In my earlier post this week i made a concious decision to be positive and stay away from any controversy from the weekend. Typically i have changed my mind - nobody gets to take a jibe at my husband in a public part of an agility website without me answering back - issues can always be resolved civilly and in an adult way, but going so public is just not on if you don't want an answer.
At the weekend D came in for alot of criticism over his courses - especially Grade 1 &2 - people complained they were too hard and were very voracious about their complaints. I accept that they were not your usual Grade 1&2 course, requiring some handling. However all the handling skills were basic turns, infact most of the course could have been done on one side if necessary. Dairin got his 10% clear in EVERY class he judged. Everyone who knows D, knows they will not get the 'norm', yet he continues to get judging requests and lots of them state they are asking him because he sets challenging courses.
We also had alot of people thank us for the courses but of course this is never heard or remembered by the masses who want the 'dirt'. So what do i feel the need to get of my chest...........
On the Sunday, one judge had a class won by a dog that had faults as none went clear - any complaints about the course? No. The same judge had another class that had no dogs go clear in the time, so was won with faults - any complaints this time? No. Why no complaints? Could it be that this judge has been on the circuit for years and everyone respects him too much to say something? Possibley (i also respect him, and love his courses - i don't think there was anything wrong the courses!). So should Dairin not be afforded the same respect?
Also on the Sunday another respected judge set a course that was such a blast that the amount of clear rounds was nearer to 60%! Any complaints? Yes by some people who were dismissed and ignored - why? because they were saying the course was too easy! No handling skill was needed - fastest (collie)wins.
Dairins first G1& 2 course was tricky - it wasn't a blast - it needed handling - those people who have steadier / consistent dogs loved it, they actually stood a chance! His second course for the same level was a blast and favoured the manic dogs - so he covered all types of dog in those grades - something to suit all.
One of the complaints was that how did a tricky course motivate grade 1 handlers? Some grade 1 handlers go to shows, see the usual blast of course and their hearts sink - they will never get their steadier dog round fast enough to get a place - another clear round - that is not motivational to them, why are we only considering the fast dogs? It is no different as you go up the grades - different courses suit different dogs - Dairin prefers tricky courses with Boo, I love a blast with Raq! Do we complain? No - we take the challenge that is given to us and attack it.
2 questions i would like to pose.
If handlers are so adamant that specific types of courses should be set for certain grades, then why are we not pressurising the KC to lay down guidelines as to what manouevres are allowed at each grade?
Secondly - if you walk a course and you can't do the simplest turns....why are you not questioning the standard of training you are receiving?! Should you be competing?.
If i have a dog that is retraining its contacts, i tell the handler not to do any agility runs at a show until its ready. So if your dog is not ready to be asked to turn - if you are concentrating on working ahead - then you shouldn't be in the ring.
I apologise if any of the judges mentioned feel i am attacking them - i am not - i enjoy your courses - i just used them as examples of course variation and the different levels of respect afforded to judges
Finally - Thank you to Cath Cable and Cornwall who supported Dairin on Saturday. Also to those of you who came up to him and said you'd enjoyed it. Cath you were a very kind show Secretary who looked after all your ring party's and managers - and even your judges wives and babies!
I hope i am like you in May.....