Chairperson's Announcements

Juddy's Blog

Well, that was certainly a packed AGM this year, thanks to all those who stuck with it to the end, with such significant proposals to debate it was important that we gave them sufficient air time. It might have been the longest AGM in history but it was also attended by more of the membership than ever before with nearly 500 members logging in to listen and vote on the proposals - thanks so much for your engagement, it means a lot. 39% of the current membership voted at the AGM, compared to the last year we used ERS for online voting which was 28%, so it's really encouraging that so many members are taking more of an active role in the decisions that affect our sport. That's not to say more couldn't be done to improve access to decision making and the Committee are now reviewing the association's options as to how to facilitate a vote for everyone that wants to, but this will need to be carefully balanced by affordability and the amount of time our volunteers have to administer it, more to follow.

Some major rule changes were voted in this year which are going to change the look and feel of our sport going forwards. Wider jumps were voted in, and on investigation the Committee see no reason why this cannot be fully implemented by 1 June and all shows running after that date will be on the wider jumps. If TOs are finding it difficult to source jumps in time please put feelers out on BFAMO to see if someone can share, but if you are still stuck please get in touch with the Committee. The ulna measure will have a few more challenges to fully roll out, but like the wider jumps the option for ulna measures will be introduced from 1 June. The roll out will have to be a phased approach as the BFA decides on which device to use, procur enough stock and train measurers to use it consistently; this means that access to an ulna measure may not be available at every single show over the summer; the withers measure will still be available to allow dogs to run at height if they do not have a height card. The evidenced gathered by measuring dogs with the ulna device over the summer will be used to determine an enduring ulna measure conversion chart that protects the height dog going forward and this will be discussed at the next AGM in Oct; therefore no permanent height cards will be awarded to dogs measured with the ulna device until the association understands the impact on the sport. Dogs will not need to keep getting measured once they have the required number at the same height, but final conversion and therefore permanent height will be decided in Oct and height cards issued thereafter. The Committee has established a sub-committee of experienced members, measurers and judges to take this important work forward and they will keep the membership informed of how this is progressing throughout the summer.

In other news, the Committee are also going to revisit the date of the Indoor Champs for 2023 and beyond and try to establish a format for this that both delivers what a Championship event should but is also financially sustainable for the association. After some really constructive debate and discussion on social media in the run-up to the AGM, some poor behaviours have crept back in since. When I look around other volunteer run associations, not just dog sports, I am proud of the way our members engage with each other and are respectful of other people's views, we have definitely come a long way in this regard over recent years, and I would make a plea to everyone, and most especially anyone who is in an offical position with the BFA, to not let our standards slip, and think about the impact of your words before you press post; self-policing is most effective, but the BFA have, and will continue to take action against breaches of our social media policy. It is your association and your rule book, and we have really effective mechanisms to enact change, and enact it quickly, but social media is not the right tool, that is the AGM, and the next one is only 6 months away in October this year and I look forward to your contributions.

The sun has got his hat on again and it's Easter weekend this week and most of you will be getting back out in the lanes, some will have done more flyball than others recently, some will still have covid concerns, so please be respectful of others, please be patient, but most of all have fun with your dogs, they are always trying their hardest, and regardless of what happens, if you're enjoying yourself, so will they.