The ground was finally dry enough for Belle to do some jumping. I downloaded a set of four exercises that Daisy Peel made available to her subscribers a few days ago, and spent a few days working on them in between DW practices. In addition to the course maps and handling suggestions, Daisy provided a video demonstrating her suggestions for running the sequences. (You can become a subscriber by going to Daisy's website.)
The exercises provide practice for blind crosses and Ketschker turns. The first time, I tried Exercise #1, I wasn't far enough ahead to get in the blind cross. The second and third times, I put it after the wrong jump. When I realized my error, I went out and did it the way Daisy suggested. It was ever so much easier to do the blind cross where she suggested, and it was as fast as our first run where I didn't do any change of sides.
In the first exercise, Daisy is able to go into the pinwheel and get in a blind cross two jumps later. However, the only way I could get the blind cross in was to stay out of the pinwheel pocket. Daisy wrote an article for this month's issue of Clean Run in which she discusses location cues. One of the location cues she writes about is for a pinwheel and the slippery slope of stopping on the take-off side of the first jump. Hmm, but I do that all the time, and Belle seems to understand when I want the pinwheel, when I want a wrap of the first jump and when I want her to do a 180. So I must be doing something that lets her know what I want.
The article really got me to thinking though and I decided to try Ashley Duncan's "Turn and Burn" course at Agility U. I may or may not agree with how he trains and/or cues his dog for turns, but it should provide a logical progression with which to work out my cues.
Just a little note about the exercises in the video. I wouldn't necessarily handle these sequences as suggested in a trial setting if for no other reason than if I tried to run so aggressively, I probably wouldn't make it to the finish line. However, the point of practice sequences is to try things that I wouldn't think of on my own and/or that are out of my comfort zone.