[ SHOWGSD-L ] suspension

  • From: "Kathaleen Strong" <inflight@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <InquestGSD@xxxxxxx>, <israelfriedberg@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 08:17:18 -0800

I have to admit the pictures look better than what I thought I saw at the
show.  I can still the deficiencies, in some, almost glaringly so.  Short
necks bent downward to balance, kicking up in the rear, falling forward,
etc.

But what the still shots do not tell you is -- how fast the dogs were going
to achieve these pictures.  Nor do they tell you about the fluidity,
transmission and how long that period of suspension was.  They also don't
tell you what their backs are like in motion.  Those few shots on a loose
lead -- may be the only time they were demanded to go loose for the half
pass.  The other thing you don't see on these pictures is that "feeling" you
get when you watch a dog take stride after stride, effortlessly, powerfully
and efficiently.   Another thing -- truly outstanding movers don't have to
go "fast" to achieve that period of forward suspension, each stride is
efficient, effortless covering the ground with no fuss, muss or appearance
of working at it.
 
The outlines in a lot of these pictures are very nice, and they are up off
the ground -- some showing some "suspension" but I can't imagine it's
terribly hard when there's no grass to cover what the feet are doing and you
have a talented photographer, they get the opportunity of getting a shot of
their "period of suspension", regardless of how long it really is.

And these are the "Cream of the crop" in our breed.  I think our Intersex
judge didn't miss more than 5 animals in both sexes that if "I" were the
judge I maybe would have kept for further consideration but "maybe" would
have cut anyway, so it's not that.  I probably wouldn't have been nearly as
generous with the Select ratings -- and I'm pretty certain, we probably
would have had many of the same animals -- so that is not the issue.  The
issue really is the "future" -- if the Select Dogs are our now dogs, and the
class dogs our future, I feel the TREND is downward.  

I could be totally off base, but look at some of those movement pictures,
not all of them, but some of them show -- shorter fronts with more rear,
unbalanced front to rear -- True balance is achieved on the full trot when
the legs work in complete unison -- for completely balanced, harmonious
unison you should be able to draw parallel lines on both front and rear --
so that the lines are on a very, very, similar same plane/angle on both the
extended and retracted legs -- I tried to draw using keys on the keyboard,
but it won't look good enough to illustrate what I'm talking about.  Not to
mention -- our standard is clear on the angulation of our dogs, obliquely
laid on shoulder blades (term for a right angle, ie 90 degrees), upper arm
set at as close to a 45 degree angle (in relation to the obliquely laid on
shoulder blade), the rear quarter matches the forequarter and meets at a 90
degree angle.  Carolyn and I have expounded on this theory before, at a
trot, you need to be able to draw a line through the extended legs, extend
them up past the top of the dog til they meet in a triangle (ideally a right
triangle upended so the 90 degree angle is at the top) and then draw a line
down from the top point where they meet -- this line is the center point of
the dog's balance -- where do the retracted legs fall?  That line should be
smack dab in the middle of where the feet will/have land(ed), throw in those
extra lines on the contracted legs to see how harmonious front and rear are
working together, and you see the dog in motion at a different level.  

Motion pictures are great.  I love them!  But even a really good dog can
take a bad motion picture (if the picture is taken at one frame too soon or
late, it can change the whole thing, not on a good angle, etc.), and even a
less than quality dog can be snapped in a moment of glory -- you have to see
what they do in real life to see what they truly are all about.
           
In any event, Michael and Sharon are very talented photographers, who worked
extremely hard for our national.  After talking to her, I don't know if
we'll get the pleasure of having them photograph our National again, which
is a shame, because they truly did give us Gorgeous pictures to be proud of.
Some of the stories of how they were treated by people and some of the
comments are shocking.  "I'll just get the picture off your website and not
pay for it" "you want me to pay for you taking my dog's picture?" --
shameful!  I hope her initial fears of not even breaking even on this
venture are not realized and I hope people step up and buy the pictures of
their dogs, they are beautiful!

Kathaleen

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