Yesterday was the first USDAA trial I've been to in years. My very first trial ever, 6 years ago was usdaa, my first Q ever was in the games class Snooker. I do like this venue overall. A few more runs a day, some different challenges in the course design.
It's not for everyone though, jump heights are tough for a lot of dogs, it's not venue that you see a lot of non-traditional breeds. The small dog classes (at least around here) are tiny. At the masters level there were only 4, 12" dogs competing, just weird. Part of that is the cutoff is closer to the AKC 8" cutoff. Dogs must be under 12" to jump 12". I couldn't decide what height to enter Indy, she's done a bit at 12" but we've focused more on 8" since that's her AKC jump height. I didn't want to over face her, and cause her to loose confidence, so we entered 8" in the "performance" division. In the future we'll most like enter 12"
It is a different atmosphere, to a point that makes me a bit uncomfortable with a tiny dog. Warm up jumps were set up out in the open in crowded areas, we weren't using them, just too risky. things were also really lax about dogs being on lead. AKC has become kind of nuts about this, if you carry your 5 pound dog out of the ring and are still in the process of attaching their lead as you leave, you will lose your Q, or if the dogs natural momentum at the finish carries them out of the ring, even if they turn back right away you can lose your Q....that's excessive and just adds unnecessary stress. But I really hate seeing dogs, not attached to leads other than with their mouths tugging outside the ring, in a perfect world where everyone really knew their dogs and payed attention to their dogs, it wouldn't be an issue, but that's never the case.
We'll definitely try more usdaa in the future though, I think it will be a nice venue for Indy once she grows up a bit.