Graded 4 to 5 jumping. Handlers are either experienced handlers that have won out of grade 3, or handlers who have won up from grade 1. So either way they should
know what they're doing.
I set the course to be fast - nothing closer than 5 paces and to require control at speed, an understanding of lines or drive rather than endless pull throughs.:-
The first obvious trap is the tunnel entrance. The line into the tunnel need to be set up well before the dog gets there:-
I lost count of the number of handlers who allowed their dog to take the red path AND THEN BLAMED THE DOG......
Several dogs went past the correct tunnel entrance, turned back to it and were then surprised when I gave them a refusal.....
Several handlers didn't bother to call for #7 in their hurry to get to #8 and were surprised when their dogs ran straight past it.
The handlers who collected their dogs for the turn across #8, had no problems with the rest of the sequence, but all too often they let them blast across there leaving a really awkward zig zag path to the weaves.
The handlers who'd thought a little, gave the weave poles a nice bit of lateral distance (red path), which enabled them to drive a straight line to the next jump, the rest set their dogs up on a line straight for the tunnel entrance(green path) and I got very bored of watching dogs get blamed for poor handling.
There were a few stunning runs, from handlers who really can do more then pull through gaps in between jumps. The guy who won the grade 5 nailed it every step of the way and his dog flew round, never a question in it's head. Natasha Wise won the medium section, again another stunning round with never a false step from either of them. Lorna Goodban had a stunning round with her little poodle as well.
However I was so disheartened with the standard of the dogs that for the small course, I pulled it all into a straight forward blast as I was tired and wanted to go home.
I don't think I'll judge again after I've fulfilled this years commitments, I don't like the modern attitude towards judges and I can't believe that I had to throw 2 handlers out of the ring for harsh handling. It was funny when one of them argued with me and my ring part all winced...........
. But as for handlers who have 5 goes at the weave poles after they've already been eliminated, I don't like the attitude that will keep a judge waiting whilst they train in my ring. I think I've got better things to do with my life.