Crossing the Channel to compete
A lot of preparation went into Susan Rekveld's journey to England! She travelled all the way from The Netherlands to Cornwall to take part in the K9 Easter show at Wadebridge. To find a hotel which has a specially adapted room for wheelchair users which also accepts two dogs - even service dogs - was not easy, but accomplished! Her mission was to make contact with other disabled handlers to encourage them to take part in the 7th ParAgility World Cup in Italy in August and, of course, to run dogs.
Due to the fact that I am confined to a wheelchair, my dogs and I seemed to a few more obstacles to take compared to regular handlers. First I needed Authority to Compete (ATC) numbers for my dogs from the Kennel Club. I applied, paid by internet and received them just one week later by post.
On Wednesday 19 April, my husband Leon, our two black Labrador Retrievers Quita (8) and Joep (3) and I started our journey from the Netherlands to England, staying overnight t in Calais ( France). The next morning we came to the first the international control point for the dogs where we had to present our special rabies vaccination certificates. Next we travelled by train via the Channel Tunnel to Folkestone - only 35 minutes - and then there was another 510k to drive to Bodmin on the left side of the road. In Europe we drive on the right-hand side of the road, so that was very strange for us!
And then we were there
I was competing with my two dogs - Quita (8) the oldest one and Joep (3) my younger one. Joep is a Starter so he was running Grade 3. Every day we did an Agility and a Jumping course.
In the Netherlands, Quita is considered a Veteran which is seven years old plus, but in England this class is for nine years olds plus, so she could only run Special Anysize Combination classes Grades 1-7 and that meant she only did two Jumping classes.
For us, it was the first agility-match after the winter so Joep was very enthusiastic - sometimes too much so! He had a clear round but with some time faults. Quita took home a Clear Round Rosette!
We were not lucky about the weather. It was very cold and we had a lot of wind and rain, hail and even a snow storm, but it was all part of the experience. It was most impressive to see Philippa, sending her dogs through the course. I have a lot of admiration for her!
In 1996 she saw a television program about dog training and decided to try agility- training with her dog Cindy, a female black Labrador Retriever, then five years old. Susan already had some experience with Obedience training because she had trained her dogs to assist her with picking up things from the floor, opening/ closing doors and shopping etc.
In 2001 she entered her first agility competition with another black Lab called Quita who has proved to be very capable for dog sports and seems to enjoy agility very much. Then in 2002 they took part in the 1st ParAgility World Cup in Hungary and came back as Champion of the Large dogs group, rewarding her for all their training.
In December 2004 she got her third black Labrador Joep - this time a male. In 2006 he took part into his first agility-match in the Expo Hal in Gent ( Belgium). He was very enthusiastic, so they we have taking part into more matches.