Emilia overcame injury to claim European third spot with Squiffy
DOG agility ace Emilia Bowers is celebrating – after landing a place on the podium at a major European event.
The 14-year-old was part of the British team that took part in the European Open Junior Championships.
The Painsley Catholic College student pitted her skills against the continent’s best with her Border Collie Squiffy.
Emilia was delighted with third place in the individual large jumping round in a competition which attracted over 500 hundred dogs and handlers from across the world.
She said: “I was very happy with a podium finish. I was just half a second behind a boy from Belgium and two seconds behind the winner from Japan.”
Emilia has trained and shown dogs since she was four and began attending shows with parents Lotta and Kevin at just 10 weeks old. Since then she has won a host of trophies.
The teenager had to raise £3,000 to cover the costs of getting over to Holland and to purchase the British-branded equipment which was needed to compete.
The youngster, from Parkhall, staged four fun dog shows with her family in the build up to the competition in the Netherlands.
Emilia – who used to train in Oakamoor and at the Equestrian Centre in Cheadle – had been a reserve for last year’s championships in Luxembourg but broke her ankle in four places after slipping as she was warming up for the event.
The accident put Emilia out of action for several months and unable to show any of her dogs. But now she is fully fit and looking forward to competing in more events on the back of her success with the British team in Holland.
Most recently, Emilia won the open junior agility championships in March and came second at Crufts with her team and fourth with her own dog.
She has qualified for Crufts for next year and earned Team GB selection again.
She came first and second in the junior final of the British Agility Championships near Milton Keynes in October.
She said: “You need to put in the training, stay focused and work hard to get that connection with your dog.”
Mum Lotta, aged 41, said: “Emilia’s run was amazing. The power and the speed that she produced was incredible. The whole British team set up was fantastic, well above any other country. As parents, we could just enjoy the championships.
“The British were the best team out there and the whole experience was just amazing and we can’t wait to go again.
“For children, the dog agility community is great and a good way to get youngsters used to dogs.”
Emilia is hoping to be in Switzerland for next year’s championships but also has her sights set on the Agility Dog of the Year category at Crufts in March year.
Emilia’s success has now seen her nominated in the Bright Star of the Year category of the Moorlands Heroes awards.
Squiffy belongs to one of Emilia’s friends in London but the teenager travels down every weekend to train her. And will spend a week with Squiffy in the school summer holidays.
Painsley College student Emilia Bowers with her border collie Squiffy.