Monday, 24 June 2013

Courses, judging and a weekend off

We had one of those rare weekends at home this weekend, it was lovely. The dogs got a extra special long walk, we did some training, caught up with friends and family and more.

The agility season is in full swing now and I'm pretty pleased with what Devo & I have done so far. We've qualified for five Championship finals out of five shows. We've qualified for an Olympia day - at last and we've got two Crufts points... hmm that needs a bit of focus. And of course I've enjoyed focusing on preparing Team GB for the European Open in Belgium.

A lot of the top level courses I've competed in this year have generally been of a good standard. This is important to me as a well designed course really does test the dog & handler. Courses that have huge gaps (more than 7 metres) only test how fast a handler can run and takes all the skill out of dog handling.

I guess being involved with international events over the last 4-5 years you start seeing the big difference between courses country to country. In many European countries it takes two years to become qualified as a judge. Having to complete written exams, practical assessments, be a shadow judge for a year, then the main judge with a mentor supporting you for another year, more written exams etc... The effect of this is very highly trained judges at both course design and decision making. The benefit to the competitor is very well designed courses and great judging.

This is incredibly important for both Team GB and getting this right could have the single biggest effect on our sport. It's an area I get quite passionate about.

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