Tonight was just one of those agility practices where my setup and I just didn't gel that well.
I had two courses in mind with the set up. The first turned out to be pretty good, and is the one in the video.
Breaking it down:
- I liked starting with the tire because, previously, Marge's start lines at tires have not been good. Didn't seem to be a problem tonight.
- Came in between the 180 to go out to the red tunnel, and here I encountered some trouble. It seems that I turned my body/shoulders too quickly, before Marge committed to the tunnel, and that led to her veering off to the side in the first take. I added an OUT command (something I almost never use) and that seemed to help.
- Coming into the second, blue tunnel was tricky for Marge. I had to wait back to pull her in to it, but I couldn't wait too far back because the weaves were next. With subsequent repetitions, she started to get it.
- Her weaves were alright tonight.. not as good as I would have liked, not too terrible either. I don't know whether to be worried about it or not, because her weaves are fine at all (albeit usually at reduced speed). Starting to wonder if the spacing is different..
- That front-crossy thing between the weaves and jump seemed better than a back cross, those possibly less efficient.
- She hasn't seen the table in quite some time. The fact that it was a low table did throw her off a bit, but there was NO way I was lugging out the heavy, big one.
- She did nicely down the line from jump to tunnel, and had no problem figuring out that the tire was the next obstacle. The rest is straightforward.
Critique, please, critique!
My second sequence was disastrous, way too hard for Marge and way too small for the room I was in, so I scratched it. But, I couldn't really think of anything better to put (I had some other courses scribbled on paper, but they, too, seemed to be too big for the room) so we did a lot of drill-type stuff.. back crosses into the tunnel, weaves after the tunnel, bounce jumps..
Speaking of bounce jumps, does any one know how the heck to figure out the correct spacing? Marge either seemed to be constantly straining over them or, if they're too far apart, taking extra strides in between. Perhaps I should have left the bounce jumps at 16" for another week..
I felt so bad. On one attempt, Marge went crashing through the final jump and seemed a little discombobulated after, a little hesitant to go over the jump again. I then decided that we'd all had enough of the bounces and spread them out for her to boost her confidence back up. I ended the night with a couple of easy 270's.
I guess I am caught in a never-ending battle between a) wanting to work on specific skills, b) wanting to run a 10-14 obstacle sequence because it's more fun for both of us, c) dealing with the reality that the space is VERY narrow and d) the fact I have no experience putting a course together. Perhaps next time I should stick to the saying that less is more, and do more drill-type stuff with Marge, since it's what the space is really best for, and end with a couple of very easy 7 or 8 obstacle sequences in the end to keep it fun for her.
I'm definitely missing the input from my instructor, and am relieved that plain ol' classes are starting back up hopefully a week from Monday. If anyone has any drill/sequence ideas, I'd appreciate the input. Right now, I have 5 jumps, a tire, 2 tunnels, 12 weaves and a table available. I'm hoping that the number of jumps and tunnels will increase when the equipment is brought in from the field outside. Oh, and the space is about 85' x 25', though I prefer to only use about 60' of the long direction. Ideas, please, ideas!
And, for fun, some pictures from the night, courtesy of my sister..
My only hope is that Marge still had fun tonight despite the technical difficulties of setting stuff up; I think she did, for at least a good portion of the time. However, looking back, the biggest problem I have is probably not rewarding her enough (not so much in this sequence, but in others, especially with the weaves) and being a little bit stressed out about getting stuff out, putting it away, leaving on time, doing some productive, etc. Maybe next time we'll take a step back and do a sequence we've already done, or just one big circle, or smaller set ups that are less intense in every sense of the word.