I had a real red letter day on Sunday and got to enjoy a really cool Christmas gift.....I got two hours of private lessons with none other then Rachel Saunders! How cool is that? ;-). I have to admit I was a little intimidated trying to think of what to say I wanted to concentrate on....there is so much Cricket/I need, so many areas to work on, so hard to narrow it down.
I was really surprised that Cricket had as many skills as she does. Rachel said that she has a LOT of skills and is doing really well. HUMMMMM.....so where could the problem be-who needs to get more SKILZ? I bet anyone who has done agility can guess! IT'S ME!
Rachel was talking about how agility is one of the hardest sports to really do correctly with a really high level of skill esp with a fast, highly driven dog. She said you have to have the skills of a football player- like when you need to get someplace but still need to keep your shoulders and eyes turned to the dog while you are moving in another direction. Of course there is that little deal where so many times you really do need to be at just the right place-which can be HARD. She said that most times when people are out of position they are only 18 inches to 3 feet out of place, not that much out of place distance wise, but enough that it looks like something totally different to the dog. Add to the whole picture the fact that you are working with another being with their own mind. The timing of a lot of things has to be pretty precise so not a really easy sport to do well. Amazing we all do as well as we do ;- ). ANYWAY, it made me feel a little better that sometimes things that seem they should be so simple just seem so hard-and made me feel better when a few sequences that looked really easy took me a long time to get correct ;).
It seems like Rachel is really good at working with a student and giving a little road map for how to progress after your lesson. Rachel talked to me about how to structure my practices so even working alone I can continue to make progress in my handling, gave me a rough time line for how long things should take, what she felt I should concentrate on and even a lot of tips about how to handle my running aframe, where I needed to be and how I needed to support the aframe while Cricket is still getting comfortable and settling into that.
All in all private lessons like that are really a luxury for me, esp at this time of the year.... To be very frank, I was not sure that doing a private lesson like that was the best use of my resources, but after I was done I really thought it was well worth it especially because that lesson sort of gave me a frame work for making sure I could keep making progress-and I have been a little stalled out lately, between my foot and just getting to a level where I was not sure where to go from here. I was really glad I did it, and in a few months I will probably go to Rachel's and take another lesson. I do not have any lessons I can take now, so I do save quite a bit of money because I do not have to pay for those, and I feel like by going to someone who has a handling system I really like, and having a lesson tailored to what my dog and I need, and being able to get help from someone with a handling system very similar to what I want to do ....it is not something I can do every day but it might be something to help us keep moving forward.
I have a lot of video, so I will am going to try to get some more posted, and I would like to post about my work on the aframe, so that will be coming in a day or two!