This post has been brought to you by the letters "T" and "H" and my friend Melanie who has been teaching us in our agility classes exercises we can do working through jumps formed in these letters.
Alphabet Drills," because they're basic foundation exercises that she can reap the most rewards from. When we work on these drills it's a lot of repetition, something Dally doesn't like and gets frustrated quickly with, so I typically work with Mesa during class on these drills to get instruction from Melanie, then after class I run Dally through them a couple of times, just to see how she'd handle things. Most of the time she handles them very well--though she is a totally different dog than LaMesa in many ways, one being that you don't do rear crosses with Dally because she's very rarely ever running ahead of you. (I think I tried a rear cross with her in a trial once, and it was because we were running at an even pace and I couldn't get in position fast enough for a front cross--it wasn't a pretty rear, but we handled it.)
Thanks to my half marathon training, I've been home more lately because I've been doing a lot of my running in the morning--leaving the evenings after work for quick gym sessions. Now with daylight savings time, it stays light longer, so I can come home, walk the dogs with Matt, work LaMesa on a couple of things in the back yard, then fix dinner. I love that! I'm definitely not looking forward to when sand volleyball starts and I have to work at least three nights a week--that means I have to rely on Matt to walk the girls and Mesa can only be worked on my lunch hour.
So, anyway, thanks to these Alphabet Drills, I'm able to figure out what I can do with the two jumps I have (one borrowed from Merinda, which I'm sure she's going to want back very soon) in our tiny back yard that can help LaMesa improve.
Last night we worked on rear crosses (it was discovered in class on Wednesday that I use my arms very awkwardly when doing rear crosses because I really am not good at rear crosses...yet) around a jump standard, as well as sending out for 270s. LaMesa's getting the hang of the 270s, but we still need to work on her driving out and around. Dally did pretty well with them, but I still have to go deep into the corners with her--something I wish I didn't have to do, but it's most likely too late to teach her that before Nationals (two weeks away!! ACK!).
For the rear crosses, it's frustrating to me how much I have been mishandling the rear cross with LaMesa. I feel like we're back at the very beginning of agility training for her. I'm hoping if we work on this consistently, we'll get back to being more of a team--after all, she is now in Excellent A Standard (one leg needed to finish her Open Jumpers title)--so we shouldn't be running like Novices still...should we? (I know, I know...she's only 2, but I can't help but feel we should be a better team than we are right now, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that Dally and I are such a team--but we're also celebrating our 4-year trial this weekend in Louisville, and LaMesa has only been competing since June 2011. PATIENCE, Megan, PATIENCE!)
So we'll continue to work on the basics at home, thanks to the letters "T" and "H." I'll let you know what letter we work on next week, and see if we have any improvement on the basics in front of Melanie. Until then, we head to Louisville for the Kentuckiana Cluster on Saturday only. Report to come.