It looks like we’re getting a green Christmas this year. Last year we had -23°C and a lot of snow this time of year. Right now it’s just around 0°C. We’ve had some snow, but most of it is gone now. I don’t mind green fields for Christmas at all, we’ve spent many hours herding in our big field last week and it’s just wonderful to still be able to do that. Agility training is done indoors now, my field is too muddy and icy. We’ve spent quite a lot of time in the riding facility the past week, training contacts, weaves, jump grids and handling.
Epic took some bars down at the handling seminar last week, so I’m going to work on some jumping with him. He jumps well, but seems to struggle a bit with his striding at times. I set up an exercise last night that was really challenging for him. As the dog gets better at jumping, the exercises look more and more like “real” agility. This exercise looks really easy – it’s just a straight line and a pinwheel, but you could really see the dogs struggle. It makes me realize that what we think is easy really isn’t for the dogs. What we require of them in a simple class 1 course can be really challenging when it comes to jumping. When Squid did her first trial in class 1, the distance between jump 2 and 3 was 3,5 meters and a lot of dogs crashed into the bar at jump 3.
This exercise was easier for Squid that has more experience, but she had to work hard. Epic struggled a bit with the straight line and dropped some bars in the beginning – but never made the same mistake twice. I started with just running the straight line in both directions and then worked on the pinwheel, where I want one steady stride between each jump and a tight line. The jumps were 55, 60 and 65 centimeters high. All the jumps in the pinwheel were 55 cm high.
I ended with some handling where the dog did both the straight one stride line and the pinwheel. 1-10 (light circles) were run with rear cross at 8 and I also tried starting the dog on my right, rear crossing 4. With number 1-11 (dark squares), I worked on leaving the dog as soon as they took off on 6 – having them chase me down the line to the finish. Great training! Can’t wait to get back to a similar exercise next week and see if the dogs have improved, I’m sure they have.