It is a wonderful experience for all concerned and Im sure you will join me in thanking Liz Cartledge, her hard working team and, of course Richmond for hosting the event. It is always a surprise as to who the judges will be and this year was no different, with a positive mix of older and younger judges all very experienced when it comes to handling.
Last week we delved into the lives of two of our semi finalists, Emily Bradley and Amy Bennett. This week we will continue our in depth look at the JHA semi finalists, starting with Nicola Sturrock. Nicola was the winner of the 6-11 Gundog class under Lauren Vincent, her initial reaction was that she couldnt believe what she had won, she was ecstatic and her face lit up all day! She handled her Irish Setter Rosa and in preparation she had been attending her local ringcraft classes and the person who runs the training class is very involved with junior handling. Nicola said she was late for the class so nerves didnt have a chance, although when she arrived in the class they she kept telling herself not to get her hopes up.
Her Mum is her biggest support in the show world, along with her twin sister Jenna who is another successful handler. The handlers Nicola admires are bother from her area, Shona Taylor and Michelle McAngus. Other breeds which interest Nicola are Cocker Spaniels, Hungarian Vizslas and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. She has been competing for four years and says she cant wait for the final so that she can take part. Her proudest moment in dogs was at her puppys first show four years ago when she entered her first handling class and won! Nicola would one day like to breed her own dogs and show them and her favourite pop star is Shania Twain.
Chantelle Prior handled her Whippet Twiggy to the number one spot in the 12-16 Hound class under Graham Hill. Her initial reaction was wow! In preparation she had been doing general training at ringcraft as well as attending YKLC & UKDHA handling training events.
Chantelle was very nervous before the class so she calmed her nerves by talking to her dog and her lucky charm was a photo of her first dog Heather who has sadly passed away now.
Her biggest support in the show world is her Mum. Chantelle looks up to many handlers whose dogs are always immaculately turned out, including Tamara Dawson, Gavin Robertson, Marita Rodgers, Mike Gadsby, Andrew Gullick and Mark Cocozza, she says so many people are such good handlers!
She likes a lot of other breeds and has three qualified for Crufts 2004, an American Cocker, PBGV & Whippet. She has been competing for eight years and says she is very nervous about the final but also excited. Her proudest moment in dogs was winning BOB at Crufts 2003 with Mrs Randalls Deerhound Ch Kilbourne Celtic at Hammonds and her aim in the dog world is to win BOB at Crufts with one of her own dogs! Finally Chantelle would to thank all her friends in the dog world.
The winner of the 6-11 Utility class was Rebekah Jarvis who handled her Tibetan Spaniel Sox to first place under Lucy Dixon, her first reaction was shock as she couldnt believe the judge had chosen her and then she felt very pleased and proud. Rebekah attends shows every weekend and goes to her local ringcraft club so she can get plenty of practice. She didnt really have any nerves as having competed last year in the semis she already knew what to expect and says that all she could do was try her best. Sox is her lucky charm as they work well together. The two people who have supported her most are Mrs Martina Quest and Mrs Maureen Harvey, they are the breeders of Sox and her own puppy Ace.
The handler Rebekah looks up to in her breed is Mrs Ann Wynward who has been in the breed of Tibetan Spaniels for a long time and she hopes to be as successful as her one day.
She also looks up to Marina White and says she has written a very good book that she would recommend to anyone thinking of starting junior handling. She loves handling Tibetan Spaniels as they are real characters, but she would also like to handle Shiba Inu, Tibetan Mastiffs, Pointers and Welsh Springers.
Rebekah feels a little nervous about the final as she doesnt know what to expect, she is also worried as she really wants to well having reached this far but she knows her family are proud of her anyway. Other than qualifying for the JHA final she gained a first in her breed class with Sox this year and she has only been handling for two years. There are the three canine achievements Rebekah has heart set on, winning a Junior Warrant with her puppy Chenrezi Ace of Diamonds for Tibeck.
Secondly she would like to make Ace a champion and thirdly she says like every other dog handler she would like to win best in show at Crufts. She would like to work with animals but most of all she would like to become a veterinarian. Rebekah would like to thank everyone who has supported her but a special thank you to the judges who have encouraged her and hopes they will encourage others as well.
Finally, Rebekah is a Chelsea fan and her favourite pop stars are Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake, which has just reminded me of something! Last week I told you that Amy Bennetts favourite pop tart was Justin Timberlake, it was meant to read pop star. My apologies to Amy and of course to Justin if you are reading this!
I hope that will keep you going for a week and make sure you have taken note of my new address!