Bevan's blog, November 2015.

Bevans Blog – Agility Meeting November

For me this was my second committee meeting and in terms of actual progress it would rate as my best meeting to date. A little disclaimer – this is my summary of what happened at the meeting. The official record is the agility committee minutes. However I wanted to keep you as updated as quickly as I could about what was happening in the agility admin world

At the top of the list was review of NZDAC from the committee’s perspective. (We will be getting a final report through from the zone 2 committee when they have finalized their accounts) Generally we very impressed with the event. And the fact that the organisers got many of the little things right like rubbish and toilets shows the level of detail that they got into. Some of those things you only notice if they are not done so it was great to see the level of detail. A huge thank you from the agility committee to the zone 2 NZDAC Committee for all the work that went in to making the event the success it was. On a personal note I liked the innovation of one ring for each class as for someone like me running a lot of dogs it made my life much easier! One of the things we talked about was the lack of transference of skills and knowledge from one NZDAC Committee to the next. This is something we want to address for the future with previous organisers acting as mentors for those planning up coming NZDAC’s. The other thing I am going to have to solve – no zone 1 mascot!

2016 Rakaia NZDAC planning is well underway. It looks like this will be another great event. With a great choice of accommodation options all within 40km of the venue don’t be put off by thinking Rakaia is too small to have anywhere for me to stay. Aside from NZDAC we also explored the idea of a National Qualifying event that heats and qualifications are held around New Zealand with a showcase final. The final may be at NZDAC, the Nationals, or even its own standalone event.

The equipment COF process started by the last committee is almost at an end. It was really good to see the support of the clubs in getting all their gear up to a COF standard. We realize it can be difficult for small clubs financially which is why the agility committee introduced the grants process where the agility committee would contribute up to half the cost of getting the gear up to date. We do a lot of talk about equipment being up to COF standard. In reality this just means that the equipment is up the standard in the regulations. Its important to keep the gear at a high standard, and to help with the process COF’s will be done on a 5 yearly basis. This will be done in zones that are holding NZDAC’s so that when we reach a NZDAC we are ensuring that the gear at our national showcase event is both presented to a high standard and is as safe as we can get it.

Technology has changed the world we live in and agility is no exception. Before I go on just some background. At a Huntly show and this is from memory, earlier this year we had judge set an intermediate course with a difficult bit repeated a number of times. And because we kept repeating the sequence, chaos and congestion happened during the walking of the course. After a lot of debate on social media Lyn Sayers decide to set a new trend and have paper courses available at the start of walking of his course a couple of weekends later Over the year this has grown to courses being made available online and in one extreme case up to 2 days in advance. One of our overriding desires is to keep the sport of agility fair. Part of this is access to what the course looks like. To attempt to keep fairness we are working on a new regulation that states that course designs are not available until the start of walking of the course. This means we can ensure that everyone gets a copy or gets to see the course at the same time. And the availability of the course design has to be in a media available to everyone.

We are also looking at changing the AD regulation so that clubs can choose to take entries on the day or close entries when it works for them. At the moment entries for an AD can be taken on the day at Ribbon trials but for a champ show they have to close at least 7 days before the start of the show. As it is not a competition, but a qualification event we could not see any reason not to look at a regulation change to tidy this up. Thanks to everyone that submitted to the Standing orders review. Karen is just working through revising them based on all the feedback we received and will have an updated version for our next agility committee meeting in January.

We started one of my pet projects at our November meeting – building a strategic plan for agility. Much of what we have been doing since I joined the committee has been admin and tidying. This is all needed but we were missing having a goal of what we wanted the sport of agility to look like in 5 years time. Even amongst the committee there was a wide range of views, so even producing a document for discussion amongst agiliteers is going to be a huge undertaking The plus is when we get there we have a real guide for our decision making. An agreed plan for the sport and an agreed goal of where we want to get to is our reference guide for decision making. Every time we do something we have to answer the question is what we are doing going to help us achieve our plan. I know one of my goals is to take a New Zealand Team to the world champs with New Zealand Dogs. Part of this goal is to build a process so this is not just a one off event, but something we can do on a regular basis.

I want to finish off with a thank you to a couple of volunteers that help our sport to run Peter Dewit spends a lot of his own time working on our website and continuing to make it better and easier to use. It’s a resource owned by the agility committee and without Peters input it would not have grown into the useful tool it is today. Thank you Peter The other behind the scenes person I want to thank is Cam for all the work he does with our permanent numbering system. Again this is all done in Cam’s own time, but has created an outcome that makes the sport easier to run, and for show secretaries to automate a lot of their processes. Thank you Cam My last thank you is to the judges in our sport. They spend hours standing in the middle of a paddock, watching us attempt to achieve perfection with our dogs and more often than not look bewildered at the new ways we can screw up their courses! Thank you. And for those of you that may be unhappy with a course, or unhappy with the way the judge operates you now have a chance to do something about it. If you contact Roy he can give you all the details about becoming a judge so you have the chance to show us how it should be done.

Have a safe and good Christmas everyone. I am off to the beach with my dogs and it sounds like a number of other doggy friends! And the good thing is I have assured Joanne she will need to take very little food as I will spend the week fishing and providing food for the table.

Bevan Dale, Chair NZKCAC