Saturday, 11 April 2009

Sweden - Saturday Update

This is my live update from the show, sat in the organiser’s office on my laptop. I have lots of topics that I could write about, but best had start with the agility. I have judged all this morning, and 4 classes yesterday.

Yesterday was a fun day. I saw many people that I knew from Dania Cup last year, which was fun. My first class was agility1 small. In fact my whole day was judging small classes! In Sweden they have policy where one judge can build a course for Large/Medium/Small class, but may end up only judging one of those sections. I judged small jumping 3 and small agility 3 yesterday, but neither were my courses. I was learning it while the course walk was happening!!

Similarly a judge from Denmark had the pleasure of judging my courses for large and medium.

Today was slightly different, as I judged straight all morning, class 3 agility small, medium & large. It was a course with a flavour of England about it, especially after the dog walk, where I had countless eliminations, especially in large. The dogs all wanted to take the jump 11 rather than 10. I spoke to some handlers who confirmed what I thought myself. Because the nature of handling is to move with the dog, standing still and brining the dog round proves tough, especially stepping off the dog walk.

The course was a really challenge and I enjoyed judging it a lot. It certainly proved a test for the handlers, with many rushing the tunnel dog walk section and the jump after the seesaw. A few were clear until this jump as they pushed the dog away round it.

I have some pictures and here is the course plan, as requested by a few people at the show also.

One of the biggest things I have noticed so far on my trip is the use of digital technology within the sport. All the rings are electronically linked from the hub, each course has a computer, giving all the class details, starters list etc, which is in turn linked to the timing. So as each dog runs, the score is automatically calculated (along with the time) and the current up to date results are displayed on big screens that all can see (even me as a judge). It cuts out virtually all human error. No mis-recorded times, tickets in the wrong order or anything like that. It is brilliant. I am sat here now with the organiser of it all, Thomas Szabo (Tiabo) who has much experience of the world championships, and the costs involved are basically transport & time.

Thomas assures me that this system will spread quickly due to its ability to 100% calculate results and current places. Times are never written down wrong (there is a huge LED display for all to see around the ring) and the dogs score is automatically updated.

This really is a marvellous system, however we are at a 2 ring show... So I proposed to Thomas about a 15 ring show at Newbury or the 21 rings at KC festival. He said it would be a challenge, but something he would like to embrace. There is no reason it cannot work on a bigger scale. We will see, or maybe we wont. We Brits are a little stuck in our ways at times, and I personally can see one major flaw. Here everyone runs in their start order, all ready pre-set on the data base, of course in England we don’t stick to a set running order (except Championship) so we would have to devise a system where dogs could be identified by the computer (or start gates) as they enter, or we would spend even longer selecting the right ring number from a very long list!!

Okays, this is possibly the longest blog post I have ever written, but I think it rasies some decent ideas.

Before I go, a huge well done to the LGT members in the UK at TAG show yesterday and especially Miranda & Fly for their win in 3-5 agility, fantastic. I have heard bits and pieces and look forward to hearing more when I get back on Monday evening.

I have two days of training ahead of me Sunday and Monday, should be fun, I certainly now have some idea’s of what we should practice now have judged this weekend.

Everyone here has been so welcoming and it has been really fun so far. Last night we ate a traditional Swedish Easter dish of Herring (starter) and Deer (main). It was really fun and I have certainly met some nice people here.

Best wishes from Malmo – Sweden


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