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Disabled Access

Making agility accessible

Following up on the Show Ground Reviews, first published on Agilitynet, the Disable Handlers Association has set down some useful guidelines for show organisers to use in assessing facilities accessibility for disabled handlers. They also compiled a list of agility show venues with information about the ground surface, toilets, parking and exercise area. Whist not comprehensive, it is a start and will be welcomed by  disabled handlers and those not so sure on their feet.

Here are some things to consider when assessing the needs of disabled handlers:-

  • Firm, level, well maintained ground, particularly in the rings

  • Optional forward/level parking/camping, if space allows.

  • Blue Badge holding handlers or handlers may need to regularly check the rings visually

  • Accessible toilets and exercise area

  • A network of tarmac roads across the showground

  • Keeping notices by the rings/secretaries office updated

  • Electric hook up where available

No show ground or show will ever be absolutely perfect. The current DHA favorite is The Royal Cornwall Showground at Wadebridge which is one of the reasons that the Best Overall Disabled Handler Trophy is being presented at the Kernow K9 Show in March 2008.

Ideally, disabled handlers should contact show secretaries before the entries closing date to discuss forward camping or specific access to rings. Other suggestions would include arranging for the lead to be given back to the handler rather than leaving it on the ground or, if appropriate, or starting with with an 'In your own time' and a simultaneous thumbs up, or stopping, in appropriate classes, with a whistle and thumbs down. 

Philippa Armstrong said, 'In our experience shows are generally getting it right and are very helpful where ever possible.'

For a list of some popular venues, though not by any means all, go to the DHA web site

Ring Philippa on tel. 01803 867074 or email  philippa.armstrong@lineone.net with your Show Ground experiences and/or Access Information and she will update this page.

First published 29/01/08