SUMMARY: Some interesting courses from the Haute TRACS event.
Here's a selection of interesting courses from this weekend. Coincidentally, they also are all from different judges (also judging, Tami McClung).
Team SnookerI like Snookers that give people a lot of reasonable options so that everyone isn't running virtually the same course over and over. That's hard to do. Tammy did a nice job with this one by making 3 and 7 (and 4 of course) one-way-only during opening and closing and 2, 5, and 6 usable from any direction, any which way. Time was 50 secs for large dogs, 55 for 16", and 60 for 12".
The 4, 5, 6, and 7 were most-frequently used in the opening in various combinations. I had a two-part strategy: Find something that flows fairly nicely so I didn't have to be doing call-offs and threadles between obstacles, and secondly, hope that everyone else trying to do more complicated things crap out. Hence, my plan was (as numbered on the map) middle red to #2 to right red to #4 teeter, to left red to #5, to upper red. After that, I veered onto the dogwalk #7 for Boost because she has fast & reliable contacts, and #6 for Tika because her dogwalk up and down are iffy but her weaves are good.
It worked well except that Boost slid off the dogwalk on the way up (I guess I didn't line her up well, although she also slid off the dogwalk in the Standard ring later, and the teeter later, too) so I had to go back and redo it, and then she knocked the bar on #3 in the closing. She actually did a great job of sending out to the red after the teeter and then swinging around and sending ahead of me to the #5 pinwheel--except she knocked one of the bars there. Still, no refusals that I remember.
And I was already feeling stupid and lethargic in Tika's closing and didn't bother lining her up for the #4 teeter, so she came on from the side above the contact, earning a whistle.
Huh, I forgot to note what the higher or typical scores were for this class; sorry. Will fix that when the results are posted online.
Team GamblersTeam Gamblers is always interesting because it's nontraditional. Funny that a USDAA friend commented to me recently that she wasn't that fond of CPE nontraditional gambles because you always had to figure out new rules, whereas traditional gambles you don't--but everyone accepts and generally likes to play Team Gambles, which are exactly the same concept as CPE nontraditional gambles. (Judge invents something. Period.)
This was a how-greedy-are-you kind of gamble. Big dogs had 30 seconds. The Aframe was worth zero, BUT it doubled any points that you had gotten up to that point. You could do it once, and then continue earning points as usual until the whistle blew. Attempting it and blowing it did nothing except waste time. However, the gotcha was this: If your dog was on the Aframe in any way at all (e.g., even holding a 2-on, 2-off) when the whistle blew, you lost EVERYTHING.
Also, if you did the weaves as a gamble from behind the line, they were worth 7 instead of 5.
Many people did some part of this sequence: tire-teeter-jump(to the left)-tire-teeter-"get to the weaves"-weaves-tunnel-weaves-jump-Aframe, where "get to the weaves" is either the tunnel or the 3 jumps after the teeter. If you completed ALL of it successfully, this sequence earned you 78 points. Most people didn't try for the whole sequence, maybe leaving out the tire at the beginning (which I left out for Tika but did with Boost), or going directly from the first weaves to the jump-Aframe, etc.
Highest score was 89, good lord, I have no idea how they managed it--even doing that sequence and then doing the tunnel under the Aframe twice would've been only 84 points and you'd have to be really really really fast to do that.
Typical scores were in the 60-64 range. Both my dogs popped out of their first set of weaves, dagnabbit, must be something in the water and not something their handler was doing. Tika ended up with 64 points, placing 19th of 43; Boost had 60, placing 28th of 73. (ANd I'm still puzzled because I thought she did 2 points MORE than Tika! Never had time to go back and check the scribe sheet.)
Grand PrixThe Grand Prix had about a 50% Qualifying rate, I believe, but very few of those were clean qualifiers. I think that only about 4 dogs out of 44 in Tika's jump height, for example, had clean runs, although a bunch qualified with 5 faults.
A lot of people had problems of one sort or another in the sequence between the dogwalk and the #15 tunnel. There was much debate about whether to send the dog to #13, and serpentine #14 into the tunnel, but I think it was tighter in reality than it looks on paper. Some people front crossed between 13 and 14 and pulled into 15; some did front crosses in both places.
Tika flew off the dogwalk while I stopped flat-footed in an attempt to get her to make the contact, then when I called her hard, she knocked the bar on #13 but still didn't turn in time to avoid the runout line on #14, so within 2 obstacles we had 15 faults. The rest was nice.
Boost was having weave pole issues a lot the first day, including here.
Another problem area for people was the 10-11-12 sequence. I handled it by running on the far side of the dogwalk, rear crossing the tunnel, and catching up to my dog for a wrap to the dogwalk. They both slowed and looked back at me, but weren't close enough to 11 for a refusal. Tika pushed/wrapped nicely, but Boost looking back at me put her into multiple-refusal-land, and this is the point in the course where I finally left. Ashley's the only one I saw who did it on that same side AND got a front cross in before the #10 tunnel. Most people ran on this side of the dogwalk, with the dog veering off towards the tire before the handler got there, sometimes taking it for an offcourse, or ended up backjumping the #11, either before or after taking it the correct way.
Coming out of the #15 tunnel to #16, an amazing number of dogs headed straight for the chute or the #20 final jump (again indicating that the actual layout was slightly different from the course map). Some dogs went around #17 or #18 or both. The #6 to #7 caused some off courses at #3. The 7-8-9 caused some off courses onto the dogwalk.
In short, lots of opportunities to screw up.
SteeplechaseThe Steeplechase really wiped people out. There were some, like me, who took the Aframe path after the first set of weave poles instead of the correct path. The biggest challenge was the 12-13-14. Lots of dogs had problems with the broad jump itself, and many dogs went into the wrong end of the #14 tunnel. There were some offcourses from 10-11 over the 18 or 3, but not as many as you might think, as those were fairly obvious problems that people were prepared for.
The #5-6-7 also gave problems. I think that the jump was further to the right, in reality, so a lot of dogs were pulling past it on the left as the handler broke off towards the weaves.
Many many many missed weave entries, particularly after the #6, and it's not entirely clear to me why, unless the dog was heading for the tunnel and so came in at an odd angle. Tika had no problem. Boost made the entry but skipped the next pole, but she's been doing that a lot lately so I don't think it had much to do with the course.
Fastest times were in the mid-28-seconds, posted by Cap, Luka, and...uh...I should remember but don't (having worked that score table most of the day--wow what a long class, 5 hours!). Those fast times plus the high fault and offcourse rate kept the number of qualifiers very low, it seems to me.