AGILITY & FINLAND

by Vendula                                                                                                           31/5/2020  •  7 min read


I have to say that Finnish are people with really BIG HEARTS! However, there are some facts you should know about the real Finnish nature. Let´s check some “Finnish nightmares” for better understanding. Once I’ve learned about all the below I felt sorry for all my Finnish friends cause they must find me as kind of a nightmare. Anyway, I love you!
 

Finland is a beautiful northern European country full of deep green forests,  rolling hills, and glittering lakes that cover most of central Finland. I am sure, that you’ve already heard saying that Finland is the land of a thousand lakes. True true! There are about 168,000 lakes and 179,000 islands. Although Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe it is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.
 

I was so lucky to visit this country five times already and there is still so much to discover. For now I fell in love with Aurora borealis sometimes referred to as polar lights which is a natural light display in the Earth's sky. It seemed to me as a miracle every time I saw it. 

Another specialty are reindeers, they can be seen almost everywhere, especially in the north of the country. They live freely even though each one reindeer in Finland has its own owner!

 

Have you ever heard of Husky Safari? Dog mushing is definitely a very interesting way to get around in Lapland! You can try dog sledding in the Rovaniemi area full of husky dogs. When I was there, there wasn’t enough snow for sledding, so at least I could experience how they keep them in a form during the year. 

 

And hou-hou-hou  I will stay up north, cause there, where you can cross the magical arctic circle, lives Santa in his Santa Claus Village. He is a real human being. I swear! You have to wait in a line to see him, but once your turn comes you can even talk and take a picture with him. The funny thing is that most of the people waiting in the queue were adults, at least when I was there. Adults from all over the world, with big smiles on their faces, were waiting hours and hours to see him. And me too. :)

 

And well, I can’t forget the sauna. Almost every Finnish house, apartment or cottage has a sauna. The sauna ritual seems to be as normal as drinking coffee. Anyway, when I came “home” after all-day training or judging and then went to sauna and made a few naked snow angels, I slept like a baby, and the next day I was brand new Vendula. 


And what about Agility in Finland?
 

The first time the Finnish dog audience got to see agility in action was at the Finnish Winner Show 1986 in Helsinki. The presenters were beginners, too: the rumor has it some of them tried the equipment for the first time on-site! 

 

The Finnish Kennel Club invited Peter Lewis, British dog trainer, to train the first agility judges in fall 1987. Unofficial shows were organized in many cities from early on, but the first official agility show was organized in March 1989. The show was held in Helsinky in an inside hall just like a small event side by the dog show. The most popular breed that we could see there was Airdale Terrier and of course there was a mix of different breeds competing as well. For example German Shepard, Rottweiler, Belgian Shepherd Malinois and Groenendael, Border Collie, Bearded Collie, Pumi, Kelpie, Border Terrier, Sheltie, Poodle etc. 

 

Fun fact is that obstacles used in this competition were homemade and brand new, made just one week before the competition to be as representative as possible. The first Finnish Agility Championship was organized the same year. From that moment agility in Finland became popular, but the real boom came after the year 2000 when there was, for the first time, the World Agility Championship held in Helsinki and the Finnish television broadcasted a reportage from this event.

 
Agility World Championship 2019, Turku

Nowadays, Finland is the country with one of the highest number of agility competition licenses. At the end of 2019 there were 5600 registered licenses !!! License is issued for a handler, not a team, that means that even if you compete with two or more dogs, it counts as one license. So once we are talking about agility teams, the number will rise even higher. Actually we are talking about 14 000 teams in a country with 5,5 million inhabitants. Amazing!

 

There are 54 agility judges and around 200 competitions per year in Finland. The interesting fact is that once you want to compete there you will pay per run and not per day. It means that actually you can choose which runs you want to run and pay just for those. So if you are for example still not done with running contacts, you can compete just on jumping courses. There are many professional agility and dog trainers in Finland and they also have their own agility magazine Putken (what means tunnel in Finnish) to keep everybody informed. 

 

There are many outside training places and as well many indoor halls in Finland. The biggest one in Kuopio has 3900 square meters so four proper competing courses fit there!!! The indoors are mostly heated with really cool amenities such as toilets, showers, a bar...

 

Hell yeah, Finland is real agility heaven.

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Our winter training in Finland, February 2020.
We had a great opportunity to train with Juha Orenius in his hall next to Helsinky. ❄️ The outside temperature was minus 10’C, the inside temperature was 0’C but while I was running I felt it was TOO hot. 🔥
And I am also really grateful for another opportunity to train in Finland. This time with great Elina Jänesniemi. 

Everyone you meet has something to teach you. ❤️

PS: Big thanks to my dear Jessi Landen, my close and one of the very first Finnish friends. We were talking together about Finnish agility. How it all started, how it is nowadays, and a lot of other small talks. Yes, she is Finnish and she loves small talks. <3

Thanks to guys from Pitkospuu Productions for their beautiful Finnish asses and photos. 

Also thanks to all my friends for sharing pictures from their agility road with me.I appreciate it a lot!
 

For more Finnish nightmares check their FB @finnishnightmares


Vendula

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