Friday, August 3, 2012

A Goal Deferred

One of my goals for August was to audit a seminar today.  Well, I didn't.  A 9-5 day with an hour of driving each way was just too much time for me to take off, so I bailed.


I went out to Laura Dolan's house for a lesson this morning.  She lured me in by sending the course map by email last night, and it looked like too much fun to miss :).  It was her 'homework' for the worlds team--a fun international style course from the Spanish championships.  There were a few points where she'd made easier options if we wanted, but Jonah and I went for the real thing.

I really like how Laura does class.  Instead of running a whole class, we run shorter sequences and really focus on each part.  It also means you run more often and have shorter down time between runs.

The first sequence included this:

I handled 1 and 2 with him on my right, wrapped him left with a FC, and kept him on my left for 3-6.  It worked.  His wrap at 2 was not as tight as it could have been, as he was really excited and was jumping big.  He got it done, though.  I did a name call at 5 and he didn't look at the off course jump.  Good boy.

Laura suggested doing a FC on the landing side of 5 just so I could keep moving more, which is motivating for him.  I had thought it was just an extra cross, but she was definitely right.  Neither Jonah nor I like it when I'm standing still.

The second sequence had a 270, where I put a FC on the landing side of the second jump.  It went well.  Then there was the dogwalk to the backside of a jump.  Laura's dogwalk is wood with slats, like the one at ARFF he didn't like that one time.  I walked him over it before we ran, just so he'd have an idea of the feel.  Then, when we were running, he was PHENOMENAL.  So fast.  I get a little nervous when he gets out ahead of me, but there was no way I was keeping up.  He was getting his contacts, too.  Yay!  The first time I just rewarded after the dogwalk, and the second time I went ahead and did the backside, which worked well.  He had so much momentum coming off the dogwalk that I just had to run straight rather then turning towards the jump.  Then, when we were a stride or so away I gave the "back" verbal, pushed with my arms, chopped my feet, and he did it beautifully.  I was really proud of that.  

When we got to the weave poles, he was going really fast but there was a dip in the ground at pole 10, which made him pop out.  He very rarely pops out, and Laura said she knew that if she fixed the poles he'd get it, but that it was good practice for him to see something unusual.  He popped out one more time but then he got it and did it nicely for the rest of the day.  That was a good training experience, I think.  He got a little bit stressed about having to redo them, but once he got it he was really proud of himself.  

The next line that I thought was fun looked like this:

Yes, the weaves were that close to the edge of the ring.  That probably contributed to Jonah popping out as well as the uneven ground.  Knowing that he was not fully confident with the weaves, I was a little nervous pulling off to be on the landing side of 2, but we did it.  I stayed near the end of the weaves a second longer than I would have if he were weaving well, but I got to the landing side in time and was able to push nicely to the back of 3.  It was a lovely threadle, and Laura praised it.  Then after the teeter I was careful to keep sight of him, as he has been known to duck into closer tunnel entries.  He was right with me, though.  What a star.

The rest of the course was a big running closing line, which we both loved.  Laura helped me maximize my running by having me run farther--going right up to the stanchions and changing direction rather than just fading away and getting too far ahead of him.  It made a big difference.

I was excited with the lesson.  Laura was really great.  She says really nice things about Jonah and she seems very invested in getting him more motivated in trials.  We got some good advice.  I will definitely try to go back for another lesson later this month.  Next week we'll be at a trial, but after that we'll see what's going on.

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