Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Mind is Willing, But ....

I'm planning to enter a USDAA trial at the end of March, and I was fortunate enough to find a series of courses from 2009 designed by Allison Bryant who will be the Masters/PIII judge at the trial.  I set up the Standard course today.

The angles of approach to the teeter and the A-frame called for some management.  Belle corrects her approach to the teeter each time, but if I had lead out to just beyond #2 and faced Belle, I might have been able to engineer a smoother approach to the teeter.  Since I can leave Belle on the table and lead out to the landing side of the tire, managing the A-frame approach was simple.  For the handler who is unable to lead out, the turn from tire to A-frame could get ugly.

I failed to appreciate how much yardage the position of the weaves would add to my run.  The first two times we tried this course, I went into the box and ran around the #8 jump.  In addition to adding unnecessary yardage to my run, it also put me way behind Belle as she got to the #12 jump.  By the time Belle finished the weaves, I was too winded to finish the course.

After the first two attempts, I knew I'd have to figure out a way to run smarter.  Indoors in a temperature-controlled setting and on sports turf, I might be able to run the course this way.  But outdoors on grass at 40°, no way.  I toyed with layering the weaves and sending Belle to the chute, but when we ran it again, I found that just staying on the take-off side of #8 saved me enough steps that I was able to finish the course.

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