Tuesday, 23 September 2014

FCI World Championships Pt 3 - Spot the difference

In my last blog I touched on some of the differences between FCI agility and the Kennel Club agility we are used to here in the UK. It goes without saying that we spent quite a lot of time preparing the team on these differences so they would become the norm and not a difference.

Another difference we experienced at both the EO's and the World Championships was the type of equipment being used.

In the GB we are used to competing on fairly standard equipment most weeks and I guess most clubs and trainers have similar equipment too. That's great for GB agility. However, there are different equipment suppliers in Europe who supply the EO's and the World Championships so the team needed to practice on this equipment as well as the different types/style of courses.

How can the equipment be different? Well here are a few examples:

  • Weaving poles are one colour - usually a dull orange or blue alternately
  • Wooden slats on rubber contacts
  • A different size and style break-away tyre
  • Thinner jump bars - similar colour to the weaving poles
  • Smaller metal / ali wings with flat jump cups
Rosie & Spice. Photo by Dennis Bay.
While it could be argued that these are only very minor differences, they are different and at this level of competition where we are looking to shave every 100th of a second of the dogs times, these become big differences to be considered.

I arranged for the world championship team to have a warm-up session the day before the competition started at a local club in Luxembourg. The venue was fantastic, a purpose built indoor agility arena kitted out with a bar!, seating, carpet and a lovely set of brand new equipment from a GB supplier. 

One of the team spotted some older equipment outside very similar to that we knew was going to be used in the championships. So when it was our turn to train, after the Russian Team, we marched in all the old rusty metal jumps and faded wooden bars and put the nice new shiny plastic equipment to the side.
Matt Goodliffe's Quincy. Photo by Dennis Bay

I think the organiser thought 'crazy British people'. But it did the job. 

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