From the ADAA Chair … April 2010

CathyThe ADAA Board is always looking for ways, within our resources, to improve what we offer to members. Huge congratulations to Marion Allen on her major coup in securing exclusive use of the AELEC (Australian Equine and Livestock Equestrian Centre), located in Tamworth, for the Grand Prix 1-4 October 2010. This venue is a huge, almost brand new, under cover equine centre (a $45 million facility) totally eliminating any issues that may result from being at the mercy of the weather. The flooring will not be grass, but a compacted, wetted and rolled clay-dirt mix, with the venue equipped with machinery to prepare the flooring to our requirements (machinery on hand for touch ups as needed). It is different to what everyone is accustomed to, so an outside dressage arena will be prepared, with identical floor preparation, for practice. All three Rings will be under the same roof, Rings 1 and 2 in the main arena and Ring 3 in the adjoining smaller arena. Both arenas are surrounded by grand stand seating with a mezzanine level above that; perfect for viewing all rings, so no ringside gazebos to worry about. Dogs can be crated here with you while you watch the fun, if this does not suit you or your dog(s), there are plenty of undercover areas out of the building for your dog’s day camp zone.

There is a large camping area and plenty of amenities/facilities for those staying onsite, as well as horse wash bays should your dog need a bath. The entire camping area is secure from public vehicular access, making this a secure venue. Marion is currently investigating onsite caravan hire; so this may suit some better than tenting or towing, or even local cabins/accommodation. The camping zone is a short walk to the undercover arenas and on-site cafe/catering will be available throughout the weekend.

Results from the events will be displayed and scroll on large LCD screens. Prize distribution and prize giving will happen in the Centre on mezzanine level. We hope to have the schedule released in a couple of weeks as soon as we can finalise all the details. So it looks worth the trip to this Boot Scooting Country Agility Weekend.

It is heartening to see Members utilising the newly introduced (at our January Regulation change) Not For Competition (NFC) rounds. NFC allows you to run your own course/sequence, reward your dog (with a tug reward as long as you don’t let go) and/or leave the Ring with your dog at the time of your choice. Of course, you can take the opportunity in NFC to get as much ring/equipment time as possible (ie up to the Standard Course Time set). In other cases you may wish to take a strategic view of the opportunity and have a plan or goal to work on one or two specific aspects – whether that’s your start line stay, a particular obstacle (eg getting your dog to complete the dog walk in competition conditions to your satisfaction) or speed with your dog, and then leave the course – or even whether you start with your reward in your hand, or bring it out at some point along the course. When you are running NFC, and especially if you have a specific goal that will see you out of the ring well below the SCT, try to let the person after you know you are going to run NFC – they may not see you signal the Judge. Don’t forget to leave the ring expeditiously once the SCT is completed (and the horn/whistle sounds).

None of us would be where we are without the help of many many others. In particular, ADAA is successful because of lots of help from lots of people. There are some, like myself, who are very visual. We also have a hard-working Board of Directors, some of whom are better known than others and a team of Judges who regularly give so much of themselves, sacrificing their own opportunities for others. Then we have all of the affiliated clubs/groups that train members and/or run ADAA competitions. All of these clubs have committees, instructors and members who contribute an awesome amount of effort and time. Then we have quite a number of Members who (pretty much silently) undertake a whole bunch of activities/tasks for ADAA to be able to function as cheaply and effectively as it does. We should never take for granted all of the work all of these people do, so I encourage you to regularly take a moment to express your appreciation.

As many of you know, during February this year, I hosted Lynda Orton-Hill in Australia for Agility workshops held in Qld and Victoria. What a privilege and learning journey that was for me. Of course all of the skills and technical aspects Lynda has to teach are important (every session, no matter the topic, I walk away thinking I’ve learnt something absolutely critical). What I started with Lynda, which has evolved in the month since (with help from Lynda, Porsche, Toni Lynch, and others), was a journey of learning where I opened my heart and mind to the possibilities, both explainable and inexplicable. Sounds a bit “mufty flufty” I suppose, but it’s an awesome feeling when it comes together. It’s only since I’ve done that, I have realised that our “state of mind” has a much more far-reaching effect on our dog training outcomes than I ever previously imagined. I do think this is one of the lessons that Porsche came into my life to share with me. So, if you find you are struggling with a particular aspect with your dog, it may be time to sit back and have a look at your training “plan” (mmmm do you have a training plan?). Is it a whole picture of you and your dog encompassing fitness, diet, health and well-being (all of these apply to both of you), relationship building, obstacle skills and handling skills? Where are the holes? Then take a deep breath and look deep inside yourself at your fears and insecurities, and consider whether or not these are what are holding you back?

May you enjoy your training with your dog and achieve your goals.

Cathy Slot
ADAA Chair