Back Pain

I really didn’t want to go to agility class on Saturday. My sciatica is acting up and the exercises I do to relieve the pain are not working … they’d work if I would do them on a regular basis, which I don’t. I should be doing a regular program of exercises: aerobic and stretching, and one day I’m going to pay for not doing it, at least not regularly.

I should be doing a lot of things that I don’t.

I did go to class. The puppy class went really well. Fern went almost the entire hour-long class, which is a lot for a less than five month old puppy. She’s doing everything the other puppies in the class are doing, even though she’s younger than all of them. I almost didn’t do Gel’s class because my back was giving me a lot of trouble. It feels like there’s a knife digging into the right hand side of my lower back, but I did. The course that was set was evil, absolutely evil. It made me realize two things: I need to work weave entries every week; and I need to work on threadles and serpentines which I hate. It is no accident that the first title I got with Gel in USDAA was Gambler’s. His distance skills are very good; getting him to come in close, that’s hard for him.

So, this week, our training will be what Meagan calls the Circle of Death: six jumps set in a circle so I can practice the handling I need to manage threadles and serpentines. I think threadles and serpentines should be outlawed, but that’s just my opinion. I can do the same exercises with Fern without any bars set.

Okay, I admit it, I spent a good part of the day today tooling around on the ATV. It was so much fun and I know the dogs enjoyed it too. We went down to the river several times. I did get a long walk in this morning with them. Was I ever excited to see that my landlord mowed the back field where the sheep were lost in, remember, the one with brush that was over my head? It’s so pretty mowed.

I worked Gel on sheep off the ATV and it went well. I worked on driving and it was particularly nice that the sheep couldn’t get away from either of us. Usually when I set them up for a drive, the sheep say, you want us to go, okay, we’ll go: much quicker than I can keep up with. Without fences, it’s hard to keep them from bolting off. They are lambs after all, this doesn’t happen on the adult sheep, but the adult sheep are over at Wally’s. With the ATV, when the sheep took off, I went with them and kept Gel in contact with them. After a while, they slowed up and we got some good driving work in. After that work-out, we went down to the river so the dogs could cool off. I kept an eye on the sheep as they were drifting up towards the top of the field I left them in. When we got out of the river, I sent Gel on what was at least a 300 yard, if not more, outrun. It was picture perfect. He kept far enough out so the sheep didn’t move until he lifted them. He stopped right on balance and lied down until I asked him up. While he was heading out, I moved forward on the ATV so the sheep wouldn’t have to run the whole distance down to me.

I put my contact trainer together and set it up in the back room (which, in a normal house, would be the family room) and I plan to work on contacts with Fern later on, if my back cooperates, which it may not. Both dogs are down and out: a tired Border Collie is a good Border Collie. In fact, I think I may have run them a bit too much today, Gel seems a bit sore. Fern didn’t run the whole time, I picked her up and carried her on the ATV during a good part of our runs.

It was unseasonably warm today. As I write this at 6:30 PM, it’s in the mid-60’s. Not too bad for January. On my maiden run on the ATV which was Friday night, I almost frozen my hands off it was so cold!