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History


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Contents

21st Century Agility
Tony di Bartolo used to employed to research various products to help with inventory tracking and job shop production control. That's when he first started thinking about using the new technology for agility. Then one day while he was working, he came across an idea which made him think, 'Hey, wouldn't it be great if you could use this in agility?'

Agility Aid
Agility Aid was originally designed just to release Show Secretaries from the task of producing running orders and class calling lists. In those days class sizes were under 100 and clear rounds were run off! Ring cards were collected at shows, with only the ring number entered on them, and everyone would join a bun-fight round the calling lists to make a note of their running orders. June Richardson continues the story.

Advanced into Intermediate?
The debate about whether Advanced dogs should be able to compete in Intermediate classes was going on way before the Kennel Club announced the changes to the 'H' regs. In an article which was written just before the changes were announced - but remains relevant - Nancy Hudson asks whether this decision is  entirely fair to Advanced dogs and their handlers, now or in the future.
Advanced into Intermediate Continued
Following an open debate between Agility Liaison Council members at a recent Kennel Club meeting and the subsequent vote 5-4 against, the discussion on whether to take Advanced level handlers out of Intermediate classes continues. Should we or shouldn’t we? What are the arguments for and against? Three top handlers present their opinions - Jo Sermon (pro), Dave Cooper (con) and Mary Anne Nester with the Mini/Midi point of view. Read both sides of the argument.

John Gilbert & Jackie Brett

Agility Judging in 1984
The Judge's Word Is Final This wonderful editorial comes from the Agility Voice archives in the days when the dogwalk was known as the cat-walk. Have things changed in 15 years? Read it and see.

Back to the Future
Looking back at the future, we must say that 'The fun never did go out of this 'fun event.' Agility Voice's own Mystic Meg foretells of things to come in this treasure from The Agility Voice archives. With 2001 not so far away, somehow this tongue-in-cheek article from 1985 does not seem so far off the truth - or does it?
Bud Houston Bud Houston's Handling Moves
Bud Houston is one of America’s pioneering agility teachers, stressing solid handing fundamentals and positive training techniques. He currently operates Bud Houston’s Country Dream in southeast Ohio where he and his wife offer agility and rally‑o camps, resort visits, ongoing classes, and monthly workshops for agility enthusiasts.. He wrote this article describing some of his better known moves. Comparing them to your way of handling today makes interesting reading.

Crufts Timeline
Crufts is one of the largest dog events in the world. No longer purely a dog show, dfs Crufts celebrates every aspect of the role that dogs play in our lives. It has changed in ways that couldn’t possibly have been imagined when the show was set up in Victorian times by the late Charles Cruft. Although it was a very different event in 1891 Charles Cruft was a great showman and would surely have enjoyed the size and scope of the event today, which is an essential date in any dog lover’s calendar.
Dogs in Need 1992
Did you ever wondered how and when the first Dogs in Need began...or were you there? Ian Stowers was one of the organisers. His show report including glorious black and white photos is reprinted here, as published in Agility Voice, followed by John Tallentire's judges summary and course plans. Can you spot any familiar faces?

The Earliest Agility Test
Check out the photograph that was taken at the very first agili ty event after it was originally performed at Crufts Dog Show in February 1978. Spot any differences?

Enid Buckland-Evers & Lynn Shore

Fashion Circa 1985
What the best dressed agility handlers wore in the good old days. Sue Ashby did this delightful cartoon of Mr & Mrs Agility, a typical agility couple in the mid-1980s which appeared in the Agility Voice Newsletter (April 1985). What a far cry from the designer track suits, running shorts and trainers of today!
The First Ever Agility Course at Crufts 1978
Ever wonder about thse early days of agility? In his book How to Judge Agility, Peter Lewis, one of the founders of the sport, claims that in the beginning no one had a clue about developing the art of agility. For the first year, they floundered through but had a lot of fun doing so.  A rare glimpse into agility history when handlers and their dogs made up the game as they went along. How things have changed! Thank you to Peter Lewis for preserving and sharing the first course ever run at Crufts. 

Peter LEWIS

Founding History: The True Facts by Peter Lewis
Dog agility is a fairly new sport, created merely as a demonstration in the late 1970s in the UK. Little did Peter Meanwell think in 1977 when John Varley asked him for assistance in devising an entertainment for the audience between the Obedience and Breed competitions in the main ring at Crufts that the largely jumping style course would develop into an international national dogging sport. The rest, as they say, is history.
An Early Agility Test in B/W
This photograph (left) was taken at the very first agility event after it was originally performed at Crufts Dog Show in February 1978. Can you spot five (5) differences from 22 years ago? Extra points if you can find more and a bone-us if you can name the judge and handler. (09/10/00)
First Ever 'Mini Dogs of the Year'
The Mini Agility Dog of the Year competition was held for the first time in in 1987. Handlers agreed that it was 'nice to be accepted by all quarters as more than just a novelty.' The results say it all. (Updated 12/09/99)

Gatcombe Park 1986
Every picture tells a story. Jackie Clarke asked us if we recognised anyone in the 1986 picture she found. Up stepped Graham Taylor...  (05/03/10)

Bretons DTC Circa 1981

Happy 21st Birthday, Bretons DTC
Bretons DTC was one of the first clubs in the UK to do the new sport of show jumping for dogs. This year they will be 21 years young. (04/04/00)

The Jersey European Agility Festival
How did it all begin? Andre Rees, one of the show's organisers explains how it group for a local show to an international festival.

Peter Lewis Founding Father
Lindy Margach speaks to one of the 'founding fathers' of our sport – the legendary Peter Lewis about what he remembers about the early days, how it developed and what he thinks is the future.

Longleat the Legendary Show
For many people the agility show at Longleat was and forever will be their all-time favourite. Those were the days when doing agility came second to enjoying the social side and when you knew everyone, at least by sight, and invites to join for a drink as you walked by a pitch were commonplace. And who could forget the lions 6am alarm calls and and how that could completely silence a camp full of dogs? Shirley Elkins came across these photos, a provisional ring plan and the Rules for the infamous Derby the other day and agreed to share her memories.

Portia
Over her agility career, Jayne Bray's apricot Miniature Poodle Portia (Ag.Ch. Harvest Geld for Aprika) won 305 classes, making her one of agility's all time greats. At age 16 years and 4 months, she won the All-Time Achievement for Services to Agility Award from the Poodle Breed Club of Great Britain.

Thoughts of a Judge
Roy Wilce was judge of the Crufts Team qualifier and the Mini Agility class at Severnside on 29th August 1992. While waiting for Chris to finish judging in another ring, there was plenty of time to reflect on the day's events. Here are a few of his thoughts shared for the benefit of competitors, potential judges and show managers alike. (06/02/00)

Ruby weaving

Pedigree: In at the beginning
Agility first surfaced in a recognisable format at Crufts in 1978. Eric Smethurst, who was then Manager of Pedigree’s Breed, Show and Veterinary Services Department was really impressed with this new sport and decided that Pedigree should be a part of it. Therein lies the start of over twenty years of continuous support and sponsorship of dog agility. (02/05/00)

Talking Heads
You've probably heard stories about the old days of Agility when everything was 'friendlier and more fun.' Here's a selection of voices from the past and present, recalling their own experiences.
Electronic Timers
It is now not unusual to see electronic timing at most of the larger shows around the UK. Taryntimer developer Martin Pollard reports that the transition from hand held stop watch to state of the art timer has been quick, seamless and painless. It's as if it has always been there. Time and time again... and again... and again.
Signing in at Watford Two Pads Good
As a means of maximising ring party efficiency, and in particular where there is a large class involved, the 'Two Pad System' was invented for scribes as a time saver. However, any system you care to invent or employ is absolutely no good if it is not explained precisely to the people who use it. (10/05/00)

Fred Welham Interview
John Leslie meets Fred Welham, the man who is credited with having built the first set of agility equipment. Reprinted from the July edition of the Kennel Gazette

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