Richmond JHA Semi-Finals
Hounds 6-11 years
Firstly I’d like to thank all the handlers in this group, they were all appropriately dressed and very well turned out despite the weather conditions that beset the morning. All handlers listened to and responded to my requests and were polite and courteous to both their fellow exhibitors and me.
My final places involved some careful thought; I had in mind normal show requirements and did not request any fancy or unusual patterns or uncommon show procedures. I had some sympathy for the handlers with young puppies who did present extra problems to their handlers but I found it difficult in some cases to assess handling ability with these exhibitors. Whilst I appreciate that it is lovely for youngsters to handle their own dogs I think at this level maybe some thought should be given to handling a more experienced dog in order that the true handling ability of the youngsters can be displayed, I must congratulate them all though on maintaining their composure under trying circumstances.
1st Charlotte Dalgarno. PBGV. Charlotte carried out her task in a quiet and efficient manner and her dog was well handled at all times, she was always ready for me to inspect her exhibit when required. I also noticed she allowed her dog to relax at times which I think helps as they are not then over-handled. When asked to move she carried out the requirement at the right pace with precision and remembered to check my positioning. Charlotte was attentive with a pleasant manner and very well turned out.
2nd William Croxford. Elkhound. A close decision between 2nd and 3rd, two young men who were both immaculately turned out and handled their dogs with confidence and style. William was very efficient in his handling and did not over handle his freestanding charge; at the end of the movement phase he allowed the dog to come to a natural stand and was able to position himself to give me a clear view of his exhibit. At the last minute his dog sat down but in a quiet and efficient manner, he corrected this without losing his composure, an enthusiastic young man I noticed he was the first to congratulate the winner and I’m sure he has a promising future in the junior ranks.
3rd Luke Johnston. Whippet. This young man handled very well and made the task look easy he was attentive to both his dog and surroundings always ready to show his charge, again quietly efficient another youngster who should have a successful future.
Mrs Dee Hardy
WORKING 6-11 years
It is some time since I last officiated in this capacity and I was more than delighted at the high standard achieved by so many of these youngsters.
Thankfully the era of prancing prima donnas seems to have vanished and the vast majority of those I judged were extremely capable and on the evidence of their expertise here, will soon be making a name for themselves in the competitive arena with the adults. In fact one young lady , Toni Gillman, who was third in her class in the 12-16 class went on to win 3 firsts under me in her breed classes!!
That the standard is now so good speaks volumes for those who dedicate so much to their time and effort to schooling these youngsters and they must feel a real sense of achievement when they see their protégés performing with such élan.
1st Connor Perks handling a Rottweiler. I liked this young lad a lot. Quiet, unassuming, talks to his charge in a low soothing voice, unobtrusive but effective. His dog was always standing correctly, clearly adored being with him and on the move he never rushed the dog, just went at a speed which showed the dog to best advantage as a good handler should. No excessive hand or arm actions, just plain, simple but so effective handling. And like his charge he was so smart in appearance, understated but immaculate.
2nd Daniel Mooney another young star in the making and he too was handling a Rottweiler. Again we had a true partnership and the rapport between dog and handler was a joy to watch. This dog simply loved being with his “boss” and the boy’s pride in his dog was evident in his expression. He too showed great control of a powerful dog, moved it well and it showed it’s head off for him. How satisfying is that!
3rd Samantha Reeve handling a Newfoundland. This little blonde girl was immaculate in her attire, her red suit enhancing her dogs appearance and she really did a grand job a controlling such a powerhouse on the move. Appearances can be deceptive and this almost Dresden like figure showed remarkable control of her charge when he seemingly got the scent of a bitch in season which must have been exercised in the ring before judging. How thoughtless of some prat but well done Samantha.
4th was Lauren Mackay, 5th Jasmine Plunkett and 6th Tilly Shakeshaft.
Working (Aged 12-16 years) (13) This really was a hotly contested class and I remarked afterwards that if I were still actively showing dogs, any one of the final 6 could have shown my dogs for me, they were that accomplished.
It is difficult to split such quality but in the end I fell for the calm, understated brilliance of Hollie Kavanagh who showed her Doberman to great effect. She did it with such composure, no panic buttons when the dog moved out of position, just an eagle eye, self belief and the ability to project her charge to it’s best advantage whilst seeming herself to be almost an accessory. That’s the true sign of a classy handler.
Chasing her closely home was Amy Anderson handling yet another Rottweiler (honestly, I don’t overdose on the breed!. Here was another youngster with such authority and control, ever attentive, watching my every move, ensuring her charge was always looking it’s best and like Connor, she moved at exactly right speed to be effective and keep control.
In 3rd place was the afore mentioned Toni Gillman with her Siberian. Heavens above this one can shift around the ring demonstrating her dogs best asset to advantage and if someone was to tell me she has served an apprenticeship with any of our best regarded and successful handlers, I would believe it. She is another who has that ability to communicate with her dog, that something magic which children seem to have in common with their animals which gets the very best out of them.
4th was Jayne Perks, 5th Leanne Roberts and 6th James Rogerson.
Finally my thanks to all those who showed. Stoicism from those who didn’t win and it was a joy to see such happiness from those who did succeed. I enjoyed my time with you.
GUNDOGS 6-11 years
I must congratulate all the handlers on their handling ability and the very sporting way they accepted my decisions – keep up the good work.
1st Heather Brawn handling a Clumber Spaniel beautifully and with such kindness. A real natural handler. Did everything I asked correctly and without hesitation. Very well tuned with her dog – they looked an excellent equipage. Well done & Best of luck in the Finals!
2nd Jemima Milford handling a pointer to a very high standard. Presented her dog confidently and performed all the tasks asked with ease. I particularly liked the way she moved in perfect harmony with her dog.
3rd Ruth Cole handling a Golden Retriever. Another very competent young handler. Showed her dog so well without over handling. Moved as asked at sensible speed. Very good rapport with her dog both showing and on the move.
HOUND 12-16 years
What a nice start to a day to judge a group of young, clever and dedicated handlers. All winners in their own right, having made their way to these semi-finals –and I must add that I would not have been embarrassed by sending ANY of these handlers forward to the big Final at Discover Dogs.
I think Liz Cartledge and her crew do an excellent job organizing these events, so important for the future of our sport and what I perceive as an ageing group of breeders and exhibitors .Joe Cartledge, whose brainchild Junior Handling classes originally were, would have been proud of you all!
We need young people in this sport- so make sure the door is open whenever they want to come in !!!
1. Fiona Mycroft handling a Whippet.This young lady showed all the ingredients it took to win this strong class .Polite, attentive and friendly towards the judge.Treating her dog with sympathetic authority and respect ! Concentrated on her dog, while all the time keeping an eye on the judge.Whether she was standing or moving.
It was a cold and wet day- a weather no Whippets like- but Fiona made her look better and better as the class went on. Looking pleasantly confident- knowing what she was doing. Some people are born with a talent for handling- I suspect Fiona is one of them.
Good luck at the Finals.
2. Victoria Endean handling an Afghan. Another young lady doing a great job and handling her dog with competence both standing and moving. Did a great job in style and in unison with her dog. Always keeping an eye on the judge and listening to my instructions.
3. Ebony Owen handling a Deerhound.. Again a young lady who seemed to know what she was doing. Moving her dog at the correct speed, following my instruction and all the time . Treating her dog with respect and really made a very sympathetic performance.
All photos by Alan V Walker
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