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by Brenna Fender
01/02/10

 

United Kingdom Agility Goes International

By Brenna Fender

In 2010, Greg and Laura Derrett will bring their style of agility to the U.S. and Canada. The two, who are well-known agility competitors, have run United Kingdom Agility (UKA) since its inception six years ago. In an expansion of that organization, the United Kingdom Agility International (UKI) aims to “strive for the betterment of agility competition and training for all dogs,” according to its website.

Does America need another agility organization? The Derretts think so. “For a few years now, while doing our seminars in Canada and the States, we have had suggestions and requests from competitors for us to bring UKA here. People have expressed a need and desire for more competitive feel where winning classes counts, but where they can also bring up their new dogs in an environment that allows for maintaining their criteria (by being able to reward their dogs in a true competition environment if they wish) or just being able to go for a steady, clear round. People also like the idea of how UK Agility has offered competitor questionnaires and rule decision votes,” say the Derretts.

North America already provides a wide variety of agility options, but UKI will offer some major variations: 

  • Any run can be used as a training round, and handlers can bring a non-audible toy into the ring to reward their dogs.
  • Titling is run on a point system. Wins and placements will help dogs progress faster (by awarding more points), but are not necessary to earn titles. 
  • Late entries are allowed for all trials that have not reached the capping level.
  • Yearly competitor surveys regarding UKI rules are available.
  • All trials offer online entries with online payments.
  • All UKI competitors will have their own online account to track their results free of charge with their membership. 
  • UKI handles schedules, entries, payments, confirmations, the generation of all trial paperwork, and the uploading of the results.

Other features include a 5'7" A-frame, no judging of up contacts on any equipment, no triple jumps, five jump heights with a “Select” option that allows dogs to jump one height lower than their assigned height, and a special Nursery Class for dogs starting at 15 months old (with no tire, seesaw, or weave poles, a 5'3" A-frame, and lower jump heights).

UKI offers two separate titling programs. The International program requires point accumulation in classes of Agility, Jumping, and Games. The Speed Stake program involves point gathering in classes that have fast, flowing courses made up of pipe tunnels and jumps (with no spreads or long jumps). There are four levels to progress through in both titling programs: Beginner, Novice, Senior, and Champion. Handlers employing the Select option may still title their dogs and progress through the programs.

The Derretts’ plan to begin offering agility to North American competitors by encouraging clubs and individuals to hold sanctioned matches in early 2010. Through matches, competitors will get a taste of UKI and trial-giving clubs and competitors will be able to give feedback on UKI rules. The Derretts then hope to get as many trials as possible scheduled for the summer of 2010 and into 2011. “As we become established in North America, one of our main goals will be to work on instituting safer equipment standards with consistency in equipment specs to meet international standards. We are also big advocates for advancement in technology of agility equipment which we would like to see make its way into the North American market. With a relationship with UKA in Great Britain, it allows us to also look at events between the 2 countries such as done in golf with the Ryder Cup,” the Derretts say.

For more information on United Kingdom Agility International, visit www.ukagilityinternational.com. Following are some sample course.

Beginners Jumping Course

 

Beginners Gamblers Course

 

Beginners Speed Stakes Course

 

UKA Nationals Course

 

UKI Nursery Agility Course