Well we're back from the European Open which this year was held in Hungary.
In the past I've often thought there was a big build up to these international events and then it all goes quite and we get on with day-to-day agility competition and it gets forgotten about for another year. So I thought I'd focus on this event for a bit longer and share my thoughts with you about the significance of attending it.
This first blog will focus on the highlights and the results.
You can find all the results on the EO web site (http://eo.koirankoppi.com/eo2014/show/netti/index.php). But for those of you that just like to see the highlights:
The small / medium team was won by Germany. The large team by Sweden.
In the individual classes: small dog category was won by Tobias Wuiss (Germany), who was also part of the winning small team; Silvia Trkman (Slovinia) won the medium height, and the large dog category was won by Jenny Damm (Sweden) also part of the winning large dog team.
What do these results tell me? All these individual winners are or have been World Champions. So for those people who think this is 'just another agility competition' you're wrong. The only time you'll see FCI world champions and other FCI competitors at the very top of the sport competing in one place, is this event or the world championships. That in itself is incredibly inspirational to watch.
Germany and Sweden are looking very strong and Silvia Trkman continues to show us what incredible dogs she has trained.
Of course there is a lot more analysis on the overall results to take place but in essence these are the key facts for me and if anyone ask who won, there's the answer.
The competition was held over three days the first being team classes, the second individual and the third for finals. There are four rings on the first two days and it's usually held outside at a sports field. Arguably the venues themselves don't lend them themselves to a event of this importance. However, my view is we're there to focus on the actual agility competition.
What makes this competition so attractive to many top handlers and over 30 countries? It's viewed by some as a warm-up for the world championships; it's a great opportunity to give experience of top international competition to new handlers; and it's open to all breeds. So for those commentators who consider the FCI world championships unfair because it's not open to all, this is the event to come and show the skills of any breed of dog.
Other highlights of the event itself for me include: a nice open, friendly and mostly relaxed atmosphere (apart from when one of Team GB are about to run); course designs and judging of a very high standard; a chance to see how the top handlers are performing; a chance to catch up with agility friends from other countries; a great opportunity to introduce our newer handlers to international experience. And of course seeing the top performing GB dogs competing after all the hard work and preparations they done over the last six months.
I hope that gives you a short summary of the results. So next time you're talking ringside and someone says 'oh yes, the EO's, who won then' you'll know its a three-part answer, Germany, Sweden and Slovinia.
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