LOW 550 Scotland is a Jumping Cup competition for handlers wishing to compete in a prestigious qualifier at the same height as the Lower Height Option at KC Agility tests. This Special sponsored event is open to all dogs in the Large height category (i.e. measuring over 430mm at the withers) and with hurdles set at 550mm. The organisers are the same people who are doing the 4th Height Jumping Cup and the LOW 550, with the addition of a Scot to help out locally. All all are 4th Height Supporters.
LOW 550 Scotland gets Underway at Gleniffer
The first qualifying heat took place at Gleniffer DTC on Saturday, 4th September, over a fabulous, flowing course designed by Judge Aileen Darling. Here is her report.
I judged the LOW 550 Scotland qualifier at Gleniffer Show on Sunday, 4th September. Grades 1-7 were all competing over the same course, although results were split into two parts for G1-4 and G5-7, so I designed a flowing course with choices available for handling the turns. The course distance was 145 metres and course time 45 seconds.
The main area of concern and causing faults was round the back of jump 5. Some handlers pushed round the left wing which did appear to flow better for their dog's stride. Others front crossed after 4 and collected the dog to push round the right wing of 5. This generally worked well but affected the line to 7 more, and there were faults here with some dogs back jumping.
There were choices on the line taken for the last obstacles as well, and I saw some lovely blinds to 18 after the tunnel.
The winning dogs at both grade combinations had fantastic runs. The Grade 1-4 winner was Debbie Prince with Poppy, a lovely petite Labrador have been doign well at Agility and lower height definitely suited her. See their story below.
The Grade 5-7 winner was Helen Smith with Ice, an older collie I know to be winding down to possible retirement soon. Again the LHO really worked for him, flying round and I’m sure I heard more than one enthusiastic bark as he went! Another stand out run was Joanne Orrell who came 4th with an amazing example of distance handling.
The four qualifiers are:-
I thoroughly enjoyed judging the class and wish all the qualifiers the best of luck for the final next year.
With many thanks to sponsors SMART Clinic, Fiona Turnbull, Mary McKie, Train in The Ring and Tracey Kirkpatrick.
Poppy (Highfield Princess) is my small, black working Labrador who turned six years old this summer. She is the first dog I've had since I was a small child and she is my first agility dog. We started out in Obedience and she won out of Pre-Beginners and qualified for the Semi-Final of the Good Citizens Scheme. Poppy also acts as a working gundog during the winter months.
We started agility in 2012 with lots of eliminations! We have both been on a steep learning curve since then and won into Grade 3 in 2014. For the last two years Poppy, has continued to develop and do well, regularly placed in the top 10 in Grade 3 and also winning the ABC Crufts CG 1-5 Agility at SKC this year, thus qualifying for the Semi-Final at Discover Dogs in October. Poppy has also achieved her KC Gold Agility Warrant this summer, as well as plenty of 2nd places in Agility but just not that elusive win.
I was planning to put her up on points at the end of this season. Then the opportunity to run her at LHO at Gleniffer show came up, so I decided that I would give it a go because, although she copes with the Large 650mm height - she has a big leap in her - she is really quite a wee dog!
Call me a geek but I like to record her achievements and the details of runs which include speed. Interestingly I found that her ground speed at LHO was not faster! In fact, in one or two runs she appeared slower (judged this by looking at places awarded to FH dogs with whom she is nearly always several seconds faster than....and they were faster than her!). However, particularly on the Sunday, I felt that although not faster she seemed more confident with turns around wings. We had a lovely run in a David Hudson’s Graded 3-5 agility class and I was hoping for a nice place with that run. To my amazement we won the class!!! There were only 8 clears in Grade 3, she won by 5 seconds and also was faster than the placed Grade 4 dogs. I did wonder if I should feel guilty about the win but given the rest of the results feel quite justified to have won. I was so happy. Our next run was in the CG1-4 part of the LOW 550 Scotland Jumping Cup qualifier, and we just went in and had a ball! She was turning tightly and looked really happy. Another nice run... and to my complete astonishment we WON that, too!
Despite winning out at LHO, I don’t believe the height made a difference to her ground speed, just to her confidence, as illustrated by the table below. Note that in all runs when Poppy has a faster speed, so does the winner – indicating a faster course. Averages show that Poppy is consistently slower than the winner but not by much and when comparing with the LHO figures (albeit there is a need for more runs for a true comparison) it is interesting to note that her average speed for agility is slower at LHO and jumping only marginally faster.
The table shows Poppy’s speed over courses this season. Only clear runs where I have managed to note the course length are included.
Runs at Large Full Height
Gleniffer DTC – Lower Height Option
* Indicates a winning run
About the Low 550 Competition
LOW 550 Scotland is a Jumping cup competition for handlers wishing to compete in a prestigious qualifier at the same height as the Lower Height Option at KC Agility tests. This Special sponsored event is open to all dogs in the Large height category (ie measuring over 430mm at the withers) and hurdles are set at 550mm.
Five qualifying heats will be held around the country, each one split into two parts for Combined Grades 1-4 and Combined Grades 5-7. All dogs will run over the same course and shows have the option of running the parts together or separately. The top two dogs and handlers from each part will qualify for a similarly split Final taking place at Tweedbank DTC Open Agility Show on 24th - 25th June 2017 at Springwood Park, Kelso, Scottish Borders TD5 8LS.
Chris Garrett Ralphs explained the back story. 'We had one heat of the LOW 550 to allocate to Scotland. We were completely oversubscribed with applications and thought we would try to organise a qualifier just for Scotland - hence the five heats and the Final (with the overall winners representing Scotland in the main LOW 550 Final in 2017. Extra funding for LOW 550 Scotland came from within the enthusiastic Scottish agility community.
Entries are high for the first heat, so there is much to look forward to, and Scotland have always been very supportive of a jump height at 550mm.'
The overall winners of each part in the Final will also qualify to represent Scotland at the Final of the LOW 550 National Jumping Cup at Prestbury Park Championship and Premier Agility Show in September 2017, at Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire.
Introducing the LOW 550 Scotland Sponsors ...
Train in the
'Suina Victoria Rogers said, We are now proud to support and sponsor the LOW 550 Scotland Jumping Cup and honoured to hold a qualifier at our KC show in September! Embrace change.'
See more on the Train in the Ring website:http://www.traininthering.co.uk/
Sadly my 13 year old smaller Large has missed out on this qualifier (as well as LHO), but hopefully the lower height we are now able to choose will benefit my Sprollie, now six and a half, for many years to come.
Having a dedicated qualifier for this height I believe gives it more kudos. I think it is wonderful that Scotland is getting its very own qualifier, so I have been only too happy to sponsor a heat of this event.'
We are supporting lower height jumping because we love dog agility, and because we are happy for handlers to have this option if they feel the dog will benefit from and enjoy his or her agility even more at this height.
Tracey Kirkpatrick & Co Accountants are a small dedicated accountancy practice located in the heart of the Scottish Borders providing a personalised service to business owners and individuals. They can be found on Facebook: @TKAccountants, websitewww.tk-accountants.co.uk.