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Nicola Sturrock
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NICOLA STURROCK, 14 YEARS OLD

LIVES: MARYKIRK, LAURENCEKIRK, ABERDEENSHIRE

How did you start off junior handling?

I started junior handling when I was seven. My sister Jenna and I both got a cocker spaniel and at the first show we both didn’t get anything but we enjoyed it so much that we kept on going. It’s been 7 years now and we’re still loving it!!

Do you take part in any other field (i.e. obedience, agility, flyball etc)?

I don’t take part in any other activities but I would like to try them out. They look so much fun!

How many dogs do you live with, own and show?

I live with 8 dogs; 5 Irish setters, 1 English setter and 2 cocker spaniels. I don’t own any of them to the kennel club but I own my own Irish setter at home ( Chester ).

Which ones do you use for junior handling and why?

In the past I’ve used over 4 dogs for junior handling. First was my cocker spaniel Maizie. I won my first ever first prize with her. Then I went on to show Daniel, an Irish setter but he sadly became ill and  past away earlier this year. Then his half sister Rosa came out. Rosa did not enjoy showing that much so out came Chester, her son. As a puppy he was a real struggle and did not co-operate with anyone. I stuck in with him and he shows really well for me today. I also show him in his breed class.

What breeds have you shown before in competition?

I have shown many breeds as many handlers have: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Hungarian Viszlas, English Setters, Irish Setters, Japanese Chins, Cocker Spaniels, Border Terriers, Dobermann, Rottweilers, Labradors, English Springer Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer and many more!!

Tell us about how to handle (showing style) whichever breed you use most in junior handling classes.

An Irish Setter or any setter should be stacked. Head held up and tail held up to same level as top line. They should move at a medium pace. Not running or walking, more like a jog. You can either put the lead up behind the dogs ears if the dog sniffs the ground, but you can also show on a loose lead.

What do you normally wear in competition?

I usually wear a black suit with black shoes. I used to wear a t-shirt but now wear a fitted shirt.The copper colour of the Irish Setter really stands out well on black.

Tell us about some of your best achievements?

My best achievements would have to be winning Gundogs 6-11 years at Richmond 2003 and at Crufts 2004. Also from that year on I have been placed every year at Richmond and numerous places at other champ and open shows. This is the first year I have competed in YKC stakes classes (where the dog is being judged )and I have now qualified twice for it. I am very pleased again just to be placed in classes as big as 40.

What has been your most memorable occasion so far?

My most memorable moments were both at Richmond and at Crufts. Both were a delight and a shock, but very pleasing. Sadly I didn’t get anything at the finals but just to be there and taking part was great fun.

If you only had one 'top tip' to share, what would it be?

Remember to have fun out there!! If you don’t relax the dog won’t either.

What is your favourite thing about junior handling?

My favourite thing about junior handling is that you meet new friends everywhere you go. It is you and your dog’s day out. Enjoy it!!

What disappoints you in the world of junior handling?

The thing that disappoints me about junior handling is that some judges judge the dog and not the handlers. A child could walk in the ring with a bad representation of the breed it doesn’t matter. If he/she has handled the dog correctly and showed it better than a handler with a champion dog. He/she should be placed higher. It isn’t the dog getting judged it is the handler!!!

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