Zanesville had some amazing large old homes with incredible architecture and century old cemeteries. I would love to walk around on a nice day to photograph and explore the town more, but that wasn't going to happen this cold trip
I've attached my Excellent courses from both Saturday and Sunday. I liked each of the courses, but Excellent FAST was the most fun to judge as the Send Bonus had a few options and it was fun to watch people work it out and come up with a fun strategy.
The bonus gave several options (as you can read in the directions below), but in summary whichever jump you started with, you had to take the next jump and then wrap back to the original jump taken. While the obstacle points only gave two obstacle's worth (i.e. if you took 5-4-5, you only got 5 points once), BUT the fun part was watching exhibitors figure out how to get the third jump's worth of points as well.
For example, as noted on the red line provided (dog's path), if you took 4-3-4, you could then send the dog to the 5 jump for those points as well. I try to get creative with my FAST bonus' to encourage creativity for both the handler's interest, but also for my own.
While I can't say it was a rocket scientist type of course, it did at least take into account the field turf and allowed the dogs to stretch and run. A perfect course for the end of the day on Sunday!
The biggest issues were as follows:
1) from the tunnel to the weave poles. My observation was that people were moving forward before the dog's focused on and loaded into the weaves. Having the handler momentarily pause would have been helpful for most dogs.
2) Jumps 4 through 6. For handlers that did a front cross before #5, some dogs continued to accelerate toward the off-course #7/16 jump and for those handlers that did a rear-cross, some handlers did a sudden deceleration after #4 and the dogs either had a problem getting over #5 (they were positive they were heading toward the off-course jump #7/14) or the dogs took #5 without a problem and continued on a natural path which put them over #9 and incurred a wrong course when handlers weren't able to clearly signal they were moving up toward #6.
As a side note, I was surprised most people chose rear crosses on this course even though they were ahead of their dogs. For some it worked well, but for others, I would have loved to have seen them push just a little more to get into place and "lead the charge" through the course rather than wait for their dog and the comfortable rear cross scenario.
Next we have Saturday's Excellent Standard course which includes a beginning I've used a few times in other parts of the country because it's so fun and works well in narrow, long rings (my favorite tunnel to tunnel exercise).
That meant that most handlers did a rear cross over #7 and therefore if they wanted a front cross after 9, they needed to trust their dog to take the #8 jump on their own. Instead, most people chose to hang there with their dog and those that did leave to get to #9 signaled the front cross late or continued to travel way up the the landing side of 9 with their movement. I was thinking some handler deceleration would have been good for that sequence so that the dogs collected while going over #9 and were able to turn tighter to #10 and therefore to the weaves.
Instead, most dogs were sent to #10 at such an angle that they landed heading to the right and had to make a very sharp turn to the left to head toward the weaves.
All in all, it was a blast to watch the handlers and I have some thoughts for my own classes this coming week.
Thanks again Ohio, it was so much fun to see you guys! I'm looking forward to Hamilton in May : )