Main points: after much argument last year over jump heights, they decided not to change them after all. Same cutoffs for next year. So cutoff for 525mm jump height stays at 500. Which I think is a very interesting decision and I can't quite decide how I feel about it. One one hand you've got a height which is low enough that "small" border collies can compete over it, but on the other hand they have left all the "medium" sized border collies in there too, and the jump height is pretty easy for a 19.6" tall dog. I do think it is hard to create the perfect category - I'm not sure this is it, but I am sure that 525 is a much better height for a dog of Kiba's size than 550 would be. If they had not lowered the height, I probably would not have even considered applying with her. The 25mm/1.5" doesn't sound like much, and really Kiba might have been OK at 550mm, but it would not have occurred to me that it was a viable option if it weren't for all the arguments FOR including the smaller section of border collies, kelpies, etc - and it was the WAO organizers who made those arguments. At the time, a year ago, they argued that the dogs who garnered placements were all right near the cutoff, and therefore the category was unfairly skewed towards dogs at the 500mm shoulder height. This year, I think it was no longer true that dogs near the cutoff won the most placements, and so perhaps that is why they left it the same.
Another issue with lowering the shoulder height cutoff is that you will severely limit the number of dogs that slot into the category. On our team, I think 2 out of 5 dogs in the 525mm jump height would be too tall if it was lowered to the originally proposed 485mm cutoff. That would also effectively make the 650 height larger, and it is already the largest height.
So I think leaving it the same is an acceptable solution, although for border collies and similar size/shape dogs, having 525mm for a 500mm tall dog is a pretty easy jump. It sounds like a tiny change, but maybe something like a 490 cutoff might be a good answer, that should be around 19.25" or so. But then, I still don't think a 19.4" dog should be *required* to jump 26. So again, no easy answer, I have lots of thoughts on the subject, but their current solution is not awful, and seems more fair towards smaller dogs in the category than the old height did.
Another thing that changes for next year is that the win-on dog must be entered in both Pentathlon and Biathlon. This means the team can either take one win-on spot dog for each jump height and enter both those classes, or may have TWO win-on spots, and enter one dog in each of those events. Since our USA win-on spot is at the UKI US Open, and lack of qualifiers and location of the final makes this event difficult and expensive for most of the east coast to attend, I think it would be a bad move to give 2 win-on spots to that one event. I should mention, if I wanted to go to a qualifier, I would either have to drive multiple days each direction, or fly to one. For a USDAA equivalent, that would be like flying just to go to a local Grand Prix qualifier. Just doesn't make sense. Too much expense. I will take my chances on being selected, as will most of us in the eastern half of the country. So if they assign 2 win-on spots, then that's almost half the team... and may rule out too many good dogs who weren't able to attend, simply because our team would be too gigantic to include everyone who deserves a spot.
Anyway, just my thoughts. Word on the street is that the Selection Process document for 2013 will be out possibly as early as next week. I am eager to see what it says. I expect most of it will be similar to last year, but with new management coming, I can't be sure.
|Not my dog, and has nothing to do with the post, but I liked the picture. Thanks Joy!|