Closing Your Course

All too soon, this will be the view...

Time is flying so fast – it seems like just yesterday it was July, and now it’s October!  Time for those of us in the ‘cold zones’ to start thinking about bringing the agility equipment in, or at least batten it down!

How do you winterize your course?

  • Bring bars inside. If you’ve been meaning to do some decorating, bring your poles and bars inside to tape during the winter.  BONUS! Part of this month’s Insider deal combo is a set of tape – so many colors to choose from, for a great price! Get them while they last, and beautify your course.
  • Take stock. What do you have? Write it down and put it in your record book or agility journal so in the spring you’ll know where it is- or so you know what to ask for christmas :)!
  • Do repairs before putting it away.  Did your dog knock a fitting loose and you just haven’t fixed it? fix it now so it will not be lost in the spring.
  • Care for your Contacts. Now is also the time to recoat or repaint your obstacles if you’re going to do it- consider rubber coating if your A-frame’s looking a little weathered. If you cover a contact obstacle with a tarp for the winter, make sure water doesn’t just puddle and ruin your obstacle.
  • Check all metal for rust. If your obstacle has gotten rusty, sand it off and use rustoleum on it.  Store it where it won’t get wet.
  • Store it together. Try to keep obstacle pieces together as best you can.  Many times when you open your shed first thing in the spring you get PVC blind and have forgotten how everything goes together. It’s much easier if you keep things together to start with.
  • Tunnels do best if they’re brought in for the winter. Collapse them as small as they get, and use twine to keep it tight or store them in their bags.  Put it out of reach of rodents and bored dogs.
  • Decide what goes in the living room. No, really! You can’t just quit for the cold months. Figure out what equipment is unobtrusive and useful indoors.  My personal favorites are multitasking obstacles, or difficult obstacles. Conditioning obstacles are also a good idea.  Make sure it doesn’t take up so much space it overtakes your house, though.
  • Put all your ribbons away in a safe place. Not necessarily part of your course, of course, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to see them again, and it’s  very disappointing when ribbons have been crushed.  They’re very hard to get right again! (note: an iron set on its’ very lowest setting, on the ‘wrong’ side of the ribbon worked very well for me- or ironing through a moistened towel.)

Winterizing your course makes everything easier in the spring, when it’s time to set things back up, or even a big warm spell in January and you want to just get a few things out to work with.

2 Comments on “Closing Your Course

  1. I am glad I live in Texas and can do agility outside all year round. I would hate to have to quit during the winter months.

    • We don’t have to quit completely- but we do have to go inside! 🙂 Some of us are lucky enough to have big houses, or know where there is an indoor ring of some sort.