AAC Nationals Steeplechase

Posted on 08/04/09 15 Comments

Well the 9th Canadian National Agility Championships have been put to bed. No I did not “win” the overall championship, but I did have a great weekend.  The event was really well run, the organizers thought of just about everything, right down to having packages of  “Sham-Wow” rags at each ring!

The readers digest version of my weekend is that between Encore and Feature we won five of the six classes at the 26″ height. Yes, that includes my former achilles heel the “Gamblers” class.  Encore won both Gamblers and Feature placed 4th in one as well. Feature won Standard one day and Encore won it the next. Feature won Jumpers one day and the next day had the fastest time with a bar down. As I said before this is a cumulative event so even though both girls had great runs they weren’t all clean so we didn’t win but Encore came in 3rd and Feature 5th overall (which is terrific for a 26 month old puppy at her first ever National Championship!). 

One of my goals with Feature was to get enough points to be considered for next year’s IFCS World Championship team that heads off to England next May. World team points are awarded based on your placements in each of the six classes at Nationals. So first place earns 10 points while 10th place earns 1.  I will keep my fingers crossed that either one or ideally both girls did enough to qualify for the team. It would be nice to bring Feature back to her homeland for a visit! 

My favorite event of Nationals is always Steeplechase since that is a speed event. This year round one and round two qualifiers where both held on the Friday, which I thought was a great idea. The scores where added together from the two rounds (it was time plus faults) and top 10 dogs (in each my dog’s height classes) went to the finals.  My girls did great. I jump Encore down in 22″ and left Feature up in 26″ in this event. Both were seeded first overall going into the finals and both won!  

So we had a great weekend but still I learned A LOT! Will share more later this week about my most important lesson from the event.

For now here are the Steeplechase runs. Sadly my disc was full just as I stepped to the line with Feature for the finals so it didn’t get taped on my camera. If there is any of you out there that caught the run on your camera and could email me the MP3 or MP4 I would really appreciate it!  

Here we go with round one of the Steeplechase qualifiers. It was a fun, course, I think my favourite of all of the Steeplechase runs. It is okay for me to look back and have a favourite after the event, but you have to be careful with this at the event though.  If you want to be successful you can’t let yourself  “fall in love” with a certain style of course saying “this is Encore’s kind of course.” Doing so may psyche you out if the finals isn’t!  To see all of the course maps and results go to http://www.aacnationals.ca/courses__results.html

Round Two. My front crosses where a little late here, particularly with Encore. Partially because I was a little sloppy and partially because I wasn’t out to win, just to make it through to the finals.

and the finals!

Today I am so grateful to own such awesome dogs. Feature and Encore did everything I asked this weekend and Buzzy and DeCaff where very understanding while they waited in the RV.


  1. Trudie says:
    Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 12:05pm

    Hey, where is the slow motion button on these videos? I’m gonna have to watch them about a hundred times.
    I keep pinching myself saying , girl, this is the result of “foundation, foundation”, so persevere !


  2. Claire Duder says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:40pm

    OOPS! Too quick to post…

    I have to agree that Susan’s runs really DO look effortless. So very cool to be able to get your dogs to run the most efficient path, at the highest possible speed, AND with the greatest of accuracy, all without having to run like crazy! Not that Susan was slow, just that her dogs knew where to go without her right there beside them all the time.


  3. Claire Duder says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:37pm

    Kim, the point difference came from the time to complete tha gamble- Feature was something like 59 sec, while the 2nd and 3rd place dogs were 53 sec or so, which gave them the edge.

    I think this aspect of regionals/nationals scoring is interesting- do you try for more points in the opening, at the risk of a slower close (and hence fewer bonus points) or do you plan your strategy for the fastest possible close? My girls are generally very fast in the gamble, so what I may lose in failing to complete an obstacle in the opening, I can usually make up in the time bonus.


  4. Andrea says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:37pm

    Wow. I need to practice more. These runs were FANTASTIC! You really do make it look easy…and I suspect if we all just followed the science of it, and stuck to the plan 100%, it would be easy for all of us. I mean, you map it all out for us.

    It’s like the difference between knowing how to lose weight and eating a greasy cheeseburger anyways, and changing the way you eat – as a way of life – for better health.


  5. Sydney says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 7:00pm

    Question on round 2. The rear cross to the weaves looks so smooth after the tire to the jump. I had to pause the video to see your serp arm. I am trying to be aware of what you said in Washington about weaves and flicks. Would a front cross there have been incorrect? If that jump had been a table, would you LOP or rear?

    Love watching the videos over and over!


  6. Chris McQuillen says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:26pm

    Big congratulations to you and the girls on your Steeplechase wins and a great showing at Nationals!!!

    I have a quick question on Steeplechase Round 1. On the section of the course with obstacles 13, 14, 15 (tunnel, jump, tunnel) I noticed you used a right arm for Feature and not for Encore. Did you plan different handling strategies for each girl on the walk through, or was the handling difference a reaction while on course?
    I know you react very quickly and can adjust your handling seamlessly while on course, so I was just wondering if this was planned or a reaction while on course.


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:32pm

      I was wondering if someone was going to pick that up, great observation Chris. You see these two classes where run in 2 different rings so the set ups were slightly different. Encore’s ring it was a perfect line tunnel-jump-tunnel-weaves, in Feature’s ring it was a very slight push or serpentine both to the 2nd tunnel and out to the weaves poles. Good eye!


  7. Trish Levesque says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:00pm


    Awesome runs with both girls on the weekend. Your Gamblers run on Sunday with Encore was amazing. You were so perfectly placed for the tunnel entry that I have to thank you for the inspiration. I took a cue from your run for placement and Taser nailed the gamble easily! Thanks!
    Your handling continues to inspire us to keep learning and using the system!



  8. Susan says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:15pm

    Am I getting that transparent and predictable? You guys are stealing my thunder and revealing my content ideas! Yes JoAnna tomorrow’s blog is about gamblers and yes Kim later in the week is one about my lessons:)


  9. Kirsten Kristin says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:04pm

    Great runs I will be setting these up they look like alot of fun thanks for posting it .


  10. JoAnna says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:55pm

    Will you be posting your gamblers runs as a follow-up to your post on the gamblers class? I’d love to see some of those crazy Canadian gambles in action!


  11. Kim Collins says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:14pm

    Actually Susan if you look at the results ( in the daylight:o) ) You should have been first and second ( not fourth ) in Gamblers 2, ( 94 and 92 points ) the scoring looks to be a bit wonky there. So much for “not having Gambling dogs! Way to go!

    Ok now we want to see the runs with the mistakes!LOL! You can’t be perfect all the time!! ( I know, you are MOST of the time). Are you going to post some of the courses to the GH list for analysis?



  12. jenn says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:56am

    Must have been the new frizzer 😉


  13. Jason says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:38am

    Could you make that look a little easier…I think i saw a bead of sweat…


  14. Kelly says:
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 8:27am

    Susan, the Round 2 video is repeated in the blog in place of the finals runs. Just letting you know because everyone will want to see them — they were awesome!


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