October 31, 2017

A Closer Look at the Steeplechase Finals at Cynosport World Games

This past weekend, Bad Dog Agility’s Sponsored Athlete Jennifer Crank posted the winning time of 31.38 in the 16” class of the Steeplechase Finals at the USDAA Cynosport World Games in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Just in time for Halloween, judge Tami McClung put up a fast but tricky Steeplechase course that tested handlers and dogs alike.

In the video below, I break down the course with the Coach’s Eye app, focusing on potential traps and difficult spots for handlers.

In the video below, I take a closer look at what happened during Jennifer’s actual run, focusing on her execution and tracking her dog’s line.

Fortunately, I was able to have a quick chat with Jennifer as she was on her way home from the event.

Esteban: In my course map analysis video, I thought the lines from 10-12 and 13-15 line were subtle and tricky for the handlers.
Jennifer: The line out of the first set of weave poles (10-12) was definitely the hardest. You can see in my video that I threw up an outside arm going to the #12 wall which was totally unplanned and nothing that my dog knows as a skill. It was basically a panic move to keep him from curling in and getting a refusal or spin before the wall.

Esteban: Handlers that didn’t pull their dog to #11 got a run by so you have to pull them a bit to #11 but then you have to push them away from you to get #12. I’d say your move was clutch! What other part of the course was tough for you?
Jennifer: I was also very late on my push out of the second set of weave poles and that was simply nerves. I was clean up to that point and knew I had a decent run and did not want to get that far and have him pop out of the poles. Any other time I would totally trust that skill.

Esteban: I think the sharp exit from the second set of weaves reflects the evolution of course design in Steeplechase over the years, trending toward more demanding. Congratulations on a great weekend, including a great clutch performance in your Steeplechase win!

In addition to her Steeplechase win, Jennifer added a second place in the 20” Grand Prix Finals to her impressive resume. Over the last 18 months, she has also finished second in the finals at Westminster, third in the finals of the AKC National Agility Championship, and competed at both the FCI European Open and FCI Agility World Championship.

Did you know that you can train with both me and Jennifer Crank right now? We will provide you with small sequences you can set up in your training field, demonstrations with clear explanations with our own dogs, and personal feedback on the sequences you run! I’ll also give you map analyses like the one I did for this Steeplechase course so you can learn to visualize and understand the sometimes subtle line changes that your handling must create for your dog.

Our online course is called the Invitational Prep Course, because this AKC event will serve as the inspiration for your practice sequences. You do NOT need to attend the event to benefit from training with us, and whether you’re a novice handler or experience competitor, you will get better at agility. While many past participants have made the finals and even won the Invitational, anyone will benefit from the confidence and knowledge they will get from this course.

Registration closes at noon Monday, November 6th, 2017! Jennifer, Sarah and I look forward to working with you.

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