Page 18 - The Sample Voice 02-13

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Olympia Qualifier,
Judged by Anthony Clarke
I asked Ant for his course plan and a few words as I had
heard this was a pretty tricky course, reflected by their
being (so I hear) only 5 clear rounds out of around 268
dogs. Seeing a course on paper often isn
t an accurate
reflection of what it
s like to run it, but it
s the best we
can do!
Here’s what Ant has to say:
After being asked to judge the Olympia Heat at Hinckley
show, I sat and thought long and hard about what sorts of
things would be needed to be covered in this course. The
size of the courses and ring at Olympia always cause
problems for some handlers and dogs, and I wanted to try
and replicate that in my course design.
The flat out speed of dogs vs. the distance at Olympia,
sometimes puts handlers at a disadvantage as it is so
different to what they normally face at a regular weekend
show, so I wanted to design a course that allowed dogs to
reach top speed but also required something a little more
technical. I also wanted the handler to have to work and
handle the dog. It
s very difficult to set a course that will
represent Olympia in a normal size ring, so I decided I
would set a course that was difficult, but kept the dogs
travelling at speed. I believe that the dogs likely to win at
Olympia would still get around the course.
The course also needed certain skills including obstacle
discrimination; good weave entry, independent contacts,
and the want and desire from the handler to attack the
course. As a country I believe we are
too soft
when competing. There aren
t many times where
we really have to get our heads down and attack a course,
and I think this will start to affect us and our dogs over a
long period of time on all areas of our sport.
International Competitions
Things will go wrong when we really need to pull a fast
accurate round out to take a medal home.
General Dog Understanding
The dogs will start to get into a mind-set of the handler not
ever pushing them for every inch they have, so when the
handler does decide to push hard, the dog isn
t used to it,
and faults/mistakes start happening.
Handler’s Mental State
Can a handler go into a run knowing they need to get
around this course clear and faster than the leader, or do
they have a mind set of
s get around and see if the time
was fast enough?
The points I have addressed above really seemed to affect
people on my course. I heard people talking themselves
out of the run before they had started, telling themselves
they couldn
t do it and will fail and making excuses for
Having competed and presented seminars abroad, it
s very
clear to see that not only the mind set of most handlers is
different, but the composure of how they run is a lot
different, too, and I think this is something as a country we
need to address and move forward with, otherwise I
believe we will be left behind as an agility nation.
And here’s the course…