Spring Mini-Tour (6 of 6)

This is one of a six-part series documenting my spring 2016 mini-tour from my house outside of Sanger, Texas to Wichita Falls, Texas. My route consisted mainly of gravel and dirt roads, and I covered about 130 miles over 2.5 days. Although this was a “credit card tour” which included meals and lodging purchased along the way, I did bring my coffee gear and had a roadside lunch on the second day. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, there were no towns or services along my route on the second day, and secondly, I’m a coffee snob. Documentation will be mainly in the form of photographs with a few captions or comments to relay something that might have caught my interest.

The series will be presented in six themes; (1) Flora and Fauna, (2) Roads and Rambles,(3) Little Texas Towns, (4) Classic Cars, (5) Lunch Outside, and (6) A Dog Agility Trial.

1

PART SIX OF SIX – A DOG AGILITY TRIAL

The plan to meet up with Mrs. Pondero and watch  part of the dog agility trial was a great excuse for a mini-tour. I think we both like it when we can combine our respective hobbies in a way that allows us to spend time together. I enjoy watching her run the dogs. The only thing I know how to do is pedal a bicycle. But she knows deep secrets of animal behavior and can somehow teach these dogs to do things they would not naturally be inclined to do, and have a great time doing it. The other reason I like to attend these events occasionally is that I am reminded that bicycling aficionados are not the only geeky odd folks out there.

2

I arrive at the agility trial venue. I can pedal a bike, and stand around and watch stuff.  Big deal.

3

The area includes a dirt floor, and there are two separate areas in which courses will be set-up…and re-set-up for different types of runs throughout the day. There are obstacle course paraphernalia and dog crates everywhere.

4

A slightly closer view of one of the courses. There is a wide variety of obstacles (jumps, tunnels, A-frame, an elevated dog walk, teeter, weave poles, hanging “tires”, fabric chutes, etc.).  Each run is unique and the dog has no advance awareness or practice on that particular course. The dog is entirely dependent on the handler to guide it through the course. The handler does “pre-walk” the course in advance.

5

Mrs. Pondero putting on her game face?

6

Or maybe simply socializing.

7

Ah…this must be game face time. She’s got Ferris Bueller there with her. Maybe a pep-talk?

8

What dogs do between runs. Ferris Bueller (lower right corner) and Oliver share a crate this time.

9

Bad photos. I’ve got my camera on “auto” because that’s how I roll. But a manual camera adjustment for low light and the speed of the competitors is what is needed. I wish I knew how to do that.

The photo above show Ferris coming off the teeter. He runs up the opposite end, crosses the balance point, rides the teeter down to the ground, and dismounts. Training required.

10

Ferris runs the weave poles. Dogs are supposed to always enter the weave poles with the first pole on the left shoulder.

11

Ferris dismounting the A-frame. Some dogs aren’t too keen on climbing this thing, but Ferris flies up and over the top like is the greatest fun.

12

Ferris rockets out of the tunnel and attacks the dog walk. Because it is narrow and elevated, it takes a fair amount of work to make some dogs comfortable with this obstacle. I don’t think Ferris was ever too bothered about it.

Above is a video that shows Ferris running a jumps and weave course (no A-frame or dog walk). He made a mistake that caused him not to “qualify” or be eligible for a ranking. Dogs that run the course correctly qualify for ranking, and the fastest dog wins.

…and finally, here’s a video that shows handler doing the “zombie walk”. Dog agility people are truly odd folks.

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