Experiences of a late-comer to the agility competition scene -- our training, trials, life-style changes/challenges, RV adventures, and observations on the sport, the people, and dogs involved in it. Begun July 17, 2010.
Since I've paid my "field fees" for the year, I've discovered a few problems with that system that I never noticed before. Here's the problem: the field needs mowing every week during the summer months so all the equipment needs to be removed to the sidelines. A-Frames are very heavy and require 4 people to move them, Dog-Walks, SeeSaw's and the larger tunnels require 2. Agility classes are only held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, SOOOOOOOOO, it makes sense for the Wednesday night students to move the equipment off the field after class. BUT , THEEEEEEEN, if the field isn't mowed til Saturday (and I don't know when it's mowed), people like me who envisioned going out to the field late Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday or Saturday to practice, don't have anything to practice on.
Here's a photo of our field, by the way, which I took a few years ago for the LCCOC website. It's actually several photos stitched together.
LCCOC Agility Field, Baton Rouge, LA
The main benefit I anticipated to using the field is that a full course is usually set up there on Saturday night and stays up for a whole week. My own back yard is plenty big enough (about 40' x 80') to set up shorter exercises for specific skills, but I also need practice running full courses which require 100' x 100'. As John pointed out, it appears the field is only available about half the days I thought it would be.
In the fall and winter, this won't be a problem because the mowing schedule is cut way back. But for summers, it is.
I spoke to Nedra about this last night by phone, and she agreed it is a problem. She gave me the name of the two men who mow and suggested I call them for a schedule. I emailed Bill who wrote back and said there is no schedule. Ask Loralie. Nedra further suggested I could go out and set up exercises that don't include the heavier equipment, and put the jumps back along the fence line when I'm done. Unfortunately, that's a lot of work and far to drive to train my dogs for 15 minutes! And like I said, I can set up short exercises in my own back yard.
Sheryl and I talked this over and agreed we should, and could start helping Nedra set up the courses on Saturday night -- her usual time for setting up, and maybe we can even set the courses up ourselves right after a mowing, before Saturday, if we were given a course map. Nedra really liked that idea. She has to be tired of doing this all herself, every Sat night, all these years.
Til now, I never thought about how the courses got set up. When you only attend supervised classes, the equipment is "just out there". Pay field fees, and all of a sudden you get a whole new perspective, and more responsibility. Darn if I don't have to learn something new every day!