On Friday CB and I were at an Agility handling seminar with Kathy Keats. In a nutshell it was awesome and there is definite and obvious improvement with my handling skills and CB’s speed has picked up. He was still trucking along up to the last run which at that point we were both wiped and we both slowed down a lot. I really have no idea how I got a working spot for this – I guess I’m just lucky (or too clueless to know better) – especially since most of the other participants (if not all) have been to at least regionals if not nationals before, and a couple aspire to go to Worlds (or have been?). I know they’ll do it, these ladies are great and everyone there made me feel welcome and were so encouraging to me and my little dog.
My goals were simple. Gain more experience handling, work on being on the correct handling side, get a better understanding of the timing for crosses, work in a new environment (Arena=new distraction and we will be trialing here eventually) and hopefully pick up some speed (both me and CB). The courses that Kathy set up were really challenging for me. Everything agility has been challenging for me and this was near the top. We ran each course (there were two) and I’m not sure what the level was but I think Masters equivalent as they were long at 20-23 obstacles. Oh – and to make it harder, Kathy doesn’t number her courses – I had to memorize the order – and I did get lost on the first run. She then broke down the courses into drills to work on some of the trickier bits and by the end of the day it started to make sense — where to be, how to cross, what a post-turn is – I’m still not sure what a pin-wheel is but I know we did at least one. And then we ran each course again and some of the skills that I’ve struggled with (wrapping around jumps) weren’t so hard – they still weren’t too pretty but it’s better.
This video is an excerpt of the second run of Course 2. We are by no means lightning fast but considering that I was struggling a few weeks ago with sending CB onto the dogwalk from my right this is truly amazing. And he’s so much faster through tunnels and on the walk now.
We finished up the day with a team race and a contacts drill. Fun day all in all and I learned a lot and didn’t feel like I left with information overload. Kathy is a really great instructor and I would say an even better speaker.
The things that I’ve noticed is the more confident I am in understanding the course – the better we do. My long term agility goals are still pretty simple, to have fun at agility and to continue to be challenged. And if we get some Qs on the way – well that will be great!