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South West Winter Finals

The best of the South West...

Andrew Bloomfield's SW Winter Finals Report

My name is Andrew Bloomfield and I am based in Wiltshire. I compete my four year old Springer Spaniel X Working Beagle Chip (Chippychoo) under UK Agility rules. Last year he escaped from my car at Dowtys and stole four iced buns from someone's car, so he is also known as 'The Iced Donut Thief' in UKA Circles.

On 19th November 2017, we won the Novice Steeplechase Qualifier at Agility Rocks, held at Leyland Court Farm in Bristol. That meant we had earned a place In the Beginners/Novice Steeplechase Semi Final at the inaugural UKA South West Winter Finals to be held at World Horse Welfare in Somerton, Somerset.

The Semi Final
Our first task on the day was to try and qualify for the Final in the afternoon. Only the top eight dogs from each height qualified to compete in the final. During the course walk which lasted 10 minutes, doubts started to creep into my mind as to whether we were good enough.

We had a long wait as we were the very last dog of the very last height to run of the Semi Final. I set my boy up on the start line he was as anxious as I was. Off we went. The run started smoothly and we were away. Chip took all the jumps in order but, at the top tunnel on the second circuit, he took a tumble. We lost three seconds but he got up and moved on as if he knew we had time to make up. He was foot perfect to the line and we qualified for the final 7th fastest.

We would be the second dog to run in the final with the fastest dog last to run. I was thrilled, if not astounded, that we had made it through.

The Final
Course walking began at 16.45pm. The final began at 17.00pm. Therefore, I made sure that Chip was well warmed up before hand as that is key to his performance. My sister kept him warm whilst I walked the course.

This course looked fine. Fast flowing all on the left hand with a trap of a tunnel at a slight angle. It was doable.

The first dog ran and was eliminated after taking the tunnel on the inner course that was the trap. I knew I had to make sure that I got him past it.

I lined up Chip. It was time to do a running start to get some speed into him. That usually works. He started fine. By the time he got to Jump 6, he was flying,

Then suddenly, being half a working Beagle, his nose hit the floor and ran past the 7th obstacle.  5 faults gained.

The win was out of the question now. It was a case of damage limitation to get the best place possible but to make sure that he had fun no matter what. We regained our composure and went on again he flew again. Then at obstacle 15 his nose went down again. No refusal. Then he flew in the tunnel, the next tunnel and over the last.

Now it was waiting time to see how we had done.

To cut things short, as I do tend to waffle, five of the faster dogs were eliminated and we were beaten by two dogs by 10 seconds with clear rounds. We came 3rd at Midi height in our first ever Finals - a huge achievement considering we have been competing less than two years. 

The motto of this story is no matter what happens always have fun. The dog doesnít know things have gone wrong.

If you are competing at UKA shows near the South West or Gloucestershire soon, Iím sure we will see you there.

Thank you to Stephen Bartholomew for his guidance and my coach Jenny Clarke and all those who train at Active Agility, in Clutton, near Bristol.

Happy Jumping.



The UKA South West Winter Finals

Agility Rocks, Dogs Matter and PAwS Shows have teamed up to bring you The UKA South West Winter Finals. We want to celebrate Agility in the South West and hope that this event will allow the best of the best in the South West region to compete against each other Ė and will provide an opportunity for handlers and dogs at all levels to prove themselves. You can qualify for the finals at various shows throughout the winter.

Heats
Qualifying heats for the UKA South West Winter Final will be held at Agility Rocks (AR), Dogs Matter (DM) and PAwS shows throughout the winter 2017/18. Please refer to the below table to see which heats will be held at which show:

Heat

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Performance: Beginners/Novice

AR (Oct)

DM (Dec)

PAWS (Jan)

DM (Jan)

Performance: Senior/Champ

PAWS (Oct)

AR (Oct)

AR (Nov)

DM (Jan)

Steeplechase: Beginners/Novice

PAWS (Oct)

AR (Nov)

DM (Jan)

PAWS (Jan)

Steeplechase: Senior/Champ

AR (Oct)

AR (Nov)

DM (Dec)

PAWS (Jan)

Games

PAWS (Oct)

DM (Dec)