Monday, May 4, 2015

A Very Challenging Course

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted anything in my blog.  I've done most of my analysis in video format and posted it to YouTube.  However, a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of running some challenging courses designed by Richard Kurzawa.
Friday's JWW course was the most difficult of the courses we ran, and I had the chance to set it up today to see if I could improve my handling choices.

The first challenge for us was the widely spaced 4-jump serpentine in the opening.  Even indoors on sports turf I don't realistically think I can beat Willie down this line.  In heavy grass, I know absolutely it's not going to happen.  Additionally, there are places later in the course that I am going to need any energy I might expend trying to stay ahead of Willie in the opening.

Second Challenge:  The backside at #9.  This is pretty easy for us if I go through the gap between 8 and 10.  However, going through that gap makes it harder for me to get back to 10 in time to ask for collection with a timely FC.  So I opted to follow the green line after sending Willie into the tunnel.  I didn't get a chance to try this at the trial because our train derailed after #4.  The first time, I tried it today, I stopped one stride too soon and Willie came in toward me and took #9 from the wrong side.  After that, we had no trouble getting the backside.  However, despite having all the time I needed to execute a FC at #10, I was still late, and Willie’s path there was very wide!

Now, for the really evil part of this course.  12 to 13 calls for collection and a tight turn.  At the trial, it was amazing how many handlers opted to do a FC between 12 and 13.  For the most part, it was not a good option.  At the trial, I did a FC fairly close to #9 and ran DOL, hanging back so I could RC between 11 and 12.  Unfortunately, I was late with that RC and Willie took #13 from right to left and when I RC’ed #13, he knocked the bar.  My next RC was also late and Willie went over #1 before turning back to the weaves.  Clearly, I needed a better plan for 10-15.

Layering 10 and sending Willie to the backside at #9, allows me to do my FC on the landing side of #10 and to run DOR, which puts me ahead for the technical stuff that is coming up.  (Executing the FC on the LS of #9, pretty much prevents me from getting far enough ahead to do a second cross, so I'm stuck running DOL.  This puts me behind when I need to be as far ahead as I can manage.)

After working through 11-15 a couple of times, it dawned on me that if I could get far enough ahead at #13, I could reshape Willie’s line just enough to make the off-course jump (#1) a less viable option.  I finally decided to try using a reverse spin at #13.  This effectively communicated the turn and allowed me to keep moving.  It worked just fine and enable me to get to the landing side of #13 in time to alter Willie’s path just enough that a RC at #14 took him to the weaves.

Here's the video.  The first clip is our trial run.  The second clip is our successful run at home.  And after that, there are several short clips showing how we worked out the handling.