UK Agility Shows
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UKA has two progression programmes as well as pairs, team and knockout competitions. At the very highest level there are Masters classes but you won't find these at every show. Unlike any other organisation, UKA gives prize money at the masters level and it is really intended for those who want to compete nationally and internationally. To progress from one level to another you need to gain points at their shows. Kennel Club points don't count for UKA and vice versa. You can also enter your young dogs or your older dogs in casual and nursery classes where the jumps will be lower.
There are four different jump heights, toy, midi, standard and maxi. If you have a small dog you may be eligible for the micro size in the casual and nursery classes.
You can enter your dogs and check their progress online but the main difference between entering UKA and Kennel Club shows is that with UKA you can usually enter on the day as long as the limit of entries hasn't been reached. It costs a little more to do it this way but if you want to do an extra class or you completely forgot to enter the show you can nearly always do it on the day.
Steeplechase and Performance programmes
In the steeplechase the courses consist of jumps and tunnels with no weaves. (Do I hear the sound of cheering?) The easiest courses are for beginners and the number of points gained depends on whether you were placed or whether you just had a clear round. It also depends on the size of the class. Only clear rounds count for points and currently a clear round gains 2 points, but the regulations may change from time to time. In general the courses are very similar to Kennel Club courses and you may find the same judges at UKA and Kennel club shows.
Shown below is a UKA steeplechase video to give you an idea of what it's like.
Beginner's Steeplechase Maxi
- UKA Cornwall 14th August 2010
Beginners Jumping Maxi
- UKA Cornwall 15th August 2010
One big difference with UKA is that the course time is calculated on the length of the course as measured with a surveyor's wheel. The course is thus physically measured and a time is calculated. The distance is taken as the shortest possible route that a dog will take although I've yet to see a dog that can belt round the inside curve of a tunnel rather than the outside! Do take care with an old dog. The course times are a little longer but a slower dog will gain time faults. I beg you not rush your old dog just to gain a clear round rosette. If you get round the course, even if you have time faults, the judge will clap and you will be delighted and praise your dog. As far as your dog is concerned they have pleased you and that's all that counts.
In the video below Jamie goes round the casual jumping course and picks up just a quarter of a time fault. We didn't even know until I asked later if we had a clear round. It was so close and Jamie's such a good boy that they gave us a rosette anyway!
Casual Jumping - UKA at Barguse March 2009
Games classes include things like Gamblers, snooker, snakes and
ladders, power and speed and time fault and out. All the rules of the
games can be found in the UKA regulations. You will need to study them
carefully before you enter any of these classes.
UKA shows are run a bit differently to Kennel Club shows. When you've walked a course you generally tick a sheet to let the ring party know that you are there and that you will be running your dog in that class. In the smaller classes (around 50) or less they will wait for you if you're held up somewhere else so that you don't miss your run.
After your run you can ask for your result. Scoring is usually done on computers and if you wish can check your results at the secretary's tent when the presentations have been done for that class. You should find all the results sheets neatly laid out in ring binders so that you can just flip through them and don't have to ask anyone.
The picture on the left shows huts with the ring numbers 3 and 4. These were provided at this show to for the scorers to record the results. If a scorer is not too busy you could ask for your result but if they are under pressure it might be best to leave it for a while.
All clear rounds gain points for progression and you will get a clear round rosette. At UKA The judge doesn't give the rosettes and trophies so you'll need to listen out to the tannoy so that you know when your class results are being read out. The prize giving is all done from the secretary's tent. If you miss the prize giving you can always pick up your rosette later in the day.
We love the UKA shows. They're very relaxed and often a bit smaller than Kennel Club shows. I hope you and your dogs have fun at them too.
More information, rules and shows etc. can be found on the UK Agility website.
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