Friday, 12 September 2014

UKA successes

We are now beginning a month of UKA shows to practice for the WAO Team GB trials starting at Bakewell on the 6th. This is quite a small show but the inclusion of the "Masters" class means a few of the countrys top UKA handlers venture in search of points that will take them to either the Grand Final or automatic qualification into the England team.

Evie continued her aim of making as many finals as possible this year ,thats 11 at the moment with all dogs,and unable to run Ace because of a slight injury she qualified Blaze and Roxy for the "Agility for Juniors " Final sanwiching Amy Pearce who came 2nd with Calli. This is yet another junior final for Amy, a popular member of the Thursday night sessions and she is now looking like the "Ice Queen " seemingly unaffected by nerves as she produced a faultless clear agility round to go with her 5 faults in the jumping leg.Mum ,not so confident,still hides behind the tent until the end.

Sarah Peall continued her successes with wins for Megan and Tilly as did Suzanne MacLennan with both George and Clyde,the latter running superbly until boyfriend Steve became more attractive than her handler and he ran past the lat two jumps ,twice, thus consigning .Steve to a weekend in the caravan. It is so rewarding to see the progress these two handlers have made this year and we watch expecting fast clear rounds and are surprised if either dont. As both are still in their first year of competing it is quite remarkable.

Suzanne however excelled all expectation and achieved her 4th place  in the UKA National finasl by finishing runner up in the Circular Knockout. Apart from qualifying 2 dogs for the Beginners steeplechase final Suzanne has qualified in the pairs ,with Helen Jones and Knock Out beating handlers who on paper, work much higher levels. This latest success saw her finish only 0.2 seconds behind England International,Stephen Richardson and multi Championship Winner Libby. We now have 6 handlers and 9 dogs competing in 6 classes at the finals and for all but Evie this will be their first appearance, so what a brilliant achievement for all.

Finally on par with Suzannes success is Helen Jones run with Mac her young rescue dog. Helen doesnt do it the easy way and has worked so hard to take Belle to grade 6 and has worked even harder with Mac. It was therefore brilliant to see him go clear and finish 3rd in his first ever run beaten only by 2 Veteran dogs with solid agility pedigree. Dianne Beresfords Wookie,a grade 7 dog until last year,and Evie with Moss.Helen has worked so hard on his focus and this is the start of a successful career.

A quiet weekend for most I think but we make a 5 o clock start for Cambridgeshire on Sunday where I will be judging

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Here is my first blog which I intend to update on a regular basis. Its purpose is 3 fold. Firstly to highlight all the successes our handlers are achieving and as there are so many this will have to be updated weekly, secondly to promote any events of interest to our members, and thirdly to allow my thoughts on Agility to reach a wider audience. In the past I have been very controversial in print and I havent mellowed with age but I will also try to be constructive with any criticism I make on a sport/activity that I have been seriously involved in for 12 years now.

To those new to agility the highlight for most ambitious handlers is to reach the finals at Olympia. This IMO surpasses Crufts particularly as finalists will be running in front of  10000 noisy spectators at the Horse of the Year Show in December. We are delighted that two of our girls have made it to this prestigious event. Evie Coyne with Ace in the Novice class and Hannah Houldsworth with Ann Hinzs Belle at the top level, Senior class. Both are exceptional achievements and Evie would have had two dogs there but for Roxy falling of the sub standard dogwalk in the semi final ( I will comment more at a later date).These two girls train together every Tuesday afternoon along with the Lamberts who we mention later and I am convinced the support each handler gives to each other has helped them achieve their success

The largest most prestigious dog show in the world and we have two handlers competing in the most important 2 classes of the event and to top it all they are husband and wife. Jenny Lambert  qualified for the British Open recently at the KC festival with Wizz, an event open to all g6/7 dogs from all over Europe. She did this with an injury that meant husband Ray ran Wizz at the Northern Championship show where his win qualified him for the Championship Final. Both have trained with me for about 4 years now and there success is thoroughly deserved.

Of  less standing in the overall picture but of no less importance to one of our longest standing members is the Qualification by Veronica Wilson and Ice for next years Laser Pairs final,a fitting end to a year of frustration for Veronica and also Evie and Jayne Widdess ,whom I train in Norfolk turned " professional " recently ,Evie winning the Dog Vegas Final along with £100 ,whilst Jayne won a similar sum taking the UKA National final from Nikki Collins who also used to train here.

There are too many wins here to mention but firstly huge congratulations to handlers in their first year of competition. Hayley Tindall and Fifi reached Grade 6 with numerous wins ,as did Sarah Peall who reached Grade 5 with Megan. Both compete with small dogs and we are developing quite a few of these now so the competition will be interesting over the next couple of years. Im sure these handlers welcome each others input and certainly provide the competitive edge in classes where quite often the competitive element is lacking. Similarly Suzanne MacLennan with medium sized working Cockers had 8 wins over the past 2 weeks and Clyde has progressed to grade 2. Suzanne I predict will be running at Grade 6 next year whilst the other two will be Grade 7.
We must also mention Amy Pearce who comes from Rotherham each week reaching Grade 3 with Calli, Kirsty Ann Mitchell finally believing in herself winning into Grade 2 and Laura Wilson taking Misty to Grade 7 almost in a weekend not forgetting Shky Austin reaching Grade 4 with Oki.

There have been many other highlights particularly Irene Ward our oldest handler who had two second places with the lovely Rosie despite almost quitting competition the previous week and this brings me onto my final note as we go from one age extreme to the other. We have already mentioned Evie aged 14 and Amy15 ,but we now have 15 year old Ryan,8 year old Rees and 5 year old Mia training regularly on Monday nights and it is so rewarding to see the enthusiasm and understanding develop in these youngsters,

There ends my success catch up, future blogs will be shorter and more current but my first major Agility posting will be on what I feel is the ridiculous current grading system