Olympia to Host Agility Finals
Olympia, The London International Horse Show stages The Kennel Club Agility Stakes Finals, supported by Pedigree.
Olympia, The London International Horse Show (16th - 22nd December 2008) is once again thrilled to be staging the Kennel Club Agility Stakes Finals, supported by Pedigree.
2008 is the 30th anniversary of the dog agility finals being held at the show and there is no doubt that this event has helped agility become a world class sport. Starting in 1979 with a demonstration of dog jumping, it has since grown into one of the most prestigious Singles Agility Finals in the world, equalled only by Crufts.
Five separate finals are taking place this year, starting on Thursday 18th December and finishing on Monday 22nd December.
First up on Thursday is the Medium Dog Agility, for those dogs measuring over 350mm and up to 430mm. 28 heats were held at Kennel Club licensed shows across the UK and the top ten, including a Border Collie, Kelpie, Staffie, Patterdale Terrier, Cocker Spaniel and Sheltie will be at Olympia for the final.
Friday sees the Small Dogs Final for dogs measuring under 350mm, including breeds from Jack Russells to Poodles. What they lack in size, they certainly make up in personality, ability and speed!
On Saturday, it is the semi-finals and final of the original Kennel Club Agility Stakes competition. Thousands of dogs enter the 14 nationwide Kennel Club heats for this competition for dogs eligible for grades 6 and 7 and measuring over 430mm. 36 dogs take part in the semis, with the final being whittled down to ten. Almost all the dogs are Border Collies or Working Sheepdogs but this year there is also a Lurcher and a Kelpie. These really are the athletes of Large Dog Agility so it is sure to be one of the most exciting finals this year.
Sunday holds the semi-finals and finals of The Kennel Club Novice Agility Stakes. This is for Large Dogs measuring over 430mm, but at the time of qualifying must have been eligible for grades 3, 4 or 5 classification of agility. 13 heats were held at Kennel Club licensed agility shows and is by far the most popular qualification event, with up to 1,000 dogs taking part in each of the qualifying shows. The top 35 will come to Olympia to compete in the semi-final on Sunday morning, with the top 10 going forward to compete in the Kennel Club Novice Agility Stakes Finals on the Sunday evening.
Finally, on Monday, it is the turn of the ABC dogs. This is always a great competition with many different breeds competing and this year sees Belgian Shepherds, a Hungarian Viszla, a Lurcher and the Australian Kelpie - or the ‘Australian Rocket’ as some people term them. This is certain to be a fast and furious final!
Judging the agility this year is Championship Agility Judge Graham Partridge, from Cornwall. He has judged in many countries across Europe and is a member of the Kennel Club judges’ working party and a commentator at Crufts.
The Kennel Club also has a stand at Olympia, where visitors can meet one of the doggie stars of the show each day. Also on hand will be various dog agility experts, to offer advice and help if you and your dog are thinking of taking up dog agility.
Tickets for Olympia, The London International Horse Show are priced between £23 and £49 (£23, £33, £43, £49) with various discounts available for groups, seniors and children. Tickets for entry into the Shopping Village only cost £7. For further information and confirmed programme of events please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com. For tickets, call the box office on 0844 412 4634.