Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Niamh at Hinckley

Well we had a mixed bag at Hinckley. Andy got all my runs on video which is good because I really need to study them to see where I can improve my handling.

I am maintaining my new positive attitude and trying to handle using more front crosses and push throughs. Unfortunately the push throughs are still not right. I am still not moving far enough across the face of the jump or rotating enough. I will practise harder! This is evident in three rounds on the video in one case I cause Niamh to crash with a wing. It could have been nasty for her so this will incentivise me to try harder. That said I don't like the equipment they used at Hinckley. It's fine for small and medium dogs but for large dogs the differential between the height of the pole and the top of the wing is too little (IMO anyway). I'm not questioning the quality of the equipment, just the design of the jump wings.

Finally in one round I get a push through right! It was great to finally achieve this in the ring as I know I can do it in training. Niamh would have got a really good place in the class but knocked a couple of jumps in the finishing straight because I failed to pause and let her find her bounce stride correctly. More grid work required!

The other thing I need to practise more is getting Niamh to stop on the dog walk when I run by. In the Crufts qualifier she strode the dog walk big time. I have noticed when I train my contacts in the ring it's always with me stopping so if I'm going to train I must throw in some run bys. I will practise this at training tonight. In the Crufts round it was exacerbated by the fact that I recalled to the dog walk, this seems to fire her up more and she is less likely to stop. To be fair I did release her but she leapt instead of running through. I trained her contacts in another agility round and they were good except she self-released the seesaw, it's funny to see her reversing in the ring when I asked her to!

The Olympia qualifier was a challenging and original course judged by Lee Windeatt. I actually really liked it (although didn't think I'd get round it!) but couldn't decide how to handler the opening box sequence or the dogwalk/tunnel/A-frame finish sequence. In the end I did both differently from my original plan. I didn't walk either the beginning or the finish how I ran it but I don't have any regrets because it worked well. I chickened out of staying outside the box and doing push throughs as based on my other classes I reckoned I had a strong chance of failure! Because I didn't walk the sequence as pull in's I failed on one to put a steady command in and consequently we lost a bit of time but Niamh was very honest and helped me out. I also forgot to call her in after the collapsible tunnel and again she was so honest to bend in for the jump after. I was going to run the dog walk on the opposite side and scoop into the tunnel but again abandoned this idea with one dog to run and decided to layer the finish. It worked pretty well considering I hadn't walked it.

I still reckon the best way to do it was to do push throughs at the start and scoop the tunnel from the other side of the dog walk. Leah and Herbie came 2nd doing just this. I however, bailed out! We will set up these sequences though and practise them both ways!

The other good thing was that Niamh's weaves were perfect all weekend and I didn't have to over work the entrance, just let her get on with it. That's really encouraging. I do love running this little dog, she's such a happy girl and so honest.

Here is the Naughty Niamh's video. Sorry it contains all her runs so it's a bit long but I like to go back and review my runs and using the blog is the easiest way to do this!


  1. Well, one thing is certain - the courses are MUCH more technical than when I did Agility all those years ago. If I ever got back into the sport I'm not sure that my handling would be up to it.

    Pity I couldn't go back into the equivalent of starters!