Pride of the Valleys...
When the Builth Wells venue was commandeered as a Covid test and vaccination centre by the Welsh government, the larger Breed and Obedience shows were cancelled as half the site became unavailable, thus leaving Agility a clear run at a three day show. Alongside the Championship classes and the Welsh Handler of the Year competition, there were heats for the Agility Club Starters Challenge and The Agility Challenge as well as classes supported by Better Bones and PowAir.
The Welsh Kennel Club Championship & Open Agility Shows took place at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells on 20th - 22nd August 2021.
As ever, the Welsh Kennel Club wishes to record its thanks to everyone involved in the summer show and congratulates all the winners at the summer show.
Whilst we are as ever very grateful to judges and scrimes, we must make especial mention, in what for many is not the easiest of times, of the team behind the scenes who made this event work. We are not going to mention anyone by name but you know who you are.
Championship Judge's Reports
Agility for Intermediate & Large Dogs
Judge: Hannah Grantham
After such a hard 2020 with no shows, I'd removed the Welsh Kennel Club Championship Show from my calendar when it was announced the breed show had been cancelled. I was amazed when Graham got in contact to say that the show was going ahead. It was a total honour to be asked to judge.
With no Large breed show, the set up was slightly different to previous years, but that didn't detract from how good the show was.
This was my second Large Champ appointment and my very first Intermediate one. Having worked hard on improving my agility course design skills over numerous lockdowns, I wanted to showcase my skills at setting exciting, fast, fun, yet challenging courses.
It took me months and many scrapped designs to finally settle on the three courses I set on the day. My aim was to make them were fast and challenging where handlers had to think fast and move fast. I wanted to test the independence of the dog, whilst giving handling options and allowing the dogs to flow and open up. When people got it right, it was pure perfection. I certainly made the most of my front row seat.
Rain in the morning didn't stop play. Happily by the Agility round, it had dried up with sun shining for the Final.
The Jumping round was won by Charlotte Harding and Maia in Intermediate and Walter Dingemanse and Dice in Large. Both were amazing runs. The course ran exactly how I'd envisioned it, testing quite a bit of obstacle discrimination, independence and the speed of the dog. The Long Jump after the weaves proved problematic for the intermediate dogs, and the weave entry caught a few out as did jump number 17 as an off course obstacle.
he Agility round, which was my favourite course of the three, was won by Lee Gibson and Star in intermediate and Euan Paterson and Crazee in Large. With foot perfect runs, it was so exciting to watch. Lots gained refusal faults at number 6. There were some weave entry issues and then there were the unfortunate Eliminations at the push round for 15 where handlers had to trust their dog to complete the weaves and move.
Onto the final with 15 handlers and dogs going through to each height final. I wanted a fast, exciting final and I think my course didn't' disappoint. Full speed ahead was needed, I wanted all finalists to push and go for the win. My heart was racing with each run, and every handler and dog gave it their all, and should be very proud.
Number 8 took numerous pairings out of the running with unfortunate eliminations, and faults were gained on the seesaw exit, There wasn't any clears in Intermediate until Stephanie Best and Fate stepped on the start line, and I was beginning to worry I'd set a harder course than I thought. I needn't have worried at all, Stephanie and Fate were amazing, running the course in a fantastic 32.975 seconds, laying the challenge down and no one else could match them. Cara Cousins and Chase in their first ever Champ final tried with a super clear run in a time of 35.027, they just couldn't match Stephanie and Fate's time.
Therefore, Stephanie Best and Fate took the Intermediate CC and Cara Cousins with Chase took the RCC. That's girl power, ladies.
Larges up next. Again the send to the wall at number 8 caused issues, and so did the seesaw exit. The weaves also took a few out. I remember Dan Shaw and Boffin's run. It's was amazing, but sadly the jump before the weaves was missed and resulted in an elimination, as Boffin took the weaves instead. The gasps from the crowd and my reaction said it all. Unlucky Dan. It was an amazing nearly.
Martin Reid had two dogs in the final, Snooze and Spring, both gaining beautiful fast clears. Martin was in the CC and RCC position with Snooze in 33.211 secs and Spring in 33.933 secs right up until the last competitor Euan Paterson with Crazee who ran a foot perfect round which was awesome to watch and judge, taking the top position in 31.478 secs.
Therefore, the Large CC was won be Euan Paterson and Crazee while Martin Reid with Snooze took the RCC.
Well done to all the Welsh KC Large and Intermediate Champ competitors. It was a pleasure to judge you all. There were so many emotions from total amazement and excitement, through to dismay when things didn't go as planned. Each and everyone of you rewarded the dog no matter what, and you should be extremely proud.
See you in the ring soon.
Agility for Small & Medium Dogs
Judge: Heidi Vague
It was an honour to be asked to judge the Small and Medium Championship classes at the Welsh KC. Uniquely this year, as another show was cancelled, these classes were held on a different day to the Large and Intermediate Championship classes so there was no need to share courses with Hannah Grantham who was judging them.
Luckily, I had a nice dry day for my classes and the ground was still in good condition, so no course alteration was needed.
We started with the Jumping round which was a fast course requiring some independence skills. I was very impressed with the speed of the Small and Medium dogs who really made their handlers run!
Well done to Lauren Langman and Jo Gleed for winning the Jumping classes with their superfast spaniels.
Next up was the Agility round which was more technical. A lot of dogs missed the down on the dogwalk as the handlers were getting into position for the weave entry. Again, some great skills were shown on this course, and I enjoyed watching the different handling choices. Well done here to Katrina Hands and Hayley Telling with their Shelties.
Moving onto the final. I loved this course, starting with some handling and gradually opening up to a really fast finish. It was a pleasure to judge each and every one of the finalists who all put in 110% into their runs.
We had a couple of 'chocolate breaks' to allow handlers with more than one dog running very close to each other, the chance to catch their breath. All this added to the anticipation of the runs.
A massive well done to Lauren Langman and Blink who won the Small ticket with Katrina Hands and Sizzle just a whisker behind them for the Reserve. Also congratulations to Jo Gleed with Topic on getting the Medium ticket at what was their first G7 show and Aemillia Nicholson with Willow on getting a very worthy Reserve.
I'd like to say a big thank you to my ring party for all their help and support on what was a very enjoyable day.
2021 Championship Agility Winners
2021 saw the resurrection of the Welsh Handler of the Year competition at the Welsh Kennel Club Agility Show at Builth Wells.
The class welcomed all G1-7 dogs - Large, Intermediate, Medium and Small with the stipulation that the handler/owner had been resident in Wales since 1st January 2021 or was born in Wales. Dogs must run in both a Jumping and an Agility class with faults and times to be added together. The dog with least faults and the fastest combined times wins. All sizes and abilities compete together and the overall winner takes all.
With the Jumping class first, judged by Katie MacDonald, Barrie James and Ru stormed to a win with a run of 31.194 seconds. There were less than three seconds separating the top places which also included Dane Smillie, Gareth Curnell, Aimee and Chris Kerton and Rosie Cavill and James Davies, both with two dogs each. All was ready for the next day’s Agility round and the Welsh Handler of The Year celebrations.
Welshman Nick Loizos took on the judging challenge of the Agility round with those in contention conscious that a good score was needed to be in with a chance.
The best of this day, time-wise was in 30.510 secs with a clear round, achieved by Stuart Harmes and Bam Bam who the previous day had got 10 faults so fell out of contention this year.
Rosie Cavill with Dare achieved a double clear in 71.737 secs with the Welsh Handler of The Year awarded in 2021 to Aimee Kerton with Kerifa in a winning time of 66.289 secs.
First published 10th September 2021
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