SUMMARY: Should USDAA change weave pole spacing?
I've had 4 dogs in agility. Two (so far) have had a bit of arthritis in their necks and/or backs. Don't know that it's caused by agility--two previous dogs who didn't do agility also had arthritis. But I know that 24-inch spacing on the poles is much easier on dogs' spines than the current USDAA 20-21". One of our own club members did some overhead videotaping--unfortunatly don't think it's online. But there are other videos available if you search.
International competition (FCI) now uses 24" spacing. The Canadian associate of USDAA, AAC, is going to 24" weaves next year. AKC and the Canadian equivalent, CKC, now use 24". CPE is probably in the same arena--the current rules stae "21" to 23" from center to center with no more than a 1" variance"--which means that 24" (if they're no more than that) are OK.
USDAA has recently reviewed the topic and decided not to change, and has said that the issue is closed to any further discussion. I have no idea why. Sure, weave poles aren't cheap and not every club can afford to replace them (or every competitor--I'd want to replace my own, and they're just not cheap). But still, I'm a strong advocate for the wider spacing and for consistency (so dogs aren't going from, say, 20" to 24" from weekend to weekend or ring to ring), but I can deal with a phase-in period of maybe a couple of years.
It also presents a different course-building challenge--if you add 3-4" of spacing between all poles, the weaves are now 3 to 4 feet longer than before! But we can learn to live with that, I'm sure.
Susan Garrett has posted about the topic.
and there is now a 3-question survey on whether USDAA should allow 24" weaves. Please take the survey. Please go and vote for the increased space. Even if your dogs seem happy with the current spacing, please consider other dogs whose lot might be improved by the change.