This was an amazingly fast Standard course that kept handlers moving...some weren't so thrilled about the hurricane pace from the table on and others commented it was their favorite part of the course.
This portion of the course is what I'd call the High Rollers section. It was between jumps #15 - #17, that a run either catapulted into the record book or went down in flames as a dog took the off-course dog walk.
Exhibitors handled #15 - #17 one of three ways:
Option 1: With a front cross between #15 & 16 so the handlers were going down the left side of the last line of jumps.
Option 2: With the dog on the handler's right, they pushed their dog to the #15 jump and then ran down the right side of the last line of jumps.
Option 3: With a blind cross between #15 & 16.
In Option 1, I expected the majority of handlers to execute this section with the front cross and they did. Most notably were those folks who did a nice smooth front cross in a DIAGONAL from #15 down to the left side of #16. This allowed the handlers to stay ahead of their dogs for the line of jumps down.
In contrast, quite a few handlers did a front cross that wasn't as efficient and had them heading for the ring wall. These folks completed a front cross, but their line was straight across (vs. changing direction and moving down toward the left side of #16) and once out of the front cross, they found themselves in a foot race with their dog and a possibility of the dog curling in before crossing the finish line.
To ensure Option 2 was successful, handlers first had to be patient in sending their dog to #15 and wait for commitment before moving or changing direction. Next, handlers either needed to be a step ahead of their dog as they took the #16 jump so that the intended path was clear (think picking the dog up on the landing side of #16) or they needed to have a strong "get out" to push the dog away from the dog walk and down the line of jumps. I think this was my favorite choice of the three since it was simple and didn't require any fancy steps.
Option #3 is the sleeper option that I hadn't thought of, but for those who executed it, it was a great choice for them. The blind cross between #15 and 16 allowed handlers to stay ahead of their dog and was knee friendly since it didn't require a plant and pivot like a front cross might.
I think all three options would be a great class exercise and it would be interesting to time them. Hum...sounds like I may have a lesson plan here!