about all of the tight turns on the course, and the potential tunnel distraction on the turn to the dogwalk. Certainly that section of the course was of concern to many.
When actually run at speed, the course proved to have many difficulties. The opening from #1 to #3 was smooth for most handlers. The bars on spread jump #4 fell often as handlers moved to new handling positions and called their dogs to avoid the wrong course option to the tire. A few dogs took the wrong course option from #6 to #3/#19.
Next on the course comes that turn to the dogwalk. Many dogs ran very wide. A few dogs ran straight ahead for a wrong course into tunnel #14.
The turn to the weave poles, and serpentine through #12-#13-#14, were not a serious issue for most handlers, though some did take the bar on #13. The majority of handlers performed a cross in before the A-frame both to more effectively direct their dog onto the A-frame with a good line, and to be in a better position to handle jump #16/#10. The bar often fell from jump #16/#10.
The ending of this course proved hazardous for many. Bars on extended spread jump #17 occasionally fell as handlers moved prematurely into position to handle the seesaw. Some dogs ran straight ahead after the extended spread and into the tunnel rather than turning onto the seesaw #18. Many found it difficult to direct their dogs to jump #19/#3 after the seesaw without a refusal (run-out), and time required to call the dog back for a second attempt. Occasionally, a dog would run straight ahead off of jump #19 for a wrong course over jump #6.
See-saw flyoffs were very common amongst fast dogs. This problem plagued a good many dogs. Handlers theorize that it is because they are driving very hard to the finish. Perhaps it is true that sometimes speed can be lethal in a Grand Prix.