Thora Van Der Stock (Belgium)
I am a 38 year agility judge from Belgium. I started agility in 2004 with my first dog Chen, a tervuren shepherd. I started as a judge assistent after a knee fracture caused by my crazy tervuren who took the fun part of agility a little bit to literally. In 2015 i became FCI judge. When designing a course I try to create save and fair lines for the dogs and some technical points to let the handlers think about the best lines. I love watching teams attacking the course and enjoying every second of their run. It’s a great honor to be invited and get the trust as judge for the EO and the BCC in my own country. Looking forward to see all those happy, enthousiastic faces and wagging tails.
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” ― Randy Pausch
Jeremy Manno (Belgium)
Hi, I am Jeremy! As a Border Collie enthusiast and rookie judge, I am very honoured to have been given the opportunity to judge 2022’s Border Collie Classic!
My agility story starts as a young boy who tagged along with his mother to her weekly dog school training on Sunday with our first dog Nara, a mixed breed who we adopted from the animal shelter. After discovering agility and taking a liking to this special hobby, my mom and Nara started competing at a recreational level. It was there that she noticed the great amount of Border Collies and fell in love with the breed. A few years later we had our first Border Collie, Meadow. She was supposed to be my mom’s training partner, but as a means of trying to get the teenage me outside of the house in the weekends, I had to follow the occasional training with Meadow. After getting our agility license in 2009 and playing our first competition, I was immediately sold, which lead to me basically “stealing” the dog who was meant for my mom… Oops!
Years later in 2013, my very first own boy River was born. As easy going and calm as Meadow was, so intense was River. Every training and competition was a challenge on its own, all or nothing. Often it did not go well, but the moments it did, were extremely rewarding and made me never give up. Unfortunately due to injury, River had to retire from agility at the age of 7, but currently still enjoys his days herding sheep.
In 2020 I welcomed my second boy, Ven, into our family. A young, wild and smart little thing with a huge heart. We recently got our agility license in 2022. Our story is still to be told, but I am looking forward to writing it together!
During my years competing, I developed a passion for drawing courses and was always happy when I got the opportunity to place one of my creations on the training field. I loved seeing how clubmates and their dogs ran them, which made me want to go further. In 2019, I became a national judge in Belgium at the age of 25, and international FCI judge in 2021. Drawing courses has since been one of my favourite pastimes, with the culmination being able to build these courses at competitions and watch teams exploring them, all day long.
To those who have managed this long read, thank you! I will leave you with one last message, a quote from one of my favourite songs which I have held on to for a long time: “I could’ve gave up then, but then again I couldn’t have, ‘cause I’ve travelled all this way for something…”
Stefanie Semkat (Germany)
Sari Mikkilä (Finland)
Marleen Haeneefstingels (Belgium)
- My main goal is to design courses with a fun twist to challenge both, dog and handler -
Hi, I am Marleen Haeneefstingels, founder and active trainer at "DogPower" and FCI judge. I got passionated about Agility almost 30 years ago. I remember seeing this beautiful bond between man, dog and obstacles and I got intrigued. Being a dogperson myself, I wanted to learn more about this " funny game" and so I bought myself a pair of good running shoes and started training and competing with my own dogs (medium and large). I still compete whenever I get the chance and still love it. But that wasn’t enough, I wanted to learn more and at the age of 28 I was a "college girl" again and enrolled in multiple educational courses of dog behaviour and agility. Doing what I love most and following my passion has lead me to the start- up of my own dog training facility: "DogPower". Up and running for 16 years now.
On that green field, with or without obstacles, is where I thrive. I love being the coach and like to contribute to the succes of my teams. I want them to reach their full potential and I will guide them accordingly. Setting up/Designing obstacle courses came as a second nature to me. It is one of my favourite activities and I always take safety in account. Those who have ever trained with me on that green field will agree: I'm a straightforward woman who plays by the rules.
All those experiences made me to what I am today: a licenced FCI judge. My ultimate goal is to rise the bar. To take things to a higher level. Always with that fun twist in mind. I am honoured to be one of the judges at the Border Collie Classic.
A big thank you to the organisation for hosting this marvellous event.
See you all at BCC2022Agility in Belgium!