8 June 2022
The 16-year-old travelled to the National Hippic Centre (KNHS) in Ermelo, The Netherlands, to compete as one of the youngest entrants. The annual international event was created to showcase the highest level of agility training, human/canine partnership, and athleticism, as well as to acknowledge the dog as an athlete and equally important member of the agility partnership.
Isabella, who is currently sitting her examinations, also trains weekly at Steph and Dalt Agility in Ringwood, and often competes at events most weekends; she took precious time out of her studies, to compete at the Open and said how incredible the competition was. She was very excited to be given the chance to compete, here is her account of the event:
‘The atmosphere at the Opening Ceremony was superb, there were teams from 30 countries including, American, Korea, Canada, Australia and the majority of Europe too! The first couple of days out there we had training times to get the dogs use to the surface, equipment and weather.
‘We had to be up and ready at 5:30am and walking all three courses from about 6-7am and then get the dogs out and warmed up and ready to compete. The juniors ran alongside the adults and competed against them, in addition to the junior competition.
‘I managed to make it through to the second rounds of pentathlon on day two of competing, and for the games section, I finished 10th in the final which I was very pleased about. The experience I gained from watching and competing at an international event was amazing. Furthermore, the memories I made in Holland are something that will stay with me for life, from playing football with the Italian juniors in the evenings, (despite the language barrier we still communicated where to meet and what our plans were for the next evening with a little help from our phones) to standing in the tunnel ready to step out onto the start line with Dust by my side.
‘Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you for all TH has done to enable me to compete. I am very grateful for it!’