Thank you to Pedigree for the invitation to judge at this prestigious event and to Liz Cartledge and her team, for their dedication to the Junior handling events, held here and throughout the year, Liz herself being an object role model and inspiration, to young people.
by Liz Dunhill
I found this appointment the hardest one of my career, and do not apologise for running a little late as I feel these young people deserve all the time in the world. They are extremely brave and talented; they deserve the opportunity to shine. They are our future! I do feel however that the handling styles have taken a turn in the wrong direction.
Handling has become more of a circus than serious breed handling, the realisation that there is life after Juniors, ie in the breed ring, where many ex Juniors have made their mark, as serious breeders and exhibitors. It was with this in mind that I gave my directive to the competitors, prior to the competition. I wished to see handling as per breed ring, with the competitors showing off the breed points of their dogs to advantage, and showing the judge the dog not themselves.
No ballet routines or tricks and pirouettes, just a smooth transition from stacking to moving. It was this which made the good handlers shine.
I wish I could say that I had taught the winner of this competition, as I would be proud of it! As it happens she simply handles dogs I have bred, owned by another exhibitor, from the other end of the country.
I would like to thank the parents and the children for their sportsmanship on the day. I instil in my daughter Michaela that Junior handling is fun it is the dog and breed ring that is important.
Students should be taught to present full dentition to the judge, especially teeth not FLEWS OR TONGUE! Teeth can mean the difference between a show dog or a pet dog.
My clear winner was Hannah Rose, handling a Dobermann. A handler should not be seen, since the emphasis should be on the dog. Hannah was practically invisible. Her calm, composed style was a pleasure to see, her movement patterns were as per the breed ring, giving a smooth transition and flow to her dogs movement. When I moved to the front she showed me expression, totally unhurried, great stacking and free bait. The change over was interesting as I did not recognise the poodle that Hannah was given, as being one of the Veterans. It was a most un cooperative little dog, however, I have to say, it clinched the win!
Speaking to Hannah after the event, she verified it was not one of the Veteran contingent. I suggested that she must thank the lady who kindly donated the dog to the pool as it is harder to show an uncooperative dog than an accomplished showman!! To say that I would have found this Poodle difficult would be an under estimation. Hannah’s handling skills really came to the fore.
She pulled Rabbits out of hats for this performance. She started moving the dog ,then every handler’s nightmare, the dog started with a vibrating pallet. She sympathetically waited for it to recover and moved the dog on a loose lead, to avoid more lead aggravation, and finished the pattern. She presented the dog in a good shape on the table, where she displayed full dentition and on the floor, where she pulled the little dog into a good shape, showing off her virtues.
Handling under pressure sorts the wheat from the chaff, if you have this ability you will go far. I’m sure we have not seen the last of Hannah in our show ring, for there is life after Juniors. I wish you all the luck in the world, but with those skills I don’t think you need it, you have natural ability.
2nd Danielle Jones, handling a Groenendael Super handler with a great vibrant personality. Very much at one with her strong dog which she free stud to perfection. , The transition from stack to moving was spoilt a little by the hand change during motion. A great performance with her change over dog a super Wire Fox Terrier, which she really got to move out beautifully, better than when I saw him in the Stakes(move over Andrew!!) Another young handler with a great future.
3rd Emily Thornton, handling a Beagle. Emily has such great poise, and bearing, displaying total elegance, again with great empathy with her dog, always having it stacked and showing good expression. Would have liked her to have a little more control of the head whilst baiting as the style left for the dog to move when distracted. Emily just needs to learn how to present the dentition, as on the Setter in the change over I only saw the tongue at side bite. Emily is a fabulous handler once the edges are off she will trouble the best.
4th. Stephanie Lansdell Handling a Toy Poodle, Stephanie is a very flashy handler who will always get noticed. She has all of the requirements to go the top, an impeccable performance with her Poodle being totally at one with her. She again needs to present the bites of the dogs to show full dentition. Her moves are good, her change over dog, the GSP, was stacked a little overstretched and she corrected the stance without fuss, showing true professionalism. The lead style of carrying the lead over the fingers with a Poodle is not acceptable with the large dog, and could be a little dangerous to the handler, a large dog pulling could end up damaging the handler’s wrist, resulting in a loose dog. Stephanie is a another good handler.
I chose the next two not because they were necessarily so much better than some of the older children but because they were good for their age group. 5th Kim Hurst, American Cocker Super young handler, with quite a heavy dog, which she managed superbly. I would like to see a little less jumping around the dog on occasions, but she stacked and moved her dog to perfection, re-adjusting the stance on the table.In change over, considering her size and the Dalmatian towering up to waist height she did a great job, especially controlling the dog on the move, with a half check! Which I would find difficult! Well done Kim, you are a brave up for it little girl. Keep up the good work
6th Jamie Giles handling a Westie. Jamie clearly enjoys handling his dog, and had him looking at me at all times. Beautifully presented on the table, a little less moving around could be a good idea, but he moved him at the correct pace for a Westie. On change over he did a great job stacking considering again the dog the Aussie Shepherd, was a large dog. Just lost out to Kim due to prolonged pacing on the move. Jamie is a great Personality all he needs is practice with other breeds. Well done Jamie. A cracking performance.