Scott Lovelis - Masters Challenge Standard/Jumpers

13 Nov 2014Steve Schwarz

Scott Lovelis had some “spot on” Masters Challenge courses at the recent Contact Sports Agility trial here in Illinois. The courses had “international” challenges including Back Sides Back Side/Back Side JumpHandling the Quad Back Side - Patrick Bucher Course/VideoThe Connection Between Threadles and Back SidesBack Side of Jump Handling Combinations - Video, shallow angle jump approaches, obstacle discriminations and, most importantly, flow and speed. I really think these are what MC courses should look like.

Here’s his Masters Challenge Jumpers course:

Masters Challenge Jumpers

Obstacle Legend

Some handling notes:

  • The spacing between the wings at 2/3 was possibly a little wider. Many teams treated 2-3 as a Threadle Threadle SequenceMary Ellen Barry on Threadle HandlingThe Connection Between Threadles and Back SidesTraditional Threadle HandlingSingle Sided Threadle Handling and brought the dog through the gap turning the dog left at 2 and then right to get to 3. I handled it dog on right to the "far" side of 3 and had Flyer jump in to me and I Blind Crossed out to put him on my right to 4. That gave him a look at the tunnel but my motion forward and eye contact put him right on track. There were off courses to the tunnel entrances from 2 and 3.
  • A lot of large dog handlers got the back side of jump 9 because they didn't cue any collection on the approach to 8 (there is also a post there...) and the dogs landed with a choice of sides at 9. Great subtle challenge.
  • There were a couple dogs that went looking for the tunnel after jump 10.
  • 11-14 had a wide assortment of crosses and cross locations. Most popular was Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross after the long jump while driving forward. Some handlers did a Blind or Front Cross in the same spot. I think I did a Rear Cross on the landing of the double (13).
  • IIRC jump 16 was closer to 15 in the actual course. I remember hustling to support the back side of 15 and getting a Front Cross over the jump and looking at the cone at 16 to verify which side of the jump! Pushed him to the back side of 16 and kept Flyer on left to the end.

A fast course which needed the handler to push to their “spots” and control the dog’s path at those points.

Here’s Scott’s Masters Challenge Standard course:

Masters Challenge Standard

Handling approaches:

  • First decision was handling the turn at 5 and how that might play in to the potential for the off course tunnel after the A Frame. Like many handlers I Rear Crossed the take off of 5 so I'd be sure Flyer would jump turning. It was interesting because the spacing was relatively short and after a jump to a spread jump the dog is pretty in full extension so good timing/early cues helped.
  • To be certain Flyer didn't take the off course tunnel entrance I did Blind Cross on the downside of the A Frame to put him on my left. Coming from the rear cross at 5 I had to hustle! Many handlers relied on good forward motion cues and drove to the correct side of the tunnel.
  • Most handlers wanted dog on left for 8-9. The big question was handling the back side of 11. I kept Flyer on my left coming out of the chute and did an Rear Cross on the Flat/Lap Turn as I drew him to the take off side of the jump. Other teams crossed on the approach to the chute (and pushed hard forward) and front or blind crossed the exit of the chute.
  • The next question was which way to turn the dog at 15B. Many handlers turned their dog left. I thought turning Flyer right gave him a better line to the tire and kept him in extension longer. But I don't think it mattered too much except for any time lost on the tighter/collected turn to the left.
  • The need to support the tire made getting in position to get the dog to the back side at 18 and handle the tunnel/DW discrimination was the biggest challenge of the course (and where I made our error!). I drove in for a Front Cross and was planning on a wrap to the left with a blind cross. But only got there in time to get Flyer to take the correct side of 18 and (unfortunately) turned him to his right so he came back across the front side of the jump; that lined him up perfectly for the off course tunnel... More successful handlers executed my plan correctly or used a Shoulder Pull to Rear Cross on the flat (Lap Turn) and then reconnected with the dogs on the landing of the jump to ensure they took the dog walk.

A lovely course!

Thanks so much to Scott for letting me share these courses. I’m looking forward to his courses at the NC Regional this year.

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