Friday, March 27, 2020

Down but Not Out!

Well yesterday, our national agility championships were cancelled. They were scheduled to be held in Aug at a major equestrian centre near Calgary, Alberta, called Spruce Meadows.

I, like many young girls, was very pony mad when I was growing up, but with six kids there definitely was no money for riding lessons.  I loved westerns and horses all the same. As I grew into my teens, I loved to watch show jumping. Many of the major show jumping events in Canada are held at Spruce Meadows.  Even as an adult, I continued to love horses and watching show jumping. When I was posted to England I was fortunate enough to be able to take riding lessons at the military college and even went, as a spectator, to the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Me and Lightfoot

A hack around the college
So when I started doing dog agility, I found out that the first AAC national championships had been held at Spruce Meadows.  I thought wouldn't that be cool to run agility at Spruce Meadows, perhaps even in the Grand Prix ring I'd seen on TV so many times.

In 2010, agility nationals were once again being held at Spruce Meadows. My Ceilidh had had surgery to have a mast cell tumour removed in Jan 2010. The margins were clean but not wide, there was a very good chance the cancer would reoccur.  By the spring I was feeling hopeful that we had beaten the cancer, we had started running agility again and I had entered her in the regional championship to be held at the end of May. It wasn't to be, the cancer returned in her lymph system and I had to let her go just before the regionals were held. So no Spruce Meadows in 2010.

Spring forward now to 2019, it is announced that the 2020 national championships will be held once again at Spruce Meadows.  My plan had been to enter just Keltic in the regional championships, which I've already done but those championships are up in the air too; still waiting to hear from the hosts about what will happen. I had also already planned a trip west in my travel trailer and have campground reservations booked all the way to Minot, North Dakota.

Two days ago, my sister sent me a link that said Spruce Meadows had cancelled the summer equestrian series and yesterday the organizing committee and the AAC Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the agility championships too.  So no Spruce Meadows in 2020 either.

Keltic - 2019 Eastern Ontario Regional Agility Championship
It's very disappointing not to have a national championship this year as Keltic has never been to a national championship yet and he's already 8 so time is running out on his agility career.  It's not that I think he'd make the podium but it is fun to put yourself up against some of the best to see how you would do.  Keltic has qualified to go to the national championships every year that I've entered him in regionals except for once.  I never entered him for nationals as either I wasn't going that year, I thought Keltic needed a little more trial experience  or I wanted to focus on Beckett. The one year I planned to enter him, as nationals was only an hour away from Ottawa, he missed qualifying by 0.4 points; if he had kept up one more bar all weekend he would have qualified.

All of my other agility dogs went to nationals at least once, Tucker and Beckett placed in some events. Tucker even placed seventh overall in his height class in 2009. Beckett won the Steeplechase challenge for his height class in 2018.

Beckett  - 2016 Nationals

Tucker - Seventh place 6" double drop Veteran 2009
Ceilidh - 2009 National Championships
But not being able to run agility is not the end of the world. I hope that I'll still be able to make my trip out west this summer, I'm holding on to the campground reservations for now. Hopefully in a few weeks, some of the restrictions on movement and travel will be relaxed. If they don't open the Canada-US border, the trip will have to wait for another summer too.


  1. Bummer that you don't get to go to Spruce Meadows this year, Keltic. We hope you don't miss your summer vacation!
    Stay safe!

  2. It's so disappointing when something you've planned for so long gets cancelled. Especially as your dogs keep getting older, and timing is everything. I feel for the Olympic athletes too, for the same reason. I hope your trip west works...I hadn't made reservations at the KOA yet...guess I'll wait a bit to try to do that. I know I can find camping up there even if it doesn't work out to be in the same campground as you, I'll be somewhere near I think. We'll see how it goes!

  3. I, too, was horse-mad when young--but could never have one. Luckily, we had stables not too far, and I could ride and sometimes work there to be with the horses.

    Lots of plans cancelled. Necessary but still frustrating.

  4. It is always great to hear others' passion especially about animals. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Pinot and mom


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