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2016 IFCS

More than 200 competitors from 16 countries met at the 9thy IFCS in the The Netherlands from 13th to 17th April. The venue was the Manege De Spreng, Priesnitzlaan 17, 6957 DD Laag-Soeren, the same venue that was used for the 2014 competition. Dawn Weaver reports on the 2016 IFCS.

We were very lucky to have the choice of many very talented dogs, and it was difficult to make a final decision. The 2016 GB Team was as follows: 

Maxi:

  • Angela Williams – Tiff

  • Becky Salisbury – Gadget

  • Michelle Drawwater – Kym

  • Tracy Runyeard – Rumba

  • Jen Lewis – Spud

  • Janet Thompson – Wish

  • Vanessa Morarino Lloyd - Taboo

Mini:

  • Sam Davies – Panda

  • Lian Knight – Sonic

  • Dawn Weaver - Vegas

Midi:

  • Angela Williams - Wild Ting

  • Kim Kraushar – Bubtee

  • Paul/Tracy Runyeard – Tizzy

  • Lauren Langman – Tiki

  • Dawn Weaver – Breezer

 Toy:

  • Dave Russell – Kyto

  • Tracy Ryan – Tink

  • Sarah Mclean – Kita

  • Sarah Prentice - Lily

  • Jeanette Jones – Mika

Team Chiropractor: Emma Fretwell

Most of the handlers paired up or travelled in groups over to The Netherlands. Several came by Eurotunnel who very kindly were our sponsors this year, whilst others took the ferry across. Some people even managed to post pictures of their dogs in their crates from live cameras! I arrived back into Paris from the USA after working out there over the winter so we drove through Europe.

Some of us arrived on Sunday or Monday and the team was finally complete on Tuesday evening. We stayed at the Fletcher Hotel, which was about five minutes away from the venue – a very handy and comfortable stay with woods to walk the dogs in right next door. On the Tuesday afternoon, we had the vet check and team training. The venue was an indoor arena with a good surface on sand.

The Competition
This year the courses were much trickier than normal. In some heights there were as few as five clear rounds! However, they were all fun to run and, in great team spirit, team members helped each other during walk throughs.

The competition opened officially on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremony. After that, the first run we had was the Agility Biathlon.

Despite it being a challenging course, we had several dogs in the top ten. In Toy height, Tink with Tracy Ryan came 6th and Kita with Sarah Mclean came 8th, and in Mini, Panda with Sam Davies came 8th. In Midi height, Breezer was 9th and a big congratulations to Lauren Langman who won Maxi height with Fiji in a time of 32.47!

The first class on Thursday was Snooker. It's an unusual class which can take a little getting your head around. Once you've gone through the Start Jumps, the timer is live and it's all go. First you must find a red jump, then find a colour. Then it's red-colour-red-colour again before completing the closing sequence. Some colours are worth more points than others but beware - if you take two colours or two reds in a row then you're out! Usually, you'd aim for your colours to be black (worth 7 points each) but we quickly realised that in this course, it wasn't possible to do in the time, so there was a quick change of plan amongst the GB ranks and again, we gained some good places with Kita in 8th place in Toy and Taboo in 6th in Maxi.

In the afternoon, it was into the fun of teams with the Jumping Team Triathlon course, the first team course of three.

The Individual Agility and Individual Jumping rounds took place on Friday. There was great excitement in the British camp when Lauren Langman's Tiki took the Silver medal on the Agility course in a time of 33.75. Well done Lauren on such a fantastic run! Then later in the Jumping, little Kyto the Papillion, one of our tiniest dogs on the team, came 9th. What a brave and determined little character!

Gamblers was the first class of Saturday. Like Snooker, the rules can be somewhat tricky to get to grips with! It has an opening sequence where the obstacles are worth a set number of points but can be done in any order. Then, on the whistle, it's a quick dash to the 'gamble'. To be achieved, the handler must stay on the far side of the gamble line and the dog must use his distance skills to complete the gamble successfully and quickly in the given time. In this course, achieving the gamble doubled your points so it was all to try for! Sometimes, like on this year's Gamblers Course, there are mini gambles that can be completed in the opening for extra points. The very competitive Russians all seemed to be going for these!

In the afternoon, it was back to the fun of teams. The Agility Team Triathlon was an extremely challenging course with competitor after competitor from all around the world getting caught out at at least one of the several traps en route! It wasn't enough to catch Vegas out though. His phenomenal round earnt him first place in a time of 42.33. He left the ever-present Russians lagging behind in 2nd and 3rd place by two seconds! What a result! Also in Mini, Lian's Sonic did a fantastic round and was placed 8th. It was a double success for the Toy clan, too. Both Kita and Kyto mastered the course brilliantly, with Kita coming in 4th place.

On Sunday, the final morning of the competition, the Jumping Biathlon course was set and got underway with the Minis running first, followed by the Toys, in which Kita came 7th. Combined with her Agility result, this earnt her the Biathlon Bronze medal! Then later in the morning, Taboo and Vanessa showed us how it was done with a super run at Maxi height and achieved 7th place.

The final class was the 3 Dog Team Relay and one of Great Britain's teams were lying in 4th before they went in. It didn't quite come off on this occasion, but they had a great time trying.

Before long, it was the Closing Ceremony, a chance to wrap everything up and celebrate the competition. The final ceremony recognised the judges and all the volunteers as well as the competitors and the atmosphere was great. It was a nice chance for the team to enjoy each other's successes and unforgettable experiences they'd had over the past five days!


Lauren Langman on the Podium


Kita showing off her Bronze


Dave and Kyto embracing the IFCS tradition of shirt swapping with other countries. Canada on this occasion!

GB Results Round Up

  • Lauren Langman with Tiki - Silver in Individual Agility

  • Sarah Mclean & Kita - Bronze in the Biathalon

  • Dave with Kyto - highest placed overall for Great Britain.

Overall Medal Standings
Team Russia dominated the podium this year, demonstrating consistency throughout the week with strategising courses and training and balancing handling technique with trust in their dogs to perform through tight situations without handlers close proximity guidance. This was the winning formula for most medalists, regardless of country.

Country

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Russia

18

11

17

46

Canada

4

2

3

9

Italy

1

5

1

7

USA

1

3

1

5

The Netherlands

0

1

2

3

UK

0

1

1

2

Belgium

0

1

0

1

Finland

1

0

0

1

Japan

0

1

0

1

Congratulations to all medalists!

Final thanks to our sponsors & Emma Fretwell
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful sponsors once again - Eurotunnel for providing support with transport to and from the UK, Back on Track for providing coats for all of the dogs on the team and Klassy Canine Bakery (our very own FAB biscuit bakers!) for providing the lovely goody bags. Thank you also to our sponsors Dogchester, GoGo Treats, Xtra Dog Harnesses and Collar n Coat. All of the support was truly appreciated.

I would also like to thank StreamZ for asking Breezer to trial one of their collars. Breezer had previously been retired as she is nine years old and doing 26in jumps her whole career had taken its toll. However, since wearing the collar over the winter, she found a new lease of life and returned to her former fitness. This allowed her to step in at the last second for Team GB after another dog had to pull out with injury. By Day 5, far from being tired, she was positively raring to go and somewhat hard to control in her final run! Overall, she came 9th - what an achievement for a nearly 10 year old dog on the world stage.

Information about IFCS Qualifiers for IFCS 2017
All of the 2016 FAB shows have qualifiers at them for IFCS 2017in Valencia, Spain the last week of April, and they are open to everyone! Why not try out for next year's team and the opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime? Or enter just for fun and the practice at the courses? Either way, we look forward to seeing you all at FAB over the coming months!

About the author...
Dawn Weaver handles differently to most in that she believes that handlers should be using the dog's handling system rather than a set system designed by a person for the dog to learn.

Three of her dogs have become Agility Champions, including Puzzle who is the only Papillion ever to have become a UK Agility Champion. Her dogs have won every event at Crufts plus many World Championship medals for Great Britain.

Dawn is also an accomplished author, having published two agility training manuals to date. Her latest book, To Run Or Not To Run, is the long-awaited manual to Dawn’s renowned running contacts and her fast, accurate stopped contacts too.

She has had many recent successes in the USA and has taught extensively in the USA, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden to name but a few. Predominantly she is currently based in the UK throughout the summer months and the USA during the winter.

First published 13 June 2016