Saturday, June 10, 2006
Mountain Biking on the Agility Course
First off, here's a link to some photos from the USDAA trial down in Pueblo: http://www.photoreflect.com/scripts/prsm.dll?myphotos?a=288333
The big thing for me to note is how high both dogs are overjumping. This is hardly headline news but it's low on my list of training priorities at the moment even though teaching them to jump more efficiently would certainly make us faster. Our big time suck right now is the A-frame and dogwalk for Lola so that's where I'm concentrating my efforts in the next month. She's easily losing a whopping 5-10 seconds on these obstacles and her contacts still aren't anywhere near solid.
I've started taking handling lessons with Sandy at Biscuit Eaters and she's been a huge help. She's a cyclist and knows I ride too so she's been using cycling metaphors to help me. Turns out I have many of the same problems with mountain biking that I have with agility, mainly staying smooth and relaxed through the technical parts of the course/trail. When I'm not sure how to handle something I tend to tense up and start handling the bike/dog in a jerky manner, focusing on the rock I don't want to run into or the off course tunnel I don't want to take rather than focusing on where I really want to go and what I need to do to get there. I can handle things smoothly when I'm confident with what I'm doing so I do have it in me, I just need to learn how to keep my head and transfer it over to the difficult parts. This holds true for both sports. I think the only way to get through it is more practice. There are a couple of excellent teachers/world team members (Elicia Calhoun & Steve Frick) coming through town and I've signed up for lessons with both of them. They're not cheap but it's not often that such great instructors come through town offering private lessons. It's usually all day seminars and I've found that I don't learn as much that way.
I finally managed to get some rare pictures of all 3 dogs together. Strummer seems so grown up now compared to the picures we took when we first got him.