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Making history...

Agility history was made in January 2020 at the Wilmslow and Derbyshire shows when the first Intermediate classes were run. It all began in the autumn of 2004 when Agility Addicts first offered a lower height jump for Large dogs. In 2012 the 4th Height Supporters Group was formed to campaign for an additional height category between Medium and Large, for smaller Large dogs. Chris Garrett, a member of the Group and organiser of the 4th Height Jumping Cup and LOW 550 series of national qualifiers, admits it's been quite a journey.

Back in 2004, the Large jump height at KC shows was 30 inches. What Agility Addicts offered was another jump height at 25 inches. It was revolutionary!

Fiona Hulse of Agility Addicts recalls what inspired her to put forward the first formal proposal to the Kennel Club in 2008 for an additional height for smaller Large dogs.

She explained. 'In early 2007 Diane Clark adopted a little crossbreed from the Dogs Trust called Spooky. He was only just over Medium height and she felt she was only able to run him in Anysize at KC shows. I felt dogs like Spooky deserved their own height at the majority of shows, not just at a handful of independent ones. Hereís a very old clip of Spooky competing in Anysize.'

After that, many people became motivated by the need for an additional height and 4th Height Supporters Group was formed on Facebook. A formal discussion item was tabled in January 2013, followed by a proposal that was very widely supported in 2015. Further discussion items and proposals were considered by the Kennel Club Agility Liaison Council and the Agility community resulting in the announcement in 2018 of the introduction of lower heights for all height categories and the addition of the 500mm Intermediate height with effect from January 2020.


The First Intermediate Run

The very first dog to ever cross the start line in an Intermediate class at a Kennel Club show was Wowzer, a chocolate brindle Border Collie owned and handled by Heidi Clelland at the Wilmslow show on Saturday, 11 January 2020. See Wowzer in the first ever run here

At the end of the month, Heidi wrote on FB that Wowzer had won into G4 agility at Ribble and reported, 'Wowser is loving jumping 500. It feels much more appropriate. Love the new jump heights for little legged collies!'

The class was a CG 4-5 Agility, judged by Stephanie Wilson Astbury, and the winner was Theresa Smith with her Border Collie Meisterwerk Magic (aka Merlin.)

Stephanie said 'I hadnít realised that I was about to make Agility history by judging the first Intermediate class but was pleased to do so. There were people taking photos and videos of this special occasion and everyone was very excited that the day that we had been waiting for, since the announcement of the new height 15 months ago, had finally arrived.'

First Intermediate Championship Judge

Jen Lewis judged the first ever KC Intermediate Championship classes at Derbyshire Champ Show on Saturday, 25 January 2020.

She said, 'It was very exciting to judge the first ever Intermediate Championship, and there was a great atmosphere around the ring all day. There were some stunning clear runs, and some that were not clear yet demonstrated great skills on all parts of the courses as well as technical ability at speed.

The final was very exciting to watch. Congratulations to Alan Wildman and Zyng for winning the first ever Intermediate CC and to Jenny Kimber and Guv for a lovely 2nd placed run.'

Many thanks to Derbyshire for asking me to judge and for providing a fabulous, hard-working ring party including Ring Manager Nic Jones. I appreciated everyone who took time to say in person or contact me by message, saying that they had enjoyed them.

The First Intermediate Ticket Winner

CC winner Alan Wildman started out by saying, 'The courses set by Jen Lewis were brilliant. I commented to her on this prior to running, as the courses were of a very high standard irrespective of any results.

He continued, 'I knew we had the speed but in Championship classes, but anything can happen! Intermediate is absolutely amazing. The dogs look so much happier now, and we can also run the same height at KC as UKA and WAO which is brilliant.

He added, 'My dog Mynx started the proceedings with a nice clear Agility round but unfortunately got eliminated in the Jumping round. My other dog Zyng did two really nice runs in the qualifying rounds and then went on to win the Final. It made the very long day seem not so long!

'I am so proud of Zyng. It's a hard act to follow coming after having such a talented dog as Mynx (now 10), but Zyng has exceeded all of my expectations! I just love running both of them, but the sheer speed that Zyng can deliver is faster than anything I have ever experienced before!'

He finished saying, 'Many thanks to Debbie Wildman and Nicola Wildman for all of their help and support on a consistent basis - no one sees the effort that is put in every day and at every training session to get the dog on the line in the condition that she is in!

Thanks also to Sue Morley for breeding such a talented dog. She has the mindset which Mynx has on the line but has an 'off switch' at home which is absolutely brilliant. Such a balanced dog!

Thanks also to Rhona for all of the hard work to get Zyng to the peak of physical fitness which has also made a massive difference to her agility.'

The first Intermediate Champ course - Final Round

First published 23rd April 2020


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