Monday, 7 January 2013

One Height Below

I attended our local Kennel Club meeting which had an unusually high turnout. The main topic people had come to discuss was whether or not to introduce a 4th height

I do agree that there is a large gap between medium & large and it must be tough for those dogs only just measuring out of medium. In the main the people at our meeting had dogs who were heavy set which made it uncomfortable to jump the full height. The conclusion was that it is actually conformation not height that affects a dogs ability to jump.

Agility Champion Bekkis Carbon Copy
The height cut off chosen at 510mm would include many dogs that are currently competing at the top level. Our own dog Kodi is only 490mm. He is an Agility Champion and won the Agility Championship at Crufts in 2010. 
In fact the last three dogs that won the Crufts Championship class and this years winners of both Novice and Senior Olympia would all be Standard at UKA which is lower than the proposed cut off for the new height at KC.
I for one would miss the opportunity to compete with these dogs and am concerned that the new height would in fact contain at least half of the most competitive dogs in this country.

At the meeting one person said they just wanted to feel included and I wondered if there is  another option that would be beneficial and to more than just those lucky enough to fit in the new proposed height category.
A whole new clasification called One Height Below. Simply this would mean any dog could jump a height one height below its measure. This would then include dogs like GSD's, Retreivers etc in fact any dog who's handler would be more "comfortable" with their dog jumping a lower height.

A lovely Retreiver
looking more than comfortable 
This category would be competitive and people could gain points and move up grades only within this category.
People could elect to run OHB at the time of being measured and the measurers mark their KC book accordingly.
Championship status would not be available to these dogs so
competitive people would not choose to do them. 

Once reaching Grade 5 there would be a one time option to revert to same size classes at square one to allow dogs that have become competitive to compete at their same height.

Stunning GSD
These classes would just slot into the existing structure of shows
with scribe sheets being split out as they are now for graded classes.

Sponsors could be approached to have qualifiers for this classification too.

It is easy to say "oh this won't work because how do we know that dog has elected to run one height below". Well the answer is we don't but how do we know anybody has won up a grade etc. Many years ago a lady
accidentally ran in the Champ class at one show. It was her first show and she didn't know how to complete the entry form. It wasn't until she ran that the mistake was obvious.

To make this work the show organisers would need to run OHB classes in parallel with the same height classes so some input from show organisers would be useful as to if this would be achievable.

Stroller & Marion Mould the only pony to compete at the Olympics in Show Jumping.
Another option I heard about today.

Fiona Boyne told me that in the show jumping world they start horses on lower jumps and it is only as you move up the levels that the heights go up. 

If we applied this to agility Grades 1 - 3 could compete at medium height, 4 -5 at a new 4th height then 6 - 7 at full height. This would mean the competitive and able dogs would move up through the grades and the dogs that can't compete at a higher height would therefore stay at a height they could. It would be self regulating as dog will only progress as high as it can comfortably jump.

Mediums - G1-4 start at small height and G5 - 7 jump medium.
Smalls -  G1-4 start a toy height and then move up to small.

This could work although I am not sure I would find it easy to run Rhyme at medium. It wouldn't hurt him though and it is not all about me and my dog. 

Again thoughts from show managers or others on if this idea would be workable.

You can't say I'm not trying to look for a solution that could work for all dogs and handlers.

Healthy debate is good to help find solutions to problems. IMO sadly some of the 4th height brigade were not there to listen or debate at our meeting, only to bully and intimidate with their only concern themselves.


Some 4th heighters said that they were concerned about the welfare of their dogs yet blatantly talked about their dogs struggling to jump. If you really did care and your dog was really struggling wouldn’t you find something your dog did like to do?


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Bring on 2013

That's it 2012 over and 2013 just starting.

I like the process of looking back on the last year and making plans for the new.

When Michael was younger on New Year's Day we all used to write 10 things we wanted to achieve that year on a piece of paper and seal them in an envelope then open that envelope the following New Year's Day.

It was amazing how many things had either come true or had totally gone from our thoughts and wishes so not really a failure just not interested any more.

These were not tidy, well thought out, smart goals, just one sentence and simple.

So if I was to write a list of 10 things for myself for 2013 what would they be?

Let's start with agility related ones. Going in big not with the small sensible one step at at time goals just dreams. Followed by a few work related goals too.

  1. Rhyme qualify for Novice Cup
  2. Rhyme qualify for Olympia
  3. Rhyme win up to Grade 5
  4. Torro qualify for 3 Ticket finals
  5. Torro qualify for BCC Final 
  6. Help the people I train set and obtain their goals
  7. Increase my clients by 1 a week
  8. Grow Thursday classes at UpAndOver
  9. Get Wag and Tone off the ground 
  10. Pass ICAT Canine Massage Diploma Exam

Right lets look back next year and see how it's gone :)

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and are looking forward to this year. Each year brings it own sets of challenges and helps you learn about life. As Naomi likes to say "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". 

Whatever the year brings I hope you make the most of it and get the best out of it.