Thursday morning (early) I headed down to A Click Above in Leesburg VA. I have known these guys a while, in fact it is Drifter's birthplace! He always loves visiting "Nana" as he gets fussed over. I taught a mini-clinic, then did some privates in the afternoon. I found that my "Running contacts physics" talk goes pretty smoothly with white board illustrations (crude though they may be) to help show what I'm talking about. At night I got to run Seri in the Masters class, in which she did well, and then Friday morning I trained both Drifter and Seri on some full courses on their nice new turf for a while before heading home. We've been told "backsides of jumps are in fashion" overseas and so I am preparing for it. Drifter had some good moments. I was pleased to get on full equipment since 2 times now in the last month Drifter's had a bit of an odd striding on the DW, so we worked just a little bit on that (some old fashioned toy placement and driving forward was enough to work out the kink).
We ran 3 courses. The first 2 I hit a few very minor snags, mostly just Drifter reverting to his old tendency to move and look away from me when I drive forward, but with a few tries we did well. The 3rd course was the most difficult, and we nailed it on the first try, so i quit, happy. Tomorrow we have another chance to train on full equipment after I teach a couple privates, and while I don't normally train so much, i feel like it's needed, so we will do it.
Strafe is doing very well, and in fact has a short video showing off what he can do on tiny jumps already. He is very natural so far about following my handling around. I do like to do some short jumps with youngsters, because I feel that a bar on the ground doesn't make them think hard enough about actually centering their stride over it - they can step over it in any part of their galloping stride. I use 6" jumps right now. I feel that is high enough that he has to judge his takeoff spot a little bit, but low enough that it will do no harm to him to jump them once every week or two (he is about 19" tall now). I do like to work on handling with pups so that it becomes ingrained early on, and I am not trying to teach handling basics at the same time as the dog is figuring out how to get his body over full height jumps. Once he is over a year or 14 months i will begin to raise the jumps to full height and work on single jumps more often. You'll notice in the video we don't do many straight lines - I do not wish to encourage a flat, wild jumping style. I want him to work out to turn and drive and follow me while also lifting slightly over a bar.