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
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
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
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
Jen Lewis judged the first ever
KC Intermediate Championship classes at Derbyshire Champ Show on Saturday, 25
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.
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
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.
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.
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!'
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!
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
23rd April 2020