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Agility in the Park
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lil_shepherd
We were up at the crack of dawn on Sunday (5:00am) to get ourselves washed, clothed and sorted in time to be at the stables where the LLL train at 7am to get the equipment loaded up to transport it the five or so miles to where the show was taking place on the Chase nature reserve South of Romford.

Luckily, one of the members came towing a trailer, which took the fence wings and poles and the weave bases, the tyre and its stand, and the see-saw base. The plank for the see-saw went on the newly-fitted roof rack of another member's car, the tunnels were folded up and went into two boots (including ours.) The fencing, awning/tent and other gear was already loaded on the back of the trainer's camper van. So we set off in convoy, over the bumpy track that leads to the stables, then lots of road humps until we finally turned into the lane that led to the car park.

We had a number of dramas, particularly when we went too far down the lane and had to unhook the trailer and turn it by hand, then rehook it after the car towing it had turned, and we had to wait in the car park for someone to let us in.

It took us about an hour to set up, with the working dogs tethered

Tethered - except Lexy

or caged, plus a couple of extras one of our members were taking care of!

Not my dogs!

and a little later, fortified by bacon rolls, mushrooms and tea, we opened for business. Somehow or other, I found myself in charge of the cash box, getting people to fill in the forms for entry, noting their names and times on their certificates and their forms, and generally doing the paperwork. Once I got sorted, this wasn't difficult but we were on the go the entire time.

Come the demonstration, I put aside the paperwork and ran about putting up and taking down obstacles, grabbing my camera in between times. I can't say this worked very well but perhaps I can give you a flavour.

Border Collies are often the dog of choice for competition, but Breagh jumps for fun.

Breagh Goes Over

The weave is probably the most difficult thing to teach, but Pip shows how.

Weeeave!



The see-saw was the largest largest bit of equipment we took with us, and only used in the demo. Dogs have been known to fall off it. The most difficult thing is to teach the dog to find the balance point.

On the See-saw

Wait till you land

But we all can jump!

Over we go

Jump!

Max, the labrador/GSD cross, is coming back after injury

Max Jumping Again

Both dogs and handlers love the sport

Jumping for fun

Even Draco is good at this bit

Draco landing

Lexy will even strut her stuff for a young member of the audience

Flying Lexy


After an afternoon with a steady stream of visitors in all shapes and sizes from baby Border terriers to two giant Ridgebacks - one of whom had done agility before and scored the fastest time of the day - we finally got the chap who had been sitting watching us all day to run his rescue Jack Russell bitch around the course, then began the pack up. That took hours, after which we all returned to the stables (in two parties, because the person following us decided they had no idea where the leader - the car in front of us - was going and decided to double back), put away the gear, then made it back at about 7pm. It was a deeply satisfying day.

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Great action shots! I love doggies <3

Thank you for putting this up. The photos were fun, and make it clear how much enjoyment the dogs and owners have, but they also give me a much better idea of what's involved. Clearly not entertainment for someone who only wants a dog to go for a genteel stroll.

You wouldn't want to be setting all that up every weekend!

It was moving the stuff and staking out the boundary fence that were the real problems.

Val and Cathy set up a full course (including the dog walk and/or the A-frame as well as the see-saw) every week before the classes, then strip it down, as they use an indoor school which is ridden in every day.


Those are excellent photos and they really show how much fun everyone was having.

They're even more impressive to anyone who has tried taking photos of dogs moving at speed. I've tried taking photos of a friend's dog when they do agility practice, but he is so fast that I haven't had much success.

I don't take a camera to the practice sessions because it's indoors, I'd have to use flash, and it would disturb the dogs. (Not to mention it's so dusty that I would fear for my cameras.)

If I'd had nothing to do but take photos, these would have been rather better. As it was, it was stick on the long lens, set it to shutter priority at 1/250th and bang away, putting the camera down when I needed to rush out and lower fences or change the course.


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