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Barbados Revisited

     Supporting agility dogs with specialist lifetime cover

More rum, sea and sand

It was with a heavy heart and great reluctance that early one February morning Kathrin Tasker left a wet, windy and snow ridden England - and all the nice people in it - to spend three weeks in Barbados! Having been there the previous year to help them launch agility, she was curious to see how they had progressed. And she was also to judge at their first agility show/come fun day.

The first week we were treated to a holiday at a beach house a few feet from the sea at the famous platinum coast, and we had a fabulous time. The rum was 'frowing fleely' and the week kicked off with a beach party where we met a lot of the agility members from Barbados. The last two weeks I had to knuckle down to serious training in the evenings as it is too hot during the daytime.

It was great to see some new members and amongst them two Border Collies. A long suffering husband of one of the agility members had made six beautiful new jumps which was a great improvement on some of the jumps we had used last year. The club had planned an agility show for this year in order to raise some funds to buy some more equipment.

I found it very hard to teach the dogs to do the contact equipment. With all the knowledge of safety and injury risk to dogs we now have in this country, my conscience would almost not let me train the dogs over the contact equipment, as I would not have run my own dogs over it.  However the Bajans were unaware of this and it is very difficult to tell them without upsetting them and curbing their enthusiasm for the sport. And enthusiastic they were! They listened to every word and some of them took things too literally!

One lady  named Sue was working a small crossbreed. She kept running, bent over and I did not seem to be able to get across to her that she needed to stand up more to run her dog, in order to avoid permanent hunchback syndrome and also to avoid getting lost! In the end, I told her to imagine she was wearing a coat hanger across her shoulders. 

The next day she came and was running very upright and extremely stiff! I told her to relax a little, chill out - have another rum! - and run normally. When I saw her back view, she had... yes, you guess it... a metal coat hanger tied to her, with the sharp bit pointing dangerously towards her head ! I made her take it off and jokingly said: 'You would have been better tying your pony tail to your sweatshirt!” I shouldn’t have said that! The next day she was running even stiffer, - pony tail tied to shirt!

 That’s how hard they tried!

It is not very often that shows get cancelled in this country due to rain or floods, is it? You will not believe this! In Barbados, where the sun always shines, the temperature is always in the 30s or above and where they had planned their first show, great excitement, lots of preparation, massive advertising, fantastic judge what was the weather forecast for the day...a tropical rainstorm.

They cancelled the show, the forecasters had got it wrong and the brilliant judge got to spend the day on the beach!

Famous last words
I was often lying on the beach, thinking back on when we started agility in England and when I was treated as a 'traitor', having left obedience for agility.

My then obedience instructor said to me: 'It is only people who are no good at obedience who do agility and agility will not last five minutes.'

Well, here I was lying on the beach, trying to work out how the hell to teach a 'blind turn' to Barbadian Dane with his Border Collie Wayne! 

I had a great time in Barbados. Am I going back there?

Try and stop me!