Sunday, April 5, 2009
Course Analysis - 4-4-2009 Casper, WY
Today's trial started off very, very slow. As is typical of the first day, we had a few issues to work through. The first was the FAST class timing issues.
Since we'd started small to tall, we had to move some preferred dogs around in order to get them into the correct FAST time slot. Next, nobody knew how to adjust the times for FAST.
We started about 30 minutes late and the timing challenge slowed us up in every class and at every time switch. Kudos to my ring crew for figuring it out on the fly, but it made for a very slow start...and there was a blizzard outside!
Okay, let me comment on the Exc. Standard course pictured here. First, teams ran this wonderfully and it was a fast course (perfect for making up a little bit during the day). I really liked when teams met their dogs down at the end of the teeter, keeping them on their right for a clear path to the tunnel for their dogs.
Most handlers did a front cross prior to the teeter and then were forced to do either a hard pull or another front cross at the end of the teeter to get their dog into the correct end of the #11 tunnel.
Honestly, this was the only item on this course - everyone did such a nice job running it!
Last in the day was Exc. Jumpers (but not last in this editorial, the Exc. FAST course is below). Some handlers started off with a refusal/runout because they failed to support jump #2 prior to pulling off and heading toward the landing side of #3 where they planned to do a front cross.
All I can say is, remember that in the beginning of a course, dogs have less momentum and teams haven't yet established a rhythm for the course. Dogs are looking to their handlers for direction and if handlers pull away, their dogs tend to go with them.
The next section was between #13 & #14. Handlers were able to pull away and be ahead of their dogs thanks to the #12 weave poles. What surprised me, was the number of handlers that held back and kept themselves between the #13 & #14 jump vs. choosing to be ahead and 'pull' the dog over the #14 jump. By handing back, handlers were now behind the dog as they entered the closing sequence and this cost several teams when the handler was too far back and their dog drove forward to the #2 jump or took the off-course jump between #16 & #17.
In this Exc. FAST class, those who had a 'get-out' or change of direction command easily got this Send. For those who didn't, even calling their dog in and then attempting to push them out to the tunnel just wasn't going to happen.
Regardless, there were some teams who made this look effortless!