Emilia over­came in­jury to claim Euro­pean third spot with Squiffy

Leek Post & Times - - NEWS -

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.

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