Report by Marina Scott
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The second junior handling training weekend with Helena and I was held on 9th and 10th February in the New Haw Community Centre in Addlestone in Surrey. Our first training weekend was held at the same venue in August 2007 where 24 handlers were put through their paces. Word must have spread about the success of the day and this time we had 40 handlers spread over the weekend.
We were blessed once again with fantastic weather on both days which enabled us to take our groups outside into the car park to train. That meant more space to carry out pattern work and the tarmac provided better grip for the dogs.
Each day started with a 20 minute talk from myself which included a little biog about Helena and I, and a talk on presentation of the handler, sportsmanship and etiquette. By this time, the dogs and their handlers were raring to get going on the practical work.
Helena and I split each day into two groups of around 10 handlers, according to ability. Some youngsters had barely even held a dog on a lead however some handlers were competing at the highest level.
In the morning, Helena and I took handlers through patterns and turns. They were taught how to move round the ring in a circle, and then what to do if the judge moved outside of that circle. By the end of the first session, each handler was able to demonstrate each of the three turns, required in junior handling. We used either a cone or a chair to get the handlers to move their dogs in a straight line, when completing an ‘up and down’, some admitted it was much harder than it looks! Following a short ‘juice’ break, we then spent another hour going through the details of the five patterns that may be asked when in a junior handling competition. We both stressed that whilst we advised each handler on how to make their pattern even better, that the other handlers should listen as they would learn something too. I was told afterwards by many parents who were watching their children being trained, that they even learned a lot!
Before we knew it, lunch was upon us and this time handlers were treated to a hot feast of either fish fingers and chips, pizza and chips or chicken nuggets and chips. Helena’s mum and dad, Jenny and Eric were the chefs once again and as usual did a fantastic job. Helena and I were kept busy with more questions and queries from parents especially! The handlers were encouraged to complete a dog quiz which was given to them at the start of the day. The page showed an outline of a dog which then had around 20 points of the dog’s anatomy to fill in. Children also had time to browse the large array of prizes and rosettes, which would be given out later and look through photo albums of Helena and I with our dogs at the height of our show careers.
The raffle then got underway and it took a lot longer than we anticipated partly because there was at least 50 prizes on each day. This was all thanks to June Caffel and her daughter Hollie Kavanagh who had spent the previous six months, begging and borrowing from trade stands at the shows.
Then in the afternoon, Helena and I swapped the groups around and we concentrated on ring procedure and the show pose. Some handlers had brought spare dogs which meant they could give their first dog a break. Some also borrowed other people’s dogs for practice including my border collie Miya. She certainly slept well after the weekend!
There was then another short break before we asked everyone to go back outside where the handlers were spilt into their respective age group classes. On the first day, we were able to have the services of top ex-junior handler Hannah Bouttell to judge the competition. Hannah won a Richmond semi-final five times, was Junior Handler World Winner at the World show in Budapest, was twice YKC Senior Handler of the Year, is now a junior handling judge, trainer and competitive dog groomer. On the second day, Jenny Hutchings, was our judge, who knows just as much about junior handling, if not more, as her daughter!
Whilst watching the classes, Helena and I privately decided upon three special prizes to handlers who deserved either the award for the ‘most improved’, ‘best listener’ and ‘handler who tried the hardest’. A nice crowd of parents and friends watched the handlers performing what they had learnt during the day.
After each class, the judge was asked to write down their placings, so we would reveal the results back inside, where, by this time, it was a touch warmer! We also gave all the handlers a round of applause before heading inside to hear the results.
Each handler who was awarded a placing came up to collect their rosette along with a good clap. The two class winners then competed in the run off for best overall handler. On both days, this award went to the older age group winner.
After a few more words by myself including thank you’s, we then gave out personal certificates and goody bags (provided by Our Dogs) to every handler who took part.
It was an absolutely fantastic weekend and well worth the effort. Every handler improved their skills in some way, shape or form and they were an absolute delight to teach. We are so pleased with the feedback and we have ideas already in how to improve the weekend even further next time, which we hope will be later in the summer.
We also managed to raise £100 which has been sent to the KC Charitable Trust.
The results were as follows:
Saturday: judge Hannah Boutell
10 years and under (8 entries)
1. Callum Harris (9), handling an Alaskan Malamute with great expertise and elegance. Callum presented his large dog to me excellently being aware of my presence at all times but not leaping around his dog in an OTT fashion. He showed me his dog’s teeth clearly and was very kind to his charge whilst doing so. Callum’s patterns were carried out smoothly and in a flowing, but still precise manner. Tip top handling in my books - well done!
2. Charlotte Norridge (10), beagle. Most of the comments made above to Callum also apply to you Charlotte. I loved your attitude towards showing your dog as you were smiley and encouraging at all times but I didn’t feel you were too ‘in my face’ whilst doing so. Carry on the good work and maybe just tighten up that second corner of your triangle a little, but that is very nitpicky!
3. Courtney Gale (10), flatcoat retriever. Courtney showed quietly and without any kind of exaggeration, which I really value, showing the teeth expertly. I’d may be like to see her with a little more confidence and then I think Courtney’s personality will shine through a little more and give a tiny more pizzaz.
4. Jessica Horler (8) Gordon Setter
5. Sarah Catterson (10), miniature schnauzer
11 years and over (10 entries)
1. Hollie Kavanagh (pictured below with judge) (13), making handling a Dobermann look like the easiest thing in the world! Holly has an amazing naturalness with dogs that just can’t be taught and it shines through in her show handling. She quietly but firmly commands her charge, always being one step ahead and therefore always delivering the desired outcome. Holly does not put a foot wrong in presentation on the floor or in pattern work. Good Luck for the future Holly, I’m sure you’ll have a really successful and fun time. Best overall Handler.
2. Lucy Hankey (11), beagle. I think Lucy did a really good job of putting together all that she had learnt during the training day today and flashing a brilliant smile - the warmth which also transferred to her dog as he reluctantly did as he wanted!
3. Marcia Hutchin (13), CKCS. Marcia did everything I asked quietly and efficiently and the compliments paid by myself to the above handlers also relate Marcia. I’m sure these 3 handlers will swap positions from time to time!
4. Laura Camilletti (11), rhodesian ridgeback
5. Samantha Reeve (11) australian shepherd dog
Saturday specials, judged by Marina White and Helena Hutchings
Most improved handler – Abigail Cox, soft coated wheaten terrier
Best listener – Laura Camilletti, rhodesian ridgeback
Handler who tried the hardest – Jessica Horler, gordon setter
Dog quiz winner - Marcia Hutchin
Sunday: judge Jenny Hutchings
It was a pleasure to have been asked to judge and took the opportunity of the glorious February weather to judge outside , which gave the handlers plenty of room to show off their new found skills to their full extent and also gave the dogs a good surface to run on.
6-11 years (10 entries)
1. Victoria Clarke, (11) german spitz
A smart young handler in a neat trouser suit which totally complimented her dog. She handled her dog with a calm and confident approach which was quite obvious in the dog's happy disposition and apparent enjoyment. Patterns were carried out generally well, but just needs to keep her straight up and back a little more on line. Certainly a handler I will look out for in the future.
2. William Croxford, (10) norweigan elkhound
A most pleasant young man who had obviously listened during the day and who presented a most pleasing round, just needs to practice showing the dog's teeth a little more sympathetically and to tighten up on the corners of his patterns. It was good to see a confident young man enjoying himself with his charge.
3. Nathan Mills, (9) flatcoat retriever
Another young man who showed obvious enjoyment showing his young bitch. He made full use of the ring gaiting his dog correctly with lovely flowing movement. Again more practice with showing the teeth clearly and straightening lines on pattern work will see him taking the top spots!
4. Katie Stewart, (11) labrador
5. Lydia Ritchie, (11) tibetan spaniel
12-16 years (12 entries)
1. And best overall handler, Amy Balch, (16) weimeraner
As soon as she entered the ring she caught my eye with her good use of the ring with her big dog and the smooth flowing movement of both dog and handler. Smartly dressed in a neat trouser suit in a good colour which was a most suitable backdrop for her dog. She carried out all I asked in a confident manner to produce a fautless round and in the overall again adapted to the final being in doors and the differing surface and mat layout showing skill. Just needs to make sure her dog is evenly balanced to give the perfect picture even under the pressure of all eyes on her! More of the same at Crufts and here's hoping to see you up in the placings.
2. Beth Holmes (12), whippet
Certainly gave Amy a run for her money in my book. A pleasure to watch, polite and well presented with a calm confident manner. Showed the teeth in a sympathetic manner and had good lines in her pattern work, perhaps slightly tighter corners would give a perfect picture. Another day could so easily see her in the top spot, it was a difficult decision.
3. Rebecca Clarke (12), german spitz
Again another most capable handler who showed confidence with her charge. She carried out all that was asked of her in a pleasing manner, choosing the correct use of the ring for the size of her dog and was aware of my position at all times. Again another handler to watch in the future.
4. Amelia Siddle (16), pointer
5. Kristie Metcalfe (12), labrador
Sunday specials, judged by Marina White and Helena Hutchings
Most improved handler – Tanya Bailey, norweigan elkhound
Best listener – Amy Longbottom, weimeraner
Handler who tried the hardest – Nathan Mills, flatcoat retriever
Dog quiz winner – Helen Long