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The after-effect of agility!


I’ve been bogged down the last few weeks in seasonal projects and chores. The weather has been so unstable lately that any time there’s daylight when it’s not raining or unbearably hot and humid I’m outside trying desperately to catch up with Mother Nature. I swear, if anything happened to me my farm would revert back to woodlands and fallow fields in less than two summers. I can barely keep pace with normal maintenance as it is without having to take several days off due to unfavorable weather conditions. We’ve just had our second official heat wave and it’s only the end of June. I shudder to think what July and August might bring. Word has it that our hurricane season is supposed to be unusually active this year and I’m starting to think that might be true. The trend has been horrible humidity and LOTS of rain. I know from friends on Facebook that many locations in the USA are breaking under the strain of ongoing drought, but it seems the Northeast is suffering from the effects of the opposite problem: too much rain! At this point I don’t know if my veggie garden will survive and most of my flowers and shrubs are coming into blossom (and going by) WAY too early. It’s as if everything I knew about gardening has been more or less turned upside down.

We did have one week in mid-June that gave us stunning weather: low 70’s, breezy and zero humidity. I’m happy to say that I was out on Dharla every single day that week. The early heat wave in May made me think I ought to forget about everything else that needed to be done and just enjoy the spectacular weather. And I’m glad I did because now I’m looking at about a week since I’ve been able to ride and that great stretch of weather seems like a distant memory. I’m thinking about boarding Dharla at the facility where I’ve been taking some lessons. It’s only 3 miles from my house and has a huge indoor arena. At least I’d get some time in the saddle if this rain keeps up. And I could put a month of training on her if I boarded her. I wouldn’t keep her there forever, but I’d try to pick a few months so boarding would increase my riding time. As it stands, the weather has put a damper on riding at home. Something to keep in mind as the summer progresses.

Gus has finished his first agility class. Overall it was a good experience for Gus, but rather tedious for me. A beginner agility class is probably a bit of a tooth grinder for anyone who has done a fair amount of agility and is starting a young dog with a lot of aptitude and drive for the sport. Yes, I know this will make me sound like an agility snob, but I wish I could find a beginner class for folks who have experience doing agility. I pay the same class fee as everyone else, yet I spend the least amount of time getting to work my dog. Why? Because he’s a quick study and I already know the drill. Not that I can’t improve …. I can. But I have a pretty good foundation in basic, simple agility and I’ve chosen my breed specifically with the idea of doing this sport in mind. Yes, agility is a great way for anyone and any breed to learn new skills and develop a better bond, but that said I’m still frustrated every time I take a beginner agility class.

Because I’ve carefully chosen my new agility prospect and he’s already had plenty of early exposure to things to build his confidence for obstacles, most of my class time is spent having to occupy my pup while everyone else is trying to coax their dog through a tunnel or over a plank walk. Meanwhile, Gus all but turns himself inside out waiting to get another chance to do his thing. Unfortuntely, we spend most of our class time having to wait (and wait and wait) and watch. When we finally do get our chance to jump a jump, run through a tunnel and sit on the table, it takes Gus all of 1.5 minutes to do the loop (three times), compared to everyone else who takes 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon how clueless and unmotivated the dog and/or handler happens to be. We pay the same class fee though. So in the end I drive an hour to and from the class and we spend maybe all of a total of ten minutes actually working. Yeah. I guess what it comes down to is I do this class because the instructor is good and Gus loves it. I’m not exactly thrilled about spending a ton of money for what amounts to 60 minutes of work spread out over the span of 6 weeks, but hopefully when the next session starts we’ll find some of the participants missing. I overheard a couple of handlers mumble that while they’d enjoyed the experience it mostly taught them they needed to work on basic obedience before moving forward with anything more complex. Ya think? (Rolls eyes) I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing a few of them in an agility class anytime soon. Yup, I’m an agility snob. Don’t expect an apology.

2 responses

  1. RE: the weather: I feel your pain. I live in Washington, the Car Wash state. Normally it rains until the 4th of July. Then we get three weeks of blistering hot weather, which encourages my vegetables to finally put out blooms, only to end up in August, when the sun stops shining and it turns cool I’ve had frosts on the 1st of September, which effectively killed everything, then a month and a half of wonderful summer, utnil late October, when the rains pick up again. We are, for once, in the middle of a heat wave. We just don’t DO 90 degrees, but last summer it hit 114 a little south of us. It’s climate change, and it’s happening, whether our politicians want to admit it or not.

    I would board Dharla at the covered arena. They’re so nice, especially in the winter, when it’s raining (or in your state, snowing) and you can still go and work or just get on her back.

    Good luck with the agility trials!

    July 1, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    • Good to hear from you again! I have some dog friends who live in your neck of the woods so I hear a lot about your crazy weather. I think the short gardening season would thoroughly depress me. Typically, I don’t do anything in the 90’s either, but it looks like I’m not getting my way this summer. Misery loves company! 😉 I’ll be sure to blog about the boarding decision … thanks for your .02 cents!

      July 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

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