Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting it done... The AWC Part 2 - The first couple of rounds...

After the completion of the KUSA cup, the 'real business' started.  Opening ceremony went without any real drama.

First up was the Team Large Jumping, designed and judged by the South African, Gawie Faul (Click on the picture to see a bigger version):

Now if you ask me, the AWC does have one very big flaw in the fact that scrutiny and approval of courses for the event take place without any knowledge (and by the looks of it sometimes consideration) of the surface.  This has been a factor in the AWC many times before.  There could be many different solutions for this.   Judges could submit two possible options for each class, one for a 'good surface' and one for a 'bad surface' and only once the official practice has been completed does the judge choose.  Perhaps judges should be allowed to make changes on the floor if they realise that the course is appropriate for the footing.

I attended the AWC in 2010 (as a spectator), 2012 and 2013 (as a competitor) and watched every second of livestream in 2011.  I assure you that the effect of the surface could be confirmed in each of the official practice sessions.

The large team jumping was my least favourite course of the weekend, because I felt it was inappropriate to test the exact same thing 6 times in one course and of course the dreaded HORRIBLE turn after the tyre. This last part really annoys me, because it seems judges will never learn.  Yes, I know it is a break-away tyre, but I think the European Open amongst others proved that a breaking away is not a guarantee. The course was most definitely not suited to the surface, especially not this early in the weekend before dogs adapted to the footing.   Regardless, some lovely rounds, especially from Helmut Paulik and Lane (that also won the round).

Next up was Medium Team Jumping designed and judged by Norwegian judge, Harald Schjelderup:

This was definitely a much better course and produced some really enjoyable rounds.  I do have to say I was a bit disappointed in the lack of pole entries though, many handlers had to manage terribly.

My first AWC round was the last round of the day (just another note, I was not too impressed with the program for the AWC, as it saw the Smalls running either first or last or both 3/4 rounds available to us).  Gawie Faul was the judge again and while we were all dreading the course after the Large course, it turned out that we had a very easy (almost grade 1 or 2) course waiting for us.  Regardless you still have to go out there and do your thing:

Our running order for Team South Africa Small was 6/7 with only Switzerland running after us.  Me and Volt were running last for our team.  There was some controversy regarding the Small competition which I really don't even want to get into.

The first dog for our team had a very unfortunate disqualification jumping through the side of the tyre, followed by two nice clears from my other team mates.  This meant that in order to give us a chance for a podium finish, I had to run a course clear.  This was my first time running in the last spot in the team event and it does have a different dynamic to it (a dynamic which it turns out I really enjoy).  This round was not exactly my best round ever, but I did manage to get around (coincidentally with my best individual finish of the weekend in 6th place).  I did thoroughly enjoy running this round and pretty sure Volt did too. And these rounds managed a third place on the team podium as well.

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