Masters Jumpers Stumper

On today’s Masters Jumpers course at Pals & Paws, Jacksonville, FL I had about a 30% qualifying rate… compared to 60% a couple days ago. And frankly, the real stumper was the opening. I’ll show it to you here.

The interesting thing here is that I had the same opening for the Starters standard course… which was well nested to this one. The starters struggled a bit too with this opening. But you know in Starters the rules basis is a bit more forgiving for anything less than a wrong course or a dropped bar.

I told a fella who did this opening in Starters while I was standing out in the sun taking a break between classes that the reason he struggled was the pre-cue leadout that he took on his dog. The pre-cue leadout don’t you know is that thing where the handler leads out, faces back into his dog, lifts the opposite arm and starts his dog. Well, I told the fellow out in the sun that it’s a very risky movement; and the benefit should be equal to the risk. The problem here is that the opening gambit is all risk with so little appreciable benefit that it’s a wonder that anyone would stoop to such a thing.

Oh, and then came masters. I forget… it’s the masters that the starters strive to emulate. So too many of the masters handlers took a pre-cue front cross leadout and managed to pretty much screw up a good thing here.

The thing that I was studying, as usual… is whether the dog takes the precue. I mean, the whole idea of the movement is to tell the dog in advance (“pre”) of the handler’s intention to turn (“cue”).

I have a theory or two about why a precue FC will fail so grandly in this opening. Tho it is fruitless for me to argue against an opening that is held in such broad esteem that many handlers have no other depth or dimension in a lead-out. I mean, it is the only thing they know and aren’t going to look at a discussion of whether it’s stupid or not very kindly.

Okay… I’m going to bed now. I just wanted to have a moments fun with this before I do. Night.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available on the Country Dream Web Store.


7 Responses to “Masters Jumpers Stumper”

  1. Chris Mosley Says:

    Wait wait! Did anyone start with their dog, FC after 2 and stay there to pull the dog from 3-4? On paper I never know, but it seemed like that might work.
    I know what you mean about the risky pre-cue. You have to practice it a lot, facing your dog and not getting a bar down. Can’t wait to hear what did work. Hope you are enjoying sunshine!

    • budhouston Says:

      Hey Chris,

      Oh certainly… a simple Front Cross was effective. And considering that I was judging in the land of Stuart Mah and Patti Hatfield-Mah… I was treated to some masterful turning cues just based on speed change into the FC.

      Note that I also found this opening risky for the Front Cross if the handler doesn’t accelerate neatly into the new line. Note that the first thing the dog really sees is the right side of the pipe tunnel and might sweep past the #3 jump if the handler’s movement is flat-footed (which is the downside of the precue FC btw).

      Yes… the precue FC needs to be practiced. But I submit it is the wrong movement for this opening. D’oh.


  2. Chris MOsley Says:

    Yep, deceleration cue would also favor a FC on the landing side of #3 maybe?

    Are you in OK yet?

  3. Chris Mosley Says:

    Oh but that FC would out me way OOP for the tunnel. Never mind.

  4. mariann jackson Says:

    why does there have to be a front cross between 2 &3? why not a lead out to that spot (leaving the dog room to land) and face #3. use the right hand to call the dog over 2 and then as the dog commits to 2 step toward and sweep to 3 and send to 4 and then something decorative around 5?

  5. Nora Says:

    Why lead out at all? Run with the dog. Send to 2 while moving laterally to 3–then you can either FC on the landing side of 3 or rear cross 4, which is what I would probably do. Take advantage of the fact that your dog will GENERALLY want to turn towards you, so starting with the dog on your left and running with him should prevent an OC tunnel.

  6. Kristie Says:

    I really enjoyed running that course even if I screwed up my dog and failed at 9-10ish LOL Great courses this past weekend!

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