THE JUNIOR HANDLERS 18 under 18
1. Where do you live? Where do you go to school? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Do you have a job? 3. Have you grown up in a doggy family? What is your breed(s)? 4. How were you introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did you start competing? 5. What do you remember about the first time you showed as a Junior? 6. How do you prepare your dog and yourself for the ring? Any rituals? Any good luck charms? 7. How do you assess your competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? 8. What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? 9. Do you have a mentor in the sport? Have you assisted any Professional Handlers? 10. Are there any wins for which you are particularly proud? Any memorable losses? 11. How do you accentuate your dog’s breed type in the ring? How is your breed shown? 12. Are some breeds better suited for Junior Showmanship than others? 13. Is there something that judges should know about judging Juniors? Are all judges the same? 14. Have you bred or co-bred a litter? If so, can you share what you’ve learned from the experience? 15. Is breeding something that you’ d like to pursue? Is breed pres- ervation important to you? 16. What are your goals for the future? Do you see yourself con- tinuing in the sport once you’ve aged-out? 17. Can you share a word or two about your relationship with your current dog? What does s /he mean to you? 18. Is there a funny story that you can share about yout experi- ences as a Junior Handler? ABIGAIL ANDERSON Abigail Anderson has competed with her dogs in Junior Showman- ship, Conformation, Obedience, Agil- ity, Lure Coursing, and Rally. Abigail maintained an outstanding academic record throughout high school while managing extracurricular activities. She continues to do the same in col- lege, completing her second year with a 4.0. She also enjoyed visiting regu- larly at a local nursing home with her therapy dogs. Abby and her English Setter, Austin, qualified to compete in Junior Showmanship at the AKC Invitational and at Westminster in 2019. No matter what Abigail’s future holds, it will be surrounded with her English Setters. I reside in Bailey Colorado, and I attend school at Red Rocks Community College. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? Do I have a job? Dogs are my whole life, and I would not trade this for the whole world. I enjoy the multiple jobs that I have been
blessed with. I have learned a colossal amount of knowledge during eight years of working at a local grooming shop! Over the past few years, I have been able to witness the impact that training can have on an owner and dog. The most enjoyable learning experience, thus far, would be the opportunity to assist professional handlers. Have I grown up in a doggy family? What is my breed? I was not fortunate enough to grow in up in a dog show family. Although my family loved dogs, they were not aware of all the things dogs could do, or the importance of preservation breeding. My chosen breed is the English Setter! How was I introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did I start competing? I was introduced to the world of AKC after attending a local show with my mother. As I watched Junior Showmanship, the evident bond between handler and dog intrigued me. I became actively involved in 4-H and UKC, as I did not have a purebred dog at that time. I attended my first AKC show in 2016. What do I remember about the first time I showed as a Junior? The first time I was able to show in Juniors, I remember feeling extremely excited and beyond grateful that somebody let me use their beautiful, retired show dog. How do I prepare my dog and myself for the ring? I always started the day by washing and blowing out my show companion, and ensuring he was thoroughly walked. Before going in the ring, I would always gait him and stack him a few times to make sure he was moving well that day. How do I assess my competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? Assessing the the competition would add to my nerves. Instead, I tried to focus on showcasing my dog to the best of my abilities and focusing on the happiness of a willing companion. Because I was not born into the sport, I felt as if I were looked down upon. Over time, however, I was able to gain the respect of my fel- low competitors. For the most part, fellow competitors possessed sportsmanship-like qualities. Like any sport, there are always those who do not win and lose with grace. What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? The vast majority majority of judges I’ve encountered seemed to enjoy their assignment! I will always remember watching ringside, as a few judges in particular relished the opportunity to encourage the future competitors of our sport! Do I have a mentor in the sport? I feel exceptionally blessed to have mentors who have taught me so much. Assisting professional handlers has been my favorite learning experience yet! Are there any wins for which I am particularly proud? The most memorable wins during my Juniors career would be: The very first Best Junior that my buddy, Austin, and I were awarded; being awarded Best Junior at our National Specialty; and finally obtain- ing a CDX and RAE with my original mixed-breed dog, Jenny, who started my love of purebred dogs. The most memorable loss would be in the Junior Invitationals at Westminster. Although we did not make any cuts, the experience and journey of making it to West- minster will always be something to remember, and a life lesson to never give up on a short term goal or a lifelong dream. How do I accentuate my dog’s breed type in the ring? I accentu- ated my dog’s breed type in the ring by showing him in a traditional manner, with his lead off when the judge would go over him. Are some breeds better suited for Junior Showmanship than oth- ers? I personally think breeds that present more of challenge make the best Junior Showmanship dogs.
214 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2021
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