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Grand Prix Quarterfinal - Competitor's review

By Tania Chadwick

The course I ran was in the main ring with the fancy wooden equipment.  It was one of those that seemed smaller and tighter in person versus larger and more spacious as is often the case comparing the map to the built course.

The opening was nice then cranked down into a square of jumps.  The larger, more bulky, classic wooden equipment eliminated more the working room for that area compared to the other ring that was built with the equipment we usually see at trials.  A friend ran dogs in both rings and noticed a big difference in the path she needed to take in order to maintain contact with her dogs.

Handlers suffered some run bys and back jumps in this section.  It's always heartbreaking to see a Grand Prix run end on the fourth or fifth obstacle.

The weave poles looked more of a worry on a paper and it seemed there were few issues with the entry.  The back serpentine after the weaves was another area that had a different feel versus the other ring.  I felt the need to do a change of hands after the weaves so I could mirror the path of my dog better.  The dogs were better able to see their handlers in the ring with the smaller jumps.

Loads of teams sailed nicely through the A-frame section and onto the close via the seesaw.  Later in the day, there seemed to be more dogs finding the tunnel instead of the seesaw.

Judge Patty Drom designed the course and was able to judge all of the non-22" dogs in the main ring.  Judges at these championships each get assigned a couple of courses to design for the event, which they may or may not get to judge.  Once completed, they send their courses to Tim Laubach and Dave Hanson for review who insure all courses meet the same standards and don't duplicate challenges. 

Patty said she was very, very pleased with how the course ran.  She liked how it ran and she liked how it offered a different challenge for every handler - not just the same challenge that everyone executes the same way and breathes a sigh of relief if they get through.  One thing that surprised her was the success at the weave poles.  She thought more handlers would have trouble with the weave entry, which did require super entry skills or a push-out by the handler to line them up.

Good luck to those that get to go on to the semi-finals tomorrow.

Tania Chadwick has been competing in USDAA for over 10 years.  She runs her ADCH LAA-Silver Border Collie, Kidd and is competing this week at the Cynosport Games


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