Sunday, December 11, 2011

Can You Memorize This?

A couple of days ago, Bud Houston posted this USDAA Masters Jumpers course designed by Tom Kula:

Although it may be a course builder's dream, this course presents a real challenge to the competitor's course memorization skills.  On USDAA (especially if you run in the Performance division) and NADAC jumpers courses, there are not many landmarks.  With this particular course, there are no readily apparent patterns, so the only way I can try to get it down solid is to concentrate on where I have to execute my crosses.

1.  I originally chose to lead out to the "landing side" of the #2 hoop and face my dog.  After running it a few times, I opted to just take enough of a lead out so that I could do a front cross between 2 and 3.  This worked well with Belle, but with Dusty, it resulted in me being left behind for the lateral move from 5 to 6.

2.  I planned to do a front cross between 6 and 7.  Unfortunately, I lost track of the location of #8 several times and messed up the run with both Dusty and Belle.

3.  When I studied the course map, I thought getting the turn from 10 to 11 would be the most challenging part of the course.  I really wanted to do a front cross between 9 and 10, but I knew there wasn't much chance of being able to do so.  However, when I walked the course, I realized that a rear cross would do nicely, and going from 10 to 11 proved to be no problem at all.

4.  One last front cross between 13 and 14, and we were home free.

I didn't anticipate having any problem with the wraps at 8 and 13, but Dusty kept me humble.  Because he requires more support than Belle  and because he is so intense and fast, I found myself giving him collection cues for the two wraps a stride too late.

Here is video of someone running this course very nicely at trial:


A fun memory exercise is to try to run a course in reverse without re-numbering it either on paper or with cones.  Since I didn't do all that well at remembering where the #8 hoop was, I thought I'd give myself a second chance and try running this course in reverse.  

A straight reversal of this course would have called for sending the dogs to the backside of three hoops.  I decided to not do that at #8.  I did a pretty good job reversing the course in my head until I got to #17.

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