Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Course Analysis: Finding the Sweet Spot

I have spent the last few weeks reviewing my NADAC courses.  My goal has been to find a sweet spot on each one from where I could possibly handle the entire course without having to move more than a few feet.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do this with a non-NADAC course at the home of my friend Cathy, who teaches agility near Freeport, Illinois.

This is an approximation of the course that Cathy set up yesterday:

I gimped through the course a couple of times to determine where the key control points were.  I was pretty sure I could handle everything above the 50' line without having to go beyond the 40' line.  Now for the rest of the course.

The #3 tunnel was the first challenge.  I wasn't sure I could get Belle into the closer end from a distance.  I felt her momentum might make the further end a more logical choice to her.  However, that proved to be no problem.  On the other hand, I was so pleased when she took the correct entrance to the tunnel, I failed to call her in a timely manner for the turn to #4, and she was well on her way to the DW before I realized my mistake.  On our second run, I tried using an off-side arm instead of a push to indicate the tunnel, and Belle stopped and looked at me, as if to say "What???"

The other challenge for me on this course was to get the 270 at 18/19.  On our first run, I couldn't get there to apply enough pressure to keep Belle out of the gap between the two jumps.  On my subsequent runs, I adjusted my starting position so that I was close enough to that gap that I could apply the needed pressure.

My first choice of lead out positions was A, but on subsequent runs, I discovered that B was better choice since I was better able to get out of Belle's way for the second jump in the first serpentine.  The only spot where I had to hustle a little more than I was comfortable hustling was for the 270.  I was able to direct Belle through the entire course without having to cross the plane of the serpentine going any further up course than the 40' line.

I did make an important discovery.  Six weeks is too long to go without doing a full set of weave poles.  Belle popped out at the #10 pole more times than I like to even think about.  Guess when I have my DH set up my next course, I'll have to make sure there is a full set of weaves set up nearby for practice.


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