Lorrie’s Agility Dog Blog

Musings on Dogs, Agility, and Being an Instructor

A Fun Steeplechase Course

 Here is the Round 1 Steeplechase course from the 5/16 trial, designed by Scott Lovelis.  He was surprised that it “caught” so many people.  The number of eliminations (for off-courses) was quite a bit higher than he had anticipated, I think.

The first decision handlers had to make was how to perform the opening.  The three most prevalent plans were to do a lead-out pivot of some sort, to run with the dog on the left and rear cross the weaves, and to run with the dog on the left and front cross after the weaves.

The next section, 4 through 7, is where the majority of the off-courses occurred.  People coming into this section with the dog on the right had  a bit of an advantage in getting to this section, but not in staying on course, apparently.  Numerous dogs took the off-course tunnel after 4.  Handlers were trying to race their dogs from the weave poles to the landing side of 4 to do a front cross, which cued the dogs to continue going forward on the angled path straight into the tunnel.  People who kept their dogs on the right had to be able to run with them past the broad jump, or they ended up going off course to 17.

Steepplechase 5-17

The angled entrance to the weaves caused a few problems as well.  Handlers were consistently behind their dogs after the long 8-9-10 backstretch, so many dogs took the handler’s arc around 10 as a signal to move to the right, causing them to miss the entry.

One off-course that I didn’t see as I was walking the course was dogs taking the tunnel rather than the A-Frame at 13.  I believe that was the cause of an E for at least two dogs.

The last long loop, 14 through 20, was fairly straight-forward.  There were a few mistakes when handlers pushed too hard coming around the pinwheel and caused the dog to take the #9 tunnel, and a few dogs came back toward their owners at 8 rather than taking 17.


May 20, 2009 Posted by | Agility, Agility Trial, Course Strategy | , , , , | 1 Comment