I've made a habit of taking Orkan and his dinner out to the grid outside our house almost every day lately. When we started the jumping techniqhe training some months ago, he did really well. We focused on basic grids, progressive grids and after a while we started working on distance evaluation. That was when the problems started. He didn't seem to bother to adjust his stride if the last jump (distances 4/4/8-12) was a bump, so I tried making it look a bit more difficult. That didn't work at all, and I started to wonder if he found the exercise too difficult, but that didn't really make sense either. Hence frustration.
The handling course starts next week, and I really wanted him to be confident and happy with jumping bars (the handling I've done so far has been done with bumps only) before that. I'm not planning on having him jump competition height or anything that soon, but having to change the bars for bumps etc would be a downside, and it would be a shame if the handling training got to ruin his jumping style because I started too difficult stuff too early, but after working on this every day since our driveway got dry enough to make it possible, it's looking a lot better! I'm not really sure what made the difference, but I know where to go from now.
Today we worked in set-up based on a distance grid: bump - 4 feet - 10 cm bar - 4 feet - bump - 10 feet - jump. That last jump started out being just a bump, and with every repetition I changed it, until we finally had bars on 35 cm in addition to various confusing bars and a bump to make it look bigger than it really was.
In order to make it as little difficult as possible (building confidence first of all, but still having him cope with the height) I didn't vary the distance to the last jump like you normally do with a distance grid. That could cause some trouble with his distance evaluation since you're supposed to change the distance with every repetition, so I need to go back and work on that as soon as possible. This has in some ways been doing things in the opposite order, there is only one thing that can really mess up these exercises (according to Vappu Alatalo), and that's height on an early stage. Orkan really is on an early stage, so I'm compromising with that to get him ready for sequencing, and I was't really sure if this was the right thing to do. But now, with one week left of jumping technique before the sequencing starts, I have plenty of time to focus on distance, collection and some one jump. We're back on schedual!
Now for some other stuff. Sigurd has gone to Horten to visit his best friend who studies in Bergen (almost a day of driving away from here), so they don't meet very often. He took Bris and Storm, so Orkan and I are home alone most of the time. My mother is visiting, that is she's sleeping here while she works in Oslo this week, so I have some human company as well, but all day Orkan and I get to play agility, read books, chew on carrots (not stolen by Bris) and chase flies.
We love it! (Yes, I miss you Sigurd.)