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August 10, 2020: Dog and Pony Show Agility: Cross-Over

This morning I drove over to where our friends Claudia and Frank live, on the other side of town. It was four roundabouts distant from here. Claudia teaches dog classes. Frank teaches mounted archery and paragliding. They own three Icelandic horses and one mustang. As usual, they seemed to have a lot going on there.

Frank was getting ready to take the horses on a trail ride. And Claudia was teaching dog agility. I talked with Frank or rather listened to him talk about his horses – I then went and audited the two dog agility classes. My intent was and will remain to make the connections inherent to dog and horse agility.

The first one was a beginning class and the second was an intermediate class. I found the second one to be the most interesting. I helped set up the equipment before the first class.

The class had just two students in it, two older women. One had a Brittany Spaniel named Skjoni and the other a mutt named Juniper. It appeared to me as though Skjoni and his owner had a better idea of what to do than Juniper and his owner.

Ferris Wheel Imagery

Claudia showed the pair how to do cross overs – this to me was where the rubber hit the road. For instance, you might ask a dog to go through the tunnel that’s on your left, with your left hand. The dog exits the tunnel and you cross over to the other side, giving a treat with your right hand. You are then in the best position for going over a jump which is on your right side.

This reminded me of Tai Chi in that there should be a flowing movement. I watched this and other sequences very carefully because I think that the concept of crossing over is a transferable skill to horse agility. Far better to get it down now, before I take classes. This way, I won’t waste my time or anyone else’s.

I also learned that the hands are all-important. The dogs learn in their foundation courses to keep their eyes on their owner’s hands. I can definitely do this with the horses, and in fact, I’m thinking that this is going to make life way easier for them, and also Shadow.

I’m quite proud of my realization. Now all I have to do is act upon it, which might be a bit more difficult. I wonder how much smarts a horse really has. I suppose as with humans there are differing types of intelligence. Pete’s Shadow is really very intelligent, so in this respect, she has the edge over most of the other agility dogs.

I helped take down the equipment after agility class. The A-frame and the teeter totter were both quite heavy. The rest of the agility equipment was going to have to wait.

We will have class on Thursday. Then next Saturday there’s an agility clinic. I don’t know yet If I will go to the Saturday class. It will depend on the weather since the classes will be outside.

Next: 221. 8/11/20: The Hero Journey Continues

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