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Never would I have believed that a padded floor could be close to turf regarding its positive effects on joints, but as the saying goes, never say never. The agility facility at On The Run Canine Center in Ham Lake MN proved me wrong when my dogs and I experienced running on their Comfort King foam mat floor. Its anti-fatigue and shock resistant properties are the best I’ve experienced on any mat, and I like it better than some turf floors.
The trial was hosted by St. Croix Valley Kennel Club on June 23-25, 2017. The club is an all breed club focused mostly on conformation, but have taken on agility too. Marjana Callery was the smiling trial chair, and she did an excellent job ensuring the trial ran like clockwork. She also shared a boatload of information with me about trialing in Minnesota. With all the opportunities here, I’d better visit more often!
Judge Katherine Rudolph gives in many ways
Katherine Rudolph was the judge on Friday, and she kindly gave up judging on Saturday and Sunday to oversee Michael H Teh and help him become a bonafide AKC judge! As many of you know, Katherine also founded Charge Against Cancer, an organization that has contributed significantly to the University of Wisconsin’s XXX. UW is making amazing progress in research, clinical trials, and bringing successful medications to market for the benefit of treating canines with cancer. Please consider a gift to Charge Against Cancer! What goes around, comes around, so help make that happen for this wonderful, giving lady.
Meet On The Run’s Owner, Michelle Schwartzbauer
The owner of On The Run, Michelle Schwartzbauer, also attended the trial. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with her. She purchased the facility in 2009 and hosts AKC, CPE, USDAA and ASCA trials there. Despite no air conditioning, she hosts 35 to 38 trials per year, runs lessons year round, and conducts occasional weekend seminars.
Keeping cool with partial A/C
While the crating rooms are air conditioned, fans are used to move the air in the agility ring side of the building – both on the ceiling and on the floor. “It stays cool enough most of the time,” Michelle said. “Due to the 2 foot thick concrete walls of the building, it takes a lot of heat before it effects the gym side. I could have installed the monster ceiling fans, but people want air on the floor where they are, so I bought about 20 floor fans instead.”
The floor, the floor, the floor
Michelle also described the Comfort King floor in more detail. “It has performed very well for us,” she said. “I did a lot of research before installing it, and will likely install it again when it reaches its end of life. Hopefully that’s a few years off yet. I get many calls about it from locations that are thinking about installing a new floor, Clean Run uses it at their facility and there’s another one I know of in Tucson.” As mentioned above, it is a great floor. I cannot wait to come back and trial more here, for many reasons, but also for the floor!
Purple and orange panels aren’t just for design
In addition to focusing on the floor, Michelle also did something about noise. She installed 2 inch thick acoustical wedge panels throughout the facility that are both functional and decorative. It sure helps — no sharp barks bouncing off the walls here! For my dogs and I, it made the trial environment much less stressful.
Great equipment, custom made
Equipment is also unique at On The Run. “My husband made most of it,” Michelle said. “Then he coated them with rubberized skins. “He’s a very handy guy!” I personally felt all of the equipment was great, with the exception of the table. It is a bit dangerous to change its height if you are not familiar.
Four-acre pond to swim
On The Run is anxious to stay on good terms with its neighbors and clearly posts signs outside as to where one can and cannot go. “You can even let your dogs swim in the pond if you like,” Michelle said. “It’s clean enough. Just stay on our side of the water. We have plenty of frontage.”
Overall, this location has a lot going for it. Great floor, equipment, crating space, parking space, even a clean pond for dogs to swim. It is one of the top locations in Minnesota that I’ve visited so far, so be sure to put On The Run on your list if you’re travelling this way.