15 April 2013

Lesley and Kath at the International Judges' Conference, Denmark

International Judges Conference
Held at The Danish Kennel Club
12th to 14th April 2013

An early start for both Kath and Lesley as they flew from Birmingham Airport to Copenhagen for the conference. Lesley was to speak on the the subject “How To Judge The Music Interpretation in HTM and Freestyle”, and Kath had been asked to present a talk to explain the British Rules and Judging system. 

The flight was very pleasant and they arrived at Copenhagen Airport at 2 15pm Danish time.  They were met by Emmy Simonsen, the Danish co organiser of the event and as the weather was cold and wet they were taken on an indoor sightseeing trip rather than around the town.

This trip was to “The Blue Planet Aquarium” which is a new addition to the town.  What a magnificent place it was! 
So many different types of marine life were on show in beautiful, huge tanks, all kinds of fish from tiddlers to sharks, plus some Sea lions being trained by their handlers.
Emmy collected Lesley and Kath from their B&B at 10am to take them to her fellow co organiser,  Helle’s house for coffee and walk along the beach with Emmy and Helle’s dogs.  
The weather was a little dismal, misty and raining, and still snow on the beach, but the dogs did not seem to mind that at all!   
 They raced over the sands, paddled in the sea and had a wonderful time.

Walking time over, Emmy drove them to the Danish Kennel Club building where the conference was being held.  It was time to change from sandy shoes and jeans into something more respectable!

Delegates started arriving from many countries, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden.
It was decided that Lesley would take and answer questions as she went through the presentation and although a little slow at times to allow the interpreter for the Russian delegates to do her job, all went very well.  Some interesting questions were asked and points raised and discussed amongst the group.  This was good as the aim of the conference was to allow judges from other countries to compare ideas, discuss, learn from each other and share thoughts.

A summary of Lesley's talk can be found on HERE
The following day the first task was a comparison of the rules from the different countries.  Each country had designated one representative to present the country’s HTM and Freestyle rules which would then be debated so that those there could be inspired by and learn from each other.   Kath had been chosen to perform this task and she was the first to present any rules. 
The next task was to judge some willing volunteer competitors – what brave people to perform their routines to 24 International judges!
 Some performed outside.
 And others preferred indoors.
 But the area was very small for them.
 The judges were seated all around the performance area.
They were asked to judge them using the rules from their own countries.   Performances over, discussion and comparison of marks and they were pleasantly surprised at how close everyone was with 22 of the 24 judges having the same ranking order of the performances.  This was very encouraging as it showed that despite some differences in criteria and methods of marking we were all of a similar opinion.
This was very encouraging as it showed that despite some differences in criteria and methods of marking they were all of a similar opinion. 
After lunch they were ready for the next item on the agenda.  This was a talk by Behaviourist Karen Strandbygaard Ulrich on “Calming Signals”.   A summary of Karen’s presentation can be found HERE

The final day and final talk was by Vet, Dog and Horse Chiropractor and Animal Acupuncturist Charlotte Frigast about Health and Safety in our sport.  A summary of the talk can be found HERE

After lunch, lots of “goodbyes” to friends past and new, Emmy drove Kath and Lesley to Copenhagen  airport for their flight home.

A very interesting weekend, with thanks to Emmy and Helle for organising this conference.  This was the culmination of two years of hard work from them, and a simple “thank you” does not seen to be enough somehow.

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