Monday, November 17, 2008

Getting itchy for the ATChC

Well, not really; that was my attempt at a clever post title.

After this weekend's trial which brought Walter his first two MTR Qs, he is now 2 Qs away from the ATChC title, which requires 3 Qs in each of Masters Standard, Jumpers, Snooker, Team, and Gamblers. One more Standard and one more Team and Walter will have his ATChC. As Walter has been getting closer to reaching this milestone, I've started to get the feeling that it would be somewhat anti-climactic, that I would be left with the "What now?" feeling. (Of course, there are tons of skills that we could use a "little" bit of work on as you can see if you've watched any of our videos!) The ATChC is the last title awarded in AAC, with awards of merit awarded afterward: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Lifetime, each with a requisite number of Standard and Games Qs. For example, the Bronze Award of Merit requires 10 Masters Standards and 25 total Masters Games.

These awards would be something to keep in mind, but they would be much longer-term, at least with our current Q rate. Compare that with Walter's 2008 year, which has been a really fun year in terms of advancing to higher levels and earning new titles.

Well, what should arrive in my emailbox yesterday evening but a long email from the AgilCan yahoo list describing a bunch of changes to the AAC, including requirements for level move-ups, Masters Games titles, and the ATChC title.

A big change is that the Team Relay component has been removed from the Games and ATChC title requirements, and is now (as of January 2009) a separate stream unto itself. What news to receive on the very weekend Walter gets his first 2 MTR Qs! Heh. I'm glad I'm a pretty easygoing person, so this doesn't actually bother me. So, the new ATChC title "will require four Masters Qs earned under at least two different judges in each of Jumpers, Gamblers and Snooker plus three Masters Standard Qs earned under at least two different judges".

Details have yet to be announced on grandfathering and transitioning to the new system. A lot of great ideas for this have been expressed on the AgilCan list; I'm interested to see what comes out of it. Anyway, I think what it means for Walter's ATChC is that he still needs only two Qs: either, under the old system, a standard and a team, or, under the new system, a standard and a gamble (since he already has 4 Jumpers and Snooker legs). Gee, and just after I thought we didn't need to worry about gamblers Qs anymore with his new gamblers title. Again, it comes in handy to be mellow and not get upset about such things :) (However, I completely understand being frustrated about the changes if one has a dog who is close to retirement and has been struggling to get their final gamblers (or snooker/jumpers) leg only to find now that they need two legs in their toughest event. Hopefully the transition rules will consider such aspects.)

Another brand new change is the creation of a bunch of post-ATChC titles which "include “Expert” awards for each game and “Versatility” awards recognizing a combination of skills". I won't go into the details here, but it will be fun to have some more titles to work toward after the ATChC.

Another exciting change is the creation of a new games event, the AAC Challenge, similar to Masters Standard courses but emphasizing "more technical handling challenges". And, to add a more competitive aspect to it, the SCT "will be determined after each height class runs by multiplying the fastest clean-run time achieved in that height class by 1.2." Yikes! It will certainly be fun to watch but I will probably hold off on entering that one for a while.

So yeah, lots of changes to AAC agility for 2009!


Nat said...

ATChC, that's incredible!! I didn't know he was so close to getting it! :)

I haven't checked my email in days and I haven't seen the AgilCan email yet, so am I ever glad I read this blog post. No Team...YESSSS! Does that ever make me happy -- now I won't feel pressured to do Team with Mika to get her SATChC.

LucyandWalter said...

Yep, he's slowly but steadily been getting the Qs he needs. Feels kind of weird as not long ago I used to look at ATCH dogs with a sense of awe and wonder. Now it doesn't seem quite so impressive if clumsy me and methodical Walter can get it too! ;-)

I'm glad you liked the news about Team!

BTW another of the changes is that they're dropping the "S" for special dogs and the "V" for vets from their titles. As they put it, "an ATChC is an ATChC is an ATChC".