By now anyone interested in top level dog agility will have read about the Junior European Open recently held in Switzerland. Agility Team GB supported a team of 23 dogs and their handlers at this exciting championships for young handlers.
I’m pleased to say we came home feeling very successful with podium places in both individual and team events.
The level of competition was extremely high. Most of the courses were comparable to our championship level and would give any top adult handler a good run. Once again the medium height dogs were honoured with the toughest courses (IMO). Our young handlers took on the challenge and really competed hard and focused to produce their own best possible performances.
For the first time there were three age categories this year. I felt this was a good change and made it a more level competition, especially for handlers under 12.
The work, support and effort required to get each handler and their dog on the start line is an incredible commitment by so many people including: parents, dogs owners (sometimes not the parent), trainers, sponsors, team vet, coaching team, physio etc. etc. Seeing so much joy on the handlers face as they crossed the finishing line made it all worth while. I’ve heard it said many times that its more nerve racking watching than running – I’d agree… and that feeling never subsides.
So now I need to repack my bags ready for the adult team’s turn. They’re off to The Netherlands next week for the European Open. I’m equally excited about this competition too. The team have worked incredibly hard this year at both official team days and their own training sessions. Once again I believe we have a strong team who have developed close team relationships and support networks ready for these championships.
I intend to ask some junior handlers to write a blog which will be interesting reading.
You can read more about our successes at the JEO on the KC media pages here
Apologies for the quality of the photo’s these were quick ones taken by me