A couple of weeks ago we fancied a change from our usual Kennel Club agility shows and decided to pop along to White Owl Farm near Peterborough to test out our agility skills at a UK Agility show.
Now, they do some things a little differently at UKA and it is definitely worth doing your homework and familiarising yourself with their rules and regs before heading off to a show. Unlike Kennel Club affiliated shows, you do have to pay a small membership fee to join the UK Agility organisation, although they do offer a “try before you buy” policy or money back guarantee if you find UKA shows are not for you.
In many ways, UKA has been at the forefront of the changing face of agility in recent years with one of their major differences being the four jump heights available at lower heights than those offered under Kennel Club rules. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the world of dog agility, jump heights are a really hot topic at the moment with the “will they won’t they” question of whether the Kennel Club will make the decision to both lower the existing jump heights and introduce of a “fourth height” for those dogs who currently fall between the Medium and Large height categories. We are all keeping our fingers and paws crossed that this will happen – hopefully a good news blog for another day!
So off we went to the WOF Agility Centre Show on another one of those exceptional summer days we have been experiencing of late (not that we are complaining!). We arrived to a nice little set up with three fully netted rings, a separate fenced exercise area, refreshments made to order, tannoy announcements to keep us in touch with class progress and a very friendly and welcoming bunch of show organisers.
There are four levels of competition at UKA, Beginners, Novice, Senior and Champion and dogs are able to progress up the levels through a points system in two Programmes, the Performance Programme which consists of Agility, Jumping and Games classes and the Steeplechase Programme. We had done some classes a couple of years ago in the Steeplechase Programme when Flyte was just starting out in competition, managing to accumulate enough points to move up to Novice, so this time we just entered the Performance Programme classes at Beginners level to see how we would fair in the Agility, Jumping and Power & Speed classes. There are also special classes too, Casual which is available for older dogs (Jasmine’s category) and Nursery for the young or less experienced.
The three Judges set really good courses for all the different levels with good flowing lines for all the dogs, no matter what their size or ability. Jasmine particularly enjoyed her Casual level agility course, which allowed her to do lower height contact equipment and a set of 6 weaves. In fact, she was so excited she got a little carried away and left the A-Frame too early missing the contact point and getting 5 faults – ooops! but it was great to see her having so much fun. Flyte on the other hand was foot perfect all day with her contacts and weaves and jumping the 600mm height beautifully in all three of her classes. Our connection as a team worked really well all day and we came home with two first place rosettes and one second place rosette and had accumulated enough points to take us out of Beginners and into Novice.
I can thoroughly recommend UK Agility shows to all those agility enthusiasts out there and we are already booked in to do another one in September and this one has qualifying heats for their Grand Finals in October. Wish us luck!