Mixed emotions about this weekend. Thames is usually one of my favorite shows. It's very well run, a good atmosphere, for Newbury, a great mix of classes, and a nice bunch of people. However, this year I came away feeling rather depressed.
The standard of a couple of important courses was extremely difficult, if not impossible for most.
It's no fun watching dozens of dogs getting eminated. It's no fun running in a class which you suspect is not good, possibly even dangerous, for your dog. It's no fun watching people injury themselves in an attempt to make difficult manovers. It's surely no fun watching only 17 dogs not get elimated out of over 200 runs.
On a wider scale, it's not good for our sport to be setting up sequences so difficult that our dogs shut down because they are pulled off so many obstacles they are starting to questioning each obstacle.
What we saw this weekend was a number of courses that suited peope who could run extremely fast or dogs that were quite steady. Agility is not a 200 metre sprint where the fastest runner wins. It is meant to be a sport where dog and handler work together using skills developed over training in order to negiotiate a course. These courses are not creating an anatmosphere where we develop our performance and increase dog handling and training skills.
The most depressing part for me was listening to a lot of people saying they felt totally demoralised and fed up after their confidence took a massive hit. I wouldn't be surprised if emotionally some people don't recover this season.
The way forward, well I'll be talking to my KC Rep, but until the KC see the value in agility I'm afraid my voice may fall on deaf ears.