SUMMARY: You must tell the judge what course you're running or be penalized.
Here's a new CPE rule for 2007, one that seems to go counter to CPE's professed goal of making agility fun and encouraging Qs.
Background: The Colors class consists of two intertwined courses, of maybe 9-12 obstacles each. You pick one, state which one you're doing, and do it. The judge can design them so that they start either on the same obstacle or on different obstacles. Used to be, if they started on the same obstacle, judge or scribe or someone would ask if you forgot to say which one you were intending to do.
New rule: If you do not tell the judge which color you're doing, you get a 5-point fault. This is particularly painful if you're at Level C, where you're not allowed any faults: you could have a perfect run but NQ because you forgot to say it and no one prompted you. This weekend it was even more painful because the two courses started on completely opposite sides of the field, so there was no chance whatsoever for misunderstanding which you were intending to do.
I don't think there's anything in the rules prohibiting the judge or scribe or someone from asking what color you're intending to do, but based on how many faults were given for not stating your color, it seems to me that people are thinking that they don't dare say anything because it would be outside help. At our next trial, I'll try to remember to make sure that the ring crews for the Colors courses are prompted to help the competitors remember.
OK, have I been burned by this? Twice! I remembered for Boost this weekend, but although it was in my head when I walked out with Tika, then someone yelled something behind me and I turned around to see what it was, then Tika got distracted by a dog in the field outside the ring, then when I put her in a sit she kept standing up, and so then when I finally looked up for my first obstacle, the thought had escaped. After 11 years of agility (that's 2,366 runs, only 50 of which have been Colors, and most preceding this rule), my instincts have been trained to focus on my dog, the timer's "go when ready," and my course. It's going to take a lot of unlearning to remember to do this thing.
I did notice that the Level 1 and 2 dogs, and even at times the Level 3, were much better at remembering CPE's nonstandard rules like this and like the "go to the table to stop the clock" rules after you've already completed a Snooker course or a Jackpot gamble. And we talked about how it's because those are the only rules they've ever known; unlike the more experienced handlers, they don't have years of experience telling them how to do things--which go counter to CPE rules.