Blithe Spirit!

training plan 11-08-09

In the first six exercises we’re practicing a pre-cue Front Cross that will have the benefit of a lead-out from the table. There’s nothing like getting a lot of reps with a movement to make it settle into muscle memory. Note that each of the sequences have different conclusions that have their own implicit riddles.

Exercise 1

The exercise begins, presumably, with a pre-cue Front Cross from jump #3 to jump #4. It finishes up with a nice roll around the outside with dog on right. For my advanced students I’ll ask them to send to the pipe tunnel at #6 layering to the opposite side of the dummy jump in order to meet the dog on the downside of the dogwalk.


Exercise 2

Out of the pre-cue Front Cross the handler will draw the dog through the three-jump pinwheel (avoiding the tunnel taken previously) pushing a nice tight line to the pipe tunnel at #7. Of course the handler has to layer to the opposite side of the dogwalk while the dog gets out to jump #8.


Exercise 3

Out of the pre-cue Front Cross the handler will push the dog on to the pipe tunnel at #5. This moment might require a tandem if the dog elects to turn hard left after jump #4. The exercise ends with a very tricky approach to the weave poles at #8. The looming wrong-course tunnel under the dogwalk should not be discounted.


Exercise 4

Now we take the pre-cue Front Cross in the opposite direction. This should go nice and easy as the handler puts the dog into the pipe tunnel at #5 and can finish either with dog-on-left or dog-on-right.


Exercise 5

Out of the pre-cue­ Front Cross the handler is faced with a bit of a technical challenge, through the pinwheel to a blind approach to jump #7. This might be best accomplished with a Front Cross so that the handler can control the corner of approach to jump #7 with a well directed line that carries the dog neatly through jump #8; that would also put the handler on the side of the turn to the dogwalk.


Exercise 6

Out of the pre-cue Front Cross the handler must draw the dog sharply back to the opposite entry to the pipe tunnel lat #5; and then needs to set up to present jump #6 and get the dog turned into the pipe tunnel at #7. This gives us another opportunity to practice the layered approach to jump #8 coming out of the tunnel.


Exercise 7

At last we’re  done with the pre-cue Front Cross. This exercise starts off with a layered send to the pipe tunnel at #3. The handler will have to set up for a dop-on-right approach to the weave poles at #4. The really interesting moment in the sequence will be in the approach to jump #7. The handler needs to pull the dog past the dummy jump after jump #6 while creating an approach to jump #7.


Exercise 8

This exercise has the flavor of a previous exercise. After a relatively simple start through the first four obstacles, the handler is faced with setting up a line of approach to jumps #6 and #7. This time we’d like the handler (if possible) keep dog on left to set the line, using a Tandem after jump #7 to turn the dog away to the dogwalk at #8.


Exercise 9

Again we have the blind-approach pull-through to jump #4. This time the approach is from the opposite side. Part of the riddle is certainly going to be how to get the dog on left to influence the dog to the right and set up the approach. After jump #4 the handler is faced with getting the dog into the opposite-end of the tunnel… and not the obvious and more compelling end.


Exercise 10

If we actually get to this last exercise… consider that the turn after jump #5 begs for a pull through to avoid the wrong course straight ahead in the dog’s path. This would be a marvelous time to use a pre-cue Front Cross to give the dog a fair opportunity to make the turn



Hail to thee, blithe spirit!

Bird thou never wert-

That from heaven or near it

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

– Shelley, “To a Skylark”


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my latest publication the Just For Fun Agility Notebook #30 available on the Country Dream Web Store.

%d bloggers like this: