The OEC Meeting held on 22nd Oct. 2011 in Denmark

You can download the minutes from the meeting here!
Thank you to Kath Hardman for taking notes and typing them up for us.

You can download the OEC 2012 Rules here!
These are the rules that the representatives agreed on at the meeting and which will come to force at the OEC 2012 in the Czech Republic.

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Show Report by Jackie Clarke

Firstly I have to say that it was a real honour to be invited to judge at the Open European Championship 2011. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Denmark  and we were looked after impeccably well from the moment we landed in Copenhagen airport to the time we left. I have never flown before and had always had a certain amount of trepidation at the thought! However, my friend Sandra who also competes in HTM said she would go with me as she has flown lots of times, and I couldn’t have done without her. So, I applied for a passport, and Denmark was to be my first adventure out of my country!

The guest house where Sandra and I and also Anja, the Norwegian judge were staying was very clean and comfortable. The company all weekend was great. Thank you to whoever made our lunches at the competition (that was Laila Clausen) and to our dinner hosts Emmy and Iben for taking us out each evening for a very tasty meal. It was much appreciated. I haven’t eaten so much  in a long time!

Thank you to Emmy again for giving up her time on Monday to take us all sightseeing and shopping before our return flight.

On to the competition, which revealed some fantastic routines with a variety of breeds which proves any dog can excel at this sport. There were many routines which were performed incredibly well which made judging very difficult at times, especially in the finals of both HTM and Freestyle.

The Heelwork routines that stood out for me were Karen Sykes with her working sheepdog Iatka Spring Spangle (GB) working to ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, the accuracy and attention of this dog is fantastic as was the interpretation of the music.

Thierry Thomas from France with his border collie dog Ubac also did a fabulous routine using music from ‘Zorro’ which was exceptional in all the requirements.

Anja Christiansen from Denmark performed to ‘The Avatar Theme’ which was expertly interpreted with fast changes of pace very well performed.

The Freestyle routines, again Thierry Thomas with Ubac, his dog. He had a lot of props but used every single one to tell the story of a Gladiator fight and was very moving when he was injured and the dog helped him up and they ended as friends. This dog worked on his own away from Thierry with immaculate expertise.

Russia’s Galina Chocgovadze with her Border Collie performing to ‘Hava Nagila’ was very fast and  the audience ended up joining in and clapping to the music.

Great Britains Kath Hardman and Lesley Neville whose routines flowed well and  were expertly timed and interpreted. Excellent routines from both.

Other Freestyle routines which brought a smile to my face and had humour and fun in them were Russia’s Olga Kuzina performing to ‘Blue Canary’ with her lovely bouncy chocolate Labrador, where they were trying to catch the bird and the dog ‘caught’ it in the end and put it in Olga’s net. A very colourful and happy routine.

Minna Estemaa from Germany with her Malinois performing to ‘Bad Boys’. I liked the bark on command when Mina was trying to think of a way to get the case of money from the dog who was guarding it. They both looked to be having a lot of fun.

A move I was not so keen on was a dog ‘handstand’ where the dog, a border collie,balanced on it’s front legs and nose on the ground. The dog seemed happy enough to perform it ,but I’m not so sure repeated attempts at this move (to perfect it for competition) would not cause stress on the shoulders and spine of the dog eventually, especially as a collie has a longer back  than some dogs.
I felt more of an ‘ow’ than a ‘wow’ when I saw it. It is not a natural move for a dog and I think that is why I didn’t find it so impressive but that is only my opinion..

Emotional moments for me were  Belgiums Luc Daems performing to ‘Music was my first love’ with his white GSD and Hollands Bregtje Hut with her border collie performing to ‘You raise me up’, both with emotional endings.

The moment when Team GB stood as winners of the Gold for Great Britain in Heelwork to Music, to hear our National Anthem was very moving and I felt so proud of them. Well done Kath and Amber, Karen and Fly and Lesley and Angus, a very well deserved win. Well done also for all your freestyle routines that were also a credit to you and GB.

I loved the White dog routines before the start of the competitions as it seemed to settle everyone in before the competition started.

Thank you to every one involved in making the OEC such a great success from beginning to end. It all ran like clockwork. Also for all your hard work leading up to and during the week end for making this a most memorable event for me. It was a privilege to be part of it. My special thanks to Emmy, who although she must have been so tired, kept smiling until the moment we said ’good bye’ and was a perfect host throughout.

Jackie Clarke

All photos by ASTA Photo

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Team GB on Radio Derby

Team GB on Radio Derby! 
Kath, Karen and Lesley’s interview is on at 0.41.16

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Esther with Jamie – Our OEC Experience


The Monday evening after the Open European Championships my Sheltie Jamie and I arrived home, pretty exhausted but full of inspiration from the wonderful competition that weekend. We had a great time and enjoyed every second of it!

I look back at the OEC 2011 with much pleasure; it was great to see a lot of the people I met at the World Championships in Denmark last year again, and also to meet quite a few new Freestylers as well.

I really enjoyed watching all of the routines, in both HTM and Freestyle. Wow, some of them were quite amazing! Congratulations again to all the winners. To me everyone is a winner by the way, no matter what your result was. Everyone should be very proud of themselves and their dogs; all of you were great!

Obviously, some of the routines really stood out for me. In HTM for example I loved Anja and Queeny with their Avatar routine; it was beautiful and so emotional. I also really liked our dressing room companion Thierry’s routine with Ubac. Thierry WAS Zorro. From Karen and Fly I loved their perfect position work; it was so nice and tight!

In Freestyle it was again Thierry with Ubac that I really liked, with their Gladiator routine (despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of so many props in the ring); their routine was so fast and well executed both times! But of course I was also rooting for the only Sheltie in the finals: Sini and Sonic with their beautiful Alice in wonderland routine; I loved that very much, wow! Our Belgium Friend Jules with Matisse were briljant too! And then there was Catherine AKA ‘Marilyn’ from Russia… she and her dog were great as well! Thankfully I wasn’t judging; how hard must that have been to choose between so many good routines!

A thing that I noticed during the weekend was the great atmosphere at the event; there was no rivalry (like which can be the case in other dog sports) but friendly competitors that supported each other, no matter what. We should definately keep this attitude going!

My own little Jamie had a blast at the event, in the ring and out. Unfortunately he was very happy to let everyone hear how much fun he had and also was a little jumpy, hehe, so our placing was not very high. I liked what they said on the blog about him being ‘full of beans’ (= very energetic), haha. That is totally true! Maybe I should have made him a little more tired before we entered the ring ;-). Despite his barking I had a lot of fun competing with Jamie in the ring with our two routines. I think we showed everyone that we love to dance together. Freestyle is fun!

I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Emmy and the team of organisors for a very smoothly running OEC. Also to the helpers for their hard work, to the judges (you must have had such a hard time!), the other participants for their company and inspiration and of course to all of the supporters who came along to cheer! It was great to spend time with all you guys.

I hope to see everyone again next year, at the OEC 2012 in the Czech Republic!

Esther & Jamie
Team Holland


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The Open European Championship 2011

Sandrine Mullie

If I had just one word to describe the Open European Championship 2011, it would have to be beautiful! The hall looked beautiful, we saw some absolutely beautiful routines and the atmosphere was beautiful. The OEC 2011 is one of the most wonderful HTM experiences I have ever had. Thank you to all who supported the event and helped make it very special.

36 HTM routines and 35 Freestyle routines were performed in the team rounds and 10 dogs and handlers qualified for the Individual Final each day. Judges were Jackie Clarke from England, Anja Schüller Magnusson from Norway and myself from Denmark.

It was a great honour to judge this competition. The quality of the routines was amazing, which made the judging difficult – I could not give everyone a 10, so points were deducted for the smallest of inaccuracies and less than perfect details. Congratulations to all OEC handlers on choreographing and performing some outstanding routines!

A couple of routines stood out for me, not necessarily because they were winning routines, but because they made an impression on me in some way.

On the HTM day it was Thierry Thomas and Ubac’s (France) dramatic Zorro themed routine. WOW – lots of fast changes of pace, position and direction, all 10 positions used really well and with accuracy and what a superb musical interpretation. It was a breathtaking routine.

Thierry Thomas

Karen Sykes with Iatka Spring Spangle (GB) was also fantastic. Their routine was very different from Thierry’s. It was an elegant slow pace performance with impeccable musical interpretation (Hernando’s Hideaway). If there was anything to fault this routine, it would be that we only saw the team work at slow pace. I would have loved to have seen different paces in the choreography, but the choice of music did not really allow for this.
Karen did give us a bit of a scare in the final, when Fly was very close to crossing the 2 metre line, but Karen took a step forward and the 3 judges agreed, that there was never more than the allowed 2 metres between dog and handler.

Karen Sykes

Daniela Siskova with Aurora Piranha Rainy Love (CZ) performed a wonderful routine to music from the musical Evita. I loved their ideas for this routine. They had a suitcase as a prop and set the scene of travelling with a few freestyle moves in the beginning of their performance. They then went in to heelwork and showed a variety of positions before a touching finish back on the suitcase grieving over the death of Eva Peron.

Daniela Siskova

Christel van Boven (Belgium) with her beautiful German Shepherd Dog showed some lovely heelwork to the music ‘Oh Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. I would have love to see a bit more variety and some change of pace – I think the music did ask for it, but the end of their routine was stunning and very dramatic. The dog was in a beg in front of Christel, who gently touched the dog’s shoulders with a sword before bending down in front of it as the music ended. I know it has been seen and done before, but it just worked so well with this music and it moved me.

Christel van Boven

The last HTM performance I want to mention is Lydia Bisonette from the USA with her Doberman. They performed a routine inspired by ballroom dancing. I just loved the idea behind this choreography. The music started with a speaker introducing couple number 6 on the dance floor. Then some dance music and Lydia with her beautiful Doberman Ginger Van’T Duinezicht did an imitation of ballroom dancing. A great part of the routine was performed with the dog walking backwards and it was very hard for it to keep up in the sudden turns, so the accuracy was not this performances’ strongest side, but I did feel very entertained and I think that is an important part of our sport – to be able to entertain the audience and the audience certainly loved this routine.

Lydia Bisonett

Helle Larssen with Doggie and Anja Christiansen with Queeny are both from Denmark and WOW they were great at the OEC, especially in the Individual Final. Both Helle’s ‘Wilkommen’ (Cabaret) and Anja’s ‘Avatar’ have high Show Quality and their musical interpretation is superb. Well done girls – you made me proud of being Danish!

Anja Christiansen

In freestyle the routines that really WOW’ed me were:

The winning routine Thierry Thomas from France with Ubac. They performed to music from Gladiator and what a stunning routine that was! Complete with Gladiator fight, and injured Gladiator, the dog helping him and an emotional ending when the Gladiator and the dog made peace. The ring was full of props, but they were all used well. A very accurate presentation both in the first round and in the final, no hand cues and the routine was packed with content that all seemed relevant to the story and the musical interpretation. Wonderful. This team really was the winner. No doubt about it.

Thierry Thomas

Jules O’Dwyer and Fjurdyhoeve Flynn from Belgium performed a fantastic routine to music from Oliver Twist. Lots of content and another very accurate presentation especially in the first round. I have never seen the “tripod” move used in a routine before, but this team did it beautifully. It is a move that has been discussed as some feel it is unsafe, but having seen it performed, I really can’t see why it should be worse for the dog than any other move. Matisse certainly did not look stressed or uncomfortable about it – in the final she did not want to go back down on four legs again after having performed it – she stayed in the position even after Jules had turned her back to her and was continuing the routine. Jules had to call her again, which did cost them a little deduction in accuracy, but proved to me, that the dog was very happy doing the tripod.
I have also always felt that it would be a hard move to get into a routine and get it to make sense according to the musical interpretation, but Jules managed just that. The move was there because it served a purpose and helped illustrate the hard life of poor Oliver Twist.
Well done Jules – a well deserved Silver Medal!

Catherine Myznikova with Yrzon from Russia performed a marvelous routine to Marilyn Monroe’s I Wanna Be Love By You. Who ever said Marilyn Monroe died was wrong! She just moved to Russia! The beautiful Golden Retriever Yrzon performed a brilliant routine with no help from hand/body cues, it had lots of distance work and lots of work behind the handler’s back. It seemed to make no difference to this dog what his handler did. Catherine could dance around and flirt with the audience, he would just go on with his work. Wonderful dog, wonderful routine, wonderful musical interpretation.

Catherine Myznikova

Elke Boxoen with Gismo (Belgium) had a small piano as prop, which Gismo played on whilst Elke was conducting. They performed a beautiful routine with lots of distance work and I loved that Elke looked so pleased with her dog – she never stopped smiling. True performers – both dog and handler. Great routine.

Elke Boxoen

The 3 best Danish dog and handler teams of Sofie with Border Collie Quincy, Jette with Dachshund Addi and Sonja with Mix Breed Tyson finished in 10th, 11th and 12 place. Very good in this strong class! Well done girls!

Two dog and handler teams were competing at ‘live shows’ for the first time ever at the OEC. Nina Brockie from the Faroe Islands has been doing demonstrations, but there are no competitions on the Faroes, so the OEC was her debut performing in front of judges and WOW what a debut it was! Nina’s lovely sheltie Dido performed a brilliant routine to a piece of music composed by Nina’s husband Jens Marni. Dido coped so well with all the pressure of performing in a huge hall in front of a big audience. It was a lovely routine.

Nina Brockie

The second debutant, Ayala Naor with ‘Nardo’ from Israel coped well with the live audience too. They have competed at video competitions before, so putting a routine together was not altogether new to them. They danced to ‘Going Home Again’ in the freestyle class, but they had quite a lot of heelwork in their routine, so maybe we will see them in both divisions next year?

The Individual Winners were:

  HTM Freestyle
Gold Karen Sykes with Working Sheepdog Iatka Spring Spangle, Great Britain Thierry Thomas with Border Collie Ubac du Mas de la Rabeyrine, France
Silver Thierry Thomas with Border Collie Ubac du Mas de la Rabeyrine, France Jules O’Dwyer with Border Collie Fjurdhoeve Flynn, Belgium
Bronze Anja Christiansen with Border Collie Fæhunden’s Queeny Las, Denmark

Catherine Myznikova with Golden RetrieverYrzon, Russia

 The Team Winners were:

  HTM Freestyle
Gold Team Great Britain Team Russia
Silver Team Denmark Team Belgium
Bronze Team Finland Team Denmark

Thank you to everyone, who travelled to Denmark for the OEC 2011. I am looking forward to seeing you all again next year for OEC 2012 in Prague, the Czech Republic!

Emmy Marie Simonsen
Head Judge

Helle Larssen

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EuroDogSportMagazine about the OEC

About the HTM day – read here!

About the Freestyle day – read here!

Thierry Thomas with Ubac - Individual Freestyle Winners

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YouTube YouTube YouTube

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More YouTubes

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Press Release from the British Kennel Club

Read the Press Release from the British Kennel Club here!


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Sorø Avis Online!

Sorø Online Avis has a big article about the OEC! And a huge picture of Karen from Team GB on the front page!
You zoom by clicking on the paper and the article is on page 9. 

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