This is going to be a bit long winded, please bear with me. During a conversation with another trialist an idea was mentioned, to which my knee jerk reaction was dismiss. However, it kept flitting in and out of my mind and actually, I think this could work. Its drastic and I know that there are lots of people who will not want this in any way, shape or form. But, please don’t give a knee jerk reaction, think about this, there could be benefits for all.
Firstly – leave the championship stakes completely alone and make no changes. You would still need all the open and championship qualifications to qualify through the stakes.
Secondly – remove the jumps completely from all the open stakes. (I can hear the intake of breath and mutterings of horror already), but, think about this. Benefits:
• People thinking of coming into trials don’t like the jumps. This would give them an entry level. Once qualifying at open they may “get hooked” and try the championships.
• Entries could be from an earlier age, perhaps 9 months or a year, potentially reducing the number of people we lose to other sports.
• If we change the entry criteria so that if you have qualified an “Ex” in the stake you can still enter the open equivalent stake, ie if you have a UDEx you can still enter UD open. This gives the potential for older dogs or dogs that might have had to retire from competing as they can no longer jump, something they can enter. Would also assist dogs which may have qualified an Ex but still need more experience before progressing upwards
• Potential for extra entries
• Doesn’t diminish or weaken the standard of the championship stakes
I have pondered on whether to post this for quite a few weeks, part of me not wanting the inevitable backlash and lets be honest, sometimes its just easier to keep you head down. But, lighting the blue touch paper and stepping back …………….. anyone?
I would say this idea is definitely worth further discussion Sandra. I would agree that it might encourage new people into the sport and once they have caught the bug (and met helpful people in trials that may give the guidance and jump access) to then progress to Championship.
Certainly something to think about - I can see no reason why this wouldn't work. However I can already hear people saying they don't have a problem with the jumps it is the stays or the sendaway or something else and why can't that be dropped!
Another idea I heard and thought useful is to go back to not having the marks in groups. This way anyone whose dog can do one or two of the jumps can still qualify. And, to repeat, more qualifications means more entries.
The following user(s) said Thank You: paul, SandraL
Whilst I agree with Sandra’s sentiments, I can’t help but feel that this subject has been aired so many times over the past 25 odd years with always the same results – nothing changes. The older competitors don’t want to change the sport because a few outsiders say that they don’t like the jumps etc.etc….
To be fair I can see their point. Anything done to make the established five stakes more newcomer friendly would de-value the stakes for all that have qualified before.
However, if we don’t find a way to make this sport more newcomer friendly and reverse the current trend then Working Trials is likely to become a dim and distant memory.
Now, thinking outside the box.
1. Is there any reason why 5 new stakes could not be designed to bring Working Trials into the 21st century. These could be run along side the existing stakes utilising the same judges with the competitors having an either or option when entering (not both)? This way the sport we know and love is left intact and there is nothing left for the purists to veto. After all the customer will let us know which stakes they want
2. Allow competitors to do tracking only stakes. What’s wrong with allowing competitors to enter and do a track, all I can see is a win win situation for the competitor that does not want to do the control and the society that would like a few extra entries. I feel sure that an appropriate certificate could be sorted out.
Thanks for the feedback folks, but judging by the response, nobody is that interested.
I agree with so much of your post Mark, but in terms of de-valuing the qualifications, its one of the reasons I like this idea. Championships stakes would not be devalued in any way. There will always be someone who "loses out" if there are changes (dont get me started on pension changes for those born in the 50s, we def lost out). But considering the most recent stake changes, CDEx, do we really consider those that have qualified before are in anyway devalued? Or those qualifying now as inferior? Your idea of 5 new stakes is not far removed from the idea of no jump opens. But I do suspect that there are a few trial managers who already struggle for land not wanting to run something alongside existing stakes using the same judges, could be difficult to manage and that could almost be done already as a "Special" stake. On that subject, could the popularity of the Special Stake indicate a movement by the silent participants of our sport for change? Who knows, will just keep plugging away and not raise my head above parapet too much!
I'm much in agreement with you. I personally think that the special stakes' numbers will determine the way forward. If a Trials Manager gets (say) 20 entries for a Special but only 10 or so for UD/WD and land is a priority then the Specials might start winning through. It'll take time though …