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The UK Agility Week Show & National Finals 2005

This year the 2005 UK Agility Week Show was held at the Three Counties Show Ground, situated at the foot of the beautiful Malvern Hills. With people arriving early on the Monday, the show was soon set up and ready to go with a fun event held that afternoon. Let the games begin...

Tunnelers! was the name of the game with a course made up of 20 pipe tunnels. Remembering the course was one of the most difficult challenges with many handlers looking totally lost and confused by the time they got to number 14!  Fun was had by all though. There were also many appearances from older dogs due to the fact that there were no jumps.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday were the days of proper competitions with Friday being a day off. As usual with UK Agility shows, there were four runs a day available for all dogs with also an agility and a jumping for the Casual dogs. In addition, a Nursery class for the young dogs and also a junior class for the younger handlers were offered daily.

The Nationals
On Tuesday night, Round 1 of the UK Agility National Championship began. To qualify for this round all you needed was a clear round in any agility class at a UKA show from the previous 12 months.  To progress to Round 2 you had to get into the top 50%.  A nice flowing course was set by the judge Kim Hunt, and there was a good turn out for each height competition.

Wednesday evening also held another fun event, the Clean Run 60 Weave Pole Challenge. With six height categories, there was a competition for all sizes of dogs. Unfortunately the record (set by an American BC) was not broken but one or two came very close.

Thursday evening was Round 2 of the Nationals this time judged by Graham Wills. A random draw was made on the day in front of a group of eager competitors. The course set was again a nice flowing course but perhaps with one or two more traps than had been seen in Round 1.  The top 15 dogs from this round were to progress to the Saturday night final with the final run to be run in the reverse order of the round 2 result.

The Finals
Saturday night was final night. With a final for each height there was interest for all competitors and spectators. We started with the 12Ē followed by the 15Ē, 24Ē and finishing with the 30Ē final.

Kim Hunt was again the judge with another flowing course but with some very clever subtle traps that caught out several of the handlers.  With the title of UK Agility National Champion 2005, £200 cash for the winner, £50 cash for the runner up and a pair of Dita shoes for third place as well as some superb cut glass for the top three, the pressure was on.  For quite a few of the handlers the pressure was increased as the result from the National Final counted towards the IFCS World Cup team selection.

All finals were very exciting with the crowd cheering on all competitors. The four Final results were as follows.

Photo courtesy of DEPhoto

UK Agility would like to congratulate the four winners and especially Sharon Lear for defending her 2004 title.

UKA National Finals 2005 - 12" Results

  1. Dr Susan Yeo & Two Oaks

  2. Tracy Ryan & Tipp Top Tia

  3. Dorothy Catchpole & Flame

  4. Jean Young & Lady of Luss

  5. Beverly Horobin & Penwyvern Star Appeal

UKA National Finals 2005 - 15" Results

  1. Sharon Lear & The Marshall

  2. Dawn Weaver & Piquant Painted Sunshine

  3. Lu Carter & Just Tassle

  4. Sharon Brewster & Upanova Which Way Now

  5. Becky Layphries & Janevets Alberta

UKA National Finals 2005 - 24" Results

  1. Angela Williams & Dragon Heart Pi

  2. Jenny Kimber & Emerald Chi

  3. Diane Graves & Waggerland Whizz Bang

  4. Judy Wills & Achates Yarkhill Stranger

  5. Gloria Tucker & Coco Channel

UKA National Finals 2005 - 30" Results

  1. Jane Powell & Bailstails Noggette

  2. Dawn Weaver & Silver Cloud on The Freeway

  3. Diane Graves & The Bryce is Right

  4. Angela Williams & Red Alert

  5. Julie Prettejohn & Shadows Attitude

Thank you
At this point we would like to thank the five sponsors of the nationals for their generous support of this event, specifically:  CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds, Premier Show Jumps, Taryntimers, Norton Rosettes and GDP Ltd (Printing)

With Traci Gaunt as our entertainment manager there was fun every night for the adults with disco, bingo, quiz night and live band NBS who were as fantastic as normal. The Crazy Maesy crŤche reappeared not far from the rings for the children to use whilst the parents competed, which proved to be extremely popular.

Finally on behalf of UK Agility, we would like to say a huge thank you to: Paul and Lesley for all their work in the office and with the camping, Tracy for organising the entertainment, all ring managers and judges for their work and time and to everyone else who helped in anyway to set up and run the show.

See you next year?
Next yearís week show will be the same dates and format with competitions starting on Tuesday, 1 August 2006. The Three Counties Show Ground again has been provisionally booked and we hope to confirm this within the next few weeks. 

The Senior Handler

Agilitynet already had a report from the beginner point of view (below) so when we heard that Amanda Pigg was going to the Scrambles Show at Newbury we asked her if she would report on her first UKA show from the other end of the classes.

Well, thatís my first UK Agility show done!

I told a few people that I was off to my first UKA show this weekend.  'What do you want to do that for?' was the reply from a lot of them. Well I had nothing else to do except maybe sit at home glued to my PC watching for the World Champ results to come in. I know itís not an ideal world but. in general, I donít think you should criticise something until you have tried it.

The first show is quite expensive! It cost me nearly as much to do one day at UKA as it did for a week at dogs in need!  I do appreciate that a lot of this cost was the first off registration. Nevertheless £40.00 ish later (£7.50 for me and two dogs plus six classes at £2.90) and I was registered and entered.

So the day dawned. Show open was 7.45. Arrived in plenty of time. No different to a KC show was shown where to park and off I went to find the rings. All set up very logically. No problems there. I needed to get one of my dogs measured so off I went to the secretaryís tent for that. I put my dog up on the table and she was measured, interestingly by a digital measure so I got an exact height rather than a yes she is under 20". The bar was placed on her withers and height recorded accordingly. I now know my dog is 18.78".

Entries appeared to be quite low. There were only a maximum of 7 30" dogs entered in the Champion classes. Whereas I would expect at a KC show for there to be maybe 50 or so dogs in Advanced. I think the difference was also quite significant in the senior classes and novice. Although the novice classes were the largest as they are at KC shows.

During the period between entering the show and running at the show I had heard many mixed reports about UKA. One friend of mine has a beginner 12" dog. She has loved it and has been very successful. However, I have also heard that at the other end some of the Champion courses had been neigh on impossible to negotiate!

First course to walk was Champion Gamblers. Also had casual jumping to walk. Both courses were set at the correct height for my dog.  In fact, throughout the day each course I walked was already at the correct height for my dog.  Not quite sure how I would have felt walking a course for my dog jumping 30" when the jumps were at a height of 12".  There was one course where the sequence of a jump, long jump and then weaves needed ''working' due to the spacing and therefore, I needed to look carefully to see where to hold back or run or dummy reverse etc.  Think this sequence may have appeared quite different over 12" jumps with a short long jump to 30" with a long long jump. 

The courses I walked, ran and watched throughout the day appeared to be very good. The champion courses that I ran were really nice. Flowing with little bits of handling in but certainly not impossible. So I guess someone somewhere has sorted out the course levels.

The classes were pretty much all over by about 4.30pm, so not too late. Having said that, I do wonder how late it would be if the entries got too much larger. I guess it would mean plenty more rings.

Rosettes and trophies are really nice. Place rosettes are huge and qualifying round rosettes (or clear round rosettes to you and I) are also better than the norm.

When the show first started I was panicking that I would miss a class. As the entries are quite small in each class they seem to start and finish a class very quickly so you do need to have your wits about you and keep your ears open. It is very strange listening to an announcement of 12" beginnerís steeplechase! As the day wore on I soon found myself relaxing and enjoying myself. The atmosphere was very laid back and informal. It was like being at a show of eight or nine years ago!   Also I think being in the champion class was fun as I knew each of the other competitors and we all stayed and watched each other run and commiserated and congratulated after each round.

Good bits
Well mainly the relaxed laid back approach. Nothing was too much trouble. The courses were good and the day appeared to be very well organised. Training in the ring is also allowed (as long as you declare it and NFC round before starting) so if you have a problem with touchpoints or something similar then it is a great opportunity to work on that. Practice jump outside the ring also seemed to work well. I didnít see anyone "abusing" it but then the numbers are a little smaller. Not sure how it would work at a larger KC show with more people milling around.

Bad bits
I heard a couple of people saying that classes were closing before they could get to them. I guess thatís easily remedied.  And probably the cost of it. It was an expensive show and I can see that that would be prohibitive to some people.  It was also a bit of a drag having to wait around for what seemed like hours at the end of the show to collect rosettes (sorry thatís not meant to sound ungrateful) but that is also something that happens at KC shows.

I canít say that I feel quite the same about winning a class out of seven as I do about winning a class of 250+ (again not meant to sound ungrateful) but it was an enjoyable day. I can see the set up being more of draw to those that have beginner dogs or new dogs and are looking to gain experience in a relatively informal environment where they also have the opportunity if needs to be to take a toy into the ring with them or maybe the small miniís as they have their chance to jump lower jumps.

Final verdict
Well done Stuart Carter, his team and UKA. A nice show. And would I do another? Well, I wouldnít do one in place of a KC as I do enjoy them and they cater for what I want from an agility show but yes, I would certainly enter another.

The Beginner Competitor

UK Agility is a new competitive format to agility. Some C-Side DTC members decided to give it a go and competed at the first UK Agility show which was held on the weekend of 10 July at the Newbury Showground. They liked it so much that they wrote a review for their club magazine Clear Round.

The organisers of the show created a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and even the judges were extremely pleasant and helpful! A special mention to both Jo Rhodes and Iain Fraser who gave great advice to both Sal and me after our rounds. Iain thought I had won the Beginnerís Gamblers as Brim gained maximum points for completing the full gamble Ė jump, tunnel, jump, with me staying behind the white line, only to find out that Sal had beaten us by just one point! Next time!

On the start line you didnít feel that you had to go Ďbat out of hellí - something Iíve not yet experienced with Brim alias Ďthe tortoise collie. The feeling was to do your best and not one of having to push your dog to its limits. There was, however, a good field to compete against.

The less stressy and less ultra pushy atmosphere certainly benefited the dogs and handlers with many great successes having been achieved in the C-Side camp. Pat and Mac got clear and Fin showed some promising rounds, Danielle and Jay, achieved clears, and Denise and Sal won ribbons and rosettes for their clear rounds and places. The rosettes, trophies and ribbons were certainly worth working for.

Outside the rings there were practice jumps which were great to help warm your dogs up. The nursery classes were good for motivating and giving a positive experience, without the pressure, for younger dogs. The games classes were lots of fun and a practice session on the Saturday was available to have a go at the snooker. Some found the snooker a bit complicated, but the rules were well explained and clearly laid out in the rule book.

We achieved a third in the Beginnerís Snooker. The class was won by Pam with Roxy who had a fantastic show also winning two other classes, got a whole load of places and clear rounds and gained enough points to win out of beginners 30". Yipee more chance for me and Sal now! No seriously, well done Pam and Roxy, you both carried the flag high for C-Side.

Could be improved
The only negative aspect of the show was the time it took to get through all the classes especially on the first day. Listening to the running orders for the different levels of class, and heights within each class, also took some getting use to. However, we all managed to get to the right rings at the right times. These are just teething problems and will improve with more practice.

People do agility for different reasons
I do agility because it's fun. I love the sport and enjoy spending time training and working my dog. Brim will certainly never win any speed competitions; he just hasnít got it in him. However, with regular training we have both progressed a great deal Ė at least, he stays in the ring now! The points system that UK Agility employ recognises this progression and has given me a sense of achievement. Speed will still win, but acknowledging improvement and consistency is important too.

It was only observed quite recently at another show how some people have lost the love of agility and have become so ultra competitive resulting in such harsh handling of their dogs. Surely this is not the right way forward for the sport that we all love and certainly is not in the dogsí best interest.

Some people have expressed quite negative views about UK Agility. These are mainly to do with the management team and financial aspects. After speaking with the main developers of UK Agility, I am truly convinced of their aim to develop and promote the growth of agility with the emphasis on safety and fun for every dog and handler. I am certainly looking forward to the August show Ė hoping to achieve some more clear rounds and maybe even a place, if you get your skates on Brim!

Photos available from Studio FX



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