The object of agility is to negotiate a full course of equipment performed in the correct order and direction defined by a set of numbers.
An electronic timing system records the speed the dog completes the course. The fastest dog to complete the course without error, wins.
Agility is suitable for many types of dog, but is physically demanding and requires thoughtful training to promote understanding and fitness. The correct nutrition is a critical part of ensuring dogs can compete at the highest level and to the best of their abilities. World Agility Open Championships (WAO) Team England 2019 are proudly sponsored by Nutriment Raw.
In my last post, I promised to tell you more about the World Agility Open Championships and the classes that our Team England handlers will be competing in.
There are four events at WAO; Biathlon, Pentathlon, Games and Team. Each event is comprised of at least two classes and runs at all of the four heights that I mentioned in my previous post. Each height has its own competition in each event so small dogs only compete against other small dogs and so on.
This is an individual event. The Biathlon event consists of a Jumping round followed by an Agility round. The combined results of the two classes determine the Biathlon World Champion. One world champion is declared in each jump height. Last year Gemma Haycock and Ruby were declared Biathlon World Champion in the 400 height and they return to the team this year to defend their title. Steven Richardson and Digit gained Silver in the 500 height.
This is an individual event. The Pentathlon event consists of 2 Agility runs, 2 Jumping runs, and a Speedstakes class. The combined results from the five classes determine the WAO Pentathlon World Champion. One world champion is declared in each jump height. Last year Dave Munnings and Fame were declared Pentathlon World Champion in the 600 height and Anthony Clarke and Protest gained Silver in the same height. Anthony and Protest return to the team this year.
This is an individual event. The Games Championship event will consist of a Snooker round followed by a Gamblers round. The goal of Gamblers is to accumulate as many points as possible within the allotted time, and then make a calculated decision which “gamble” sequence to perform to earn the most bonus points. The object of Snooker is to earn as many points as possible within the course time. Each piece of equipment completed successfully has a value attached. The combined results of the two classes determine the Games World Champion. One world champion is declared in each jump height. Last Year Team England gained a Silver in the 600 height with Dan Shaw and Geek and a Bronze in the 300 height with Stacey Irwin- Burns and Sam. Stacey returns to the team this year.
The Team event will consist of 2 Agility runs, 2 Jumping runs, and a Team Relay class. The combined results from the five classes determine the country that will be named the WAO Team World Champions. In the team even last year Team England finished in fifth place overall. The team finished first in Team Agility 1, 5th in Team Jumping 1, 16th in Team Agility 2, 3rd in Team Jumping 2 and 1st in the Speedstakes.
A squad day took place at the end of December which involved a lot of information gathering for entries, accommodation and clothing. This was followed by some team building games and a team meal. The amount of effort and concentration during the games was impressive.
Some handlers and dogs have automatically gained a place in certain events due to the way in which they qualified but the Team Coaches, David Wight and Molly Phillips still have to decide who will be best suited in the remaining spaces and in the team events. The 2019 team this year have now started their pre event preparations, with the first team training event due to take place at the end of February. Clothing is to be ordered very shortly and everyone is looking forward to wearing Team England kit, some for the very first time.
In later posts you will hear from the Team Coaches and some of the team members themselves.
Written by Becky Dixon, WAO Team England Logistics Manager