Strum and I did a 1/2 day workshop last Friday. Weird to be doing a seminar on a weekday. The arena was up at Progressive School for Dogs, about a 50 minute drive in no traffic for me, and it was some kind of really nice artificial turf. I've never done agility on that kind of flooring before and I liked it a lot. Nice cushion and traction, no dust clogging up my lungs, wish we could trial on that all the time. It was a nice facility and I know a lot of people who love taking lessons there but it's such a long drive. It means over a 3 hour commitment for an agility lesson with a lot of people in the class and I'll only get a few turns plus all that gas and driving and pollution. If only it was closer.
Anyway, I always have a few good revelations and things to work on after a Stacy seminar and this one was no exception. Seems like I struggled more than I usually do, maybe because we haven't been able to practice much in the last 2 months because of the weather. I can't remember the last time I had a lesson, probably in October. It was an intermediate level handling seminar which may have contributed too. It's hard to handle a fast dog on those open courses. I did a lot of running and got a good workout in, that's for sure. My IT bands were whining that night and Strummer was a little worn out which is nothing short of shocking.
I've recreated the course below as best I could from memory and the video. It's not entirely correct obviously especially the distance between obstacle but it's close enough. Also, that chute is drawn way too big. It did not interfere with running from 13 to the cross between 15 and 16. This is obvious on the video.
The hard parts for me were 8-10, 12-14 then getting that front cross in after 15 and getting the 16 jump. Some people struggled with the #5 tunnel entrance, especially those who tried to handle it with the dog on their left. I led out to between 4 and 5, picked him up on my right and it was no problem.
On the 8-10 sequence I stopped between 8 and 9 until he was committed to 9 then started moving again too soon before he checked in with me so he kept taking the #4 jump. I got it eventually but it's something I'm going to set up and practice some more. Lots of other people struggled in this area too and Strummer wasn't the only one tempted by that off course A-frame.
My initial thought for the 12-14 sequence was 2 front crosses and others tried handling it with a front then a rear. Mostly the rears were miscued so there was a spin or some confusion and Stacy told us to handle the whole thing with the dog on the right like a serpentine. I was one of the last teams to go so I handled it that way and never tried the crosses. It was awkward at first but once I tried it a few times it started to feel o.k. I never felt comfortable sending him ahead to the 14 jump though. I had to get ahead while he was jumping #12 to cue that #13 jump and by the time he caught up to me I ran out of running room to indicate #14 and had to run too deep into that pocket. I'm going to set that up as well and practice holding back and sending. Going too deep made the front cross after 15 challenging. After the cross I felt like I had to run to my right to avoid the wing of the #16 jump and this maybe pulled him off the jump. Being able to send to 14 and run deeper into the cross would have been extremely helpful. I got it after a few tries but Strum wouldn't read the cue. Maybe he'd had enough at that point, he was also dropping bars and running past jumps. Not a lot, but enough that it made me think he was losing his concentration. In any case, something to set up and work on.
Here's some video. It's heavily edited. I removed most of the mistakes, not because I'm trying to make us look perfect but because I thought they would be annoying to watch. I left a few in to show how things can go wrong but only 1 rep of each mistake. I'll be honest there were a lot more in real life.
Stacy Peardot-Goudy Intermediate Handling Workshop Jan. 2010 from colliebrains on Vimeo.
You can click on the link for the video if you want to watch it on a bigger screen.
I've got a big 4-day seminar coming up in 2 weeks with Mary Ellen Barry and Jennifer Crank. I signed up mostly to audit a bunch of stuff for free but I also signed up for a working spot learning APHS handling (Linda Mecklenburg's system) on one of the days. The price was ridiculously inexpensive for club members so I thought I'd splurge for 1 day and it's so rare to get anybody knowledgeable teaching this system in my area. Joy has been great so far but it will be interesting to learn from someone else as well. Definitely looking forward to this one.