Key Challenges in Course Design

I try to design agility courses based on a single central challenge. Keep it simple. It’s not necessary to challenge the dog and handler at and between every obstacle. That’s the road to oppression.

I had a whimsical but challenging kind of jumping sequence in my last web log; and so I would like to build a full course around it.

The key challenge could be placed anywhere on the course. In this case I decided to begin the course with the challenge sequence. I’m interested in the lead-out in this sequence. It’s not enough to leave the dog. That part’s easy. The handler must also have fruitful plan and execution.

I continued (scribbled) the line from the first eight hurdles. The scribbled line is nothing fancy; but you’ll note that it dips back in to the starting sequence for one last little test of the challenge.

The next thing to do is throw out some obstacles to give the scribbled dog’s path something to cling to. This allows the designer to see a glimmer of the overall course. The big loop might get an argument out of a course reviewer for being too simple. I’m tempted for a moment to twist the loop as you might give a twist to pretzel dough.

The finished product involves a bit of adjustment of the distances between obstacles. I also brought in spread hurdles (since my design ambition is a USDAA Jumpers course).

The expanded sequencing seems inconsequential, drawing in nearly half the course in a grand clock-wise turning loop. But it truly gives a good look at two new options; the first in the turn from #15 to #16; and the second in the turn from jump #18 to #19. And the consequence of the big wheel is that it will have the dog flying at full speed when facing these options.


Last week Marsha was away on a North Carolina vacation with family. I kept myself occupied with Spring time kinds of chores. After a winter that went on just a bit too long I’m delighted to get outside doing something. I mostly occupied myself with putting in the garden. I got it tilled up nicely; and I’ve put in potatoes, onions, tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers and broccoli.

I haven’t written to my blog in quite awhile. We put our old boy Ringer down last week. And I just didn’t feel like writing. Marsha wrote about him a bit in her web log: I reckon I’d like to say something about him. He was fond of fruit. He was always inappropriate. And I loved the old boy.

We’re down to four dogs in our household. Ringer was the last of our rescues. He lived a good life.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Which cast member in the movie Independence Day once had a minor role in one of Charles Bronson’s Death Wish movies?


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running.

2 Responses to “Key Challenges in Course Design”

  1. deborahauer Says:

    Bud, I notice that there is no longer a prize listed for answering the trivia question…

    Jeff Goldblum was in “Independence Day” and in “Death Wish” as Freak 1.


    • budhouston Says:

      Management of the prize-giving thing was becoming oppressive to me. I already have too much stuff to do.

      Yah, I think that was Jeff’s first time on the big screen. Originally I didn’t know who he was… but watching the movie 20 years later it was kinda funny to see him as a rabble-rousing scum-bag who had a moment of bad judgment in trying to take on Charles Bronson in a “Death Wish” movie. It was typical of Jewish hoodlums. He brought a knife to a gun fight. lol


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