“Nothing comes easy, ever, if you want something, you have to work for it. By working for it I mean work on your craft, learn from people who have something to teach. It’s just like anything else, practice makes perfect.” So says James Lafferty, and we all know actors are always right!

When I take a hiatus from anything then return, I don’t get it the way I did before the break and I sure don’t expect the dogs (or horses) to either. Yes Brody’s agility skills are pretty solid in his own way but I wouldn’t simply arrive at a trial and expect him to run as well as he did the last time we were out.

Sally loves to work, her work ethic is staggering in fact, but I don’t expect her to be at the level she was in the fall . All we’ve been able to work all winter are directional swings, and flat work. The rate winter is leaving us I’ll be lucky to get any weaves or jumping in before our first trial in May. If that were to happen I would not trial as sad as that would make me. I want to know she’s happy and safe on the equipment, fit enough (both physically and mentally) to be eager for the day, and that our lines of communication are working well.  Thanks to the early snow this has been the longest agility hiatus we’ve had (no lovely local indoor facility here in the middle of Lake Ontario) and I think it will prove to be good for us – as long as I carefully build back to where we were before adding new layers of challenge. 

There is a fine line between over drilling, getting it right, and not doing enough. I’m watching it happen with the horses at the barn I’m riding at too. A horse may sit in a a field for two weeks, be pulled in, worked hard once then tossed back out; another gets drilled every single without ever getting to stretch his top line or have a day off; and then a few seem to have the balance right. So many complexities in these team sports where we have responsibility for a partner.

This very young mare is getting a great balance of work and play