Monday, April 27, 2009

The real start of the journey

It's been a fortnight of trialling madness. I'm actually quite relieved that next weekend is a weekend away from the golden fields of agility. We were hit with temps over 25 degrees for both days this weekend which saw sensible investments in cool coats paying dividends. Sonic and I had some strong moments in the ring but I've also found plenty of gaps that need work. We ran in the Excellent Jumping class for the first time and managed two out of three passes.

I'm not really feeling up to deciphering every run that we did. I'm too tired. However the thing that stood out the most was probably that we need to do a lot more double box grid work. A couple of times he didn't come around with my shoulder which, if I remember correctly has been something that has been a weakness for a while. It just so happened that a couple of the courses that we ran showed that weakness up. He flicked away from me once too which mortified me a little but then that whole run was a disaster. All his start lines held up, his contacts were great (although a slower dog walk than at the States). All weavers were present and accounted for (except once when I didn't get him focused enough before we started and he went straight past the lot of them...) and no knocked bars.

I was talking to some friends over the weekend about the relationship that you have with your dog when your running agility. That feeling that you get when your dog knows exactly where your going and you know exactly where your dog is going. It's smooth, it's quick and it feels great. I'm actually there with Lexi at the moment, who is a dog that I run for a friend. I only have her twice a week to train and then on weekends when we have trials. It's taken a long time for us to get that feeling as she disappears from time to time to have puppies or when she comes in season. It does have a huge impact not having a dog with you all the time and it's a credit to Lexi that she's doing so well. This last weekend we've had round after round when her runs have been text book. I can remember a time when nothing I did with Lexi worked and every run was hit and miss. I guess that's a bit where I feel I'm at with Sonic right now. He's my baby and it's all new. We haven't figured each other out yet and we're not really comfortable with each other when we're going around the ring. Some bits feel OK and others feel messy and disjointed. Knowing how far Lexi had come has really helped me to look forward to the time that Sonic and I hit our straps and have that ultimate team combination going. As the courses get harder it feels like the reality of the trial ring has just started and my experience with Lexi has definitely served as a reminder to be patient while we're getting there.

Anyway, here are some of Sonic and mines better attempts over the course of the weekend.

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