Hello and welcome to the Handling Scene, I have been fortunate to get an interview with Robyn Arnall winner of the Junior Handling Finals 2017 and is now representing the UK in the International Junior Handling Finals for the second time! I would like to thank Robyn for taking the time to answer my questions, and I would like to wish you the best of luck on Saturday at Crufts. Please continue to read on as we ask Robyn about the Finals and see what advice she has to give for other junior handlers.
How old are you and where do you live?
I am 17 years old and I live in Northampton.
How long have you had dogs and have been handling?
I have had dogs and been handling dogs for nearly 11 years.
Tell me more about the dog/ dogs that you handled to win the semi finals and the final with?
The Australian Shepherd, Vogue, is owned by Neil and Angie Allan (Allmark). She is 2 years old and the most loving dog ever. She is a very difficult dog to show and definitely kept me on my toes! Her attention span isn’t very long at all, so I had her at my house for a couple of days before the final just to make sure she remembered what I had taught her to do. I am now lucky enough to be campaigning her throughout 2018.
In the final you had to swap dogs, what breed did you get and what did you learn from handling a different dog?
I got a Norwegian Buhund for the swap dog. I have never handled a buhund before, so it was very different for me. I learnt that they are a difficult breed to show. The one I handled spotted its owner and from then on had no interest in me or food and just wanted to get to his owner. Although this happened I stayed calm and kept persevering.
What was the memorable part of the finals and why?
The most memorable part of the finals was definitely the final line up when the boards were out. My heart was pounding, and I was really hoping Vogue wouldn’t move or jump up, which she loves doing at the most important times! I looked out the corner of my eye to see Lisa walking towards me. I just couldn’t believe I had won it. It was a tough competition with the top 14 in the UK. Even now I can’t believe it.
When you compete in the International Junior Finals what dog will you be taking in?
I had a very long list which made it really hard for me to choose just 2 breeds. In the end it has came down to my first choice being a Border Collie and my second choice being an American Cocker Spaniel.
How will you be preparing for the International Finals?
I will be preparing by practicing with my own dog just to make sure everything is as neat and tidy as possible.
Is there any tips that you will be reminding yourself before going into the main ring on Saturday?
Stay calm and enjoy it.
Are there any superstitions that you have before entering a big competition?
Are there any words of advice that you have been given that you always try to remember and who by?
When I was younger I was judged by Neil Hood. He couldn’t choose between me and another handler so it came down to if either of us had a poo bag, which I didn’t. Now I never go into the ring without one.
Who will be there supporting you at the International Finals?
My family, boyfriend and Neil and Angie Allan.
Do you have any words of advice for other Junior Handlers and newcomers?
Practice, Practice, Practice! Enjoy every moment being a junior handler, win or lose. I am gutted I’m too old for it now.
Is there anyone in the world of Dog-showing that when you were younger used to Inspire you? Or you used to train with?
I was always inspired by Jodi Allen. I still am! She always looks so graceful and the bond she has with every dog she shows is always so nice to see.
Also, Felicity Freer. When I was younger she helped me with my handling so much. I can still remember how many times she made me re do my triangle because it wasn’t exactly right! It may have taken me a whole night to get my triangle right but without doing that I wouldn’t have won what I have, which I am so thankful for.
Practice Practice Practice! Robyn is definitely right, A huge thank you again for her taking the time to answer my questions and i hope you all enjoyed reading her answers and learning more about our representative for the International Junior Handling Finals.
From around the country I have received a few wins from various open shows.
Orlagh Lui won the JHA 12-16 class and BJH at Rutherglen Canine Club under Miss Amy Black-Bunce.
At the Isle of Eluy Show, Megan Slack, aged 9, won the YKC 6-11 years class.
Many Thanks to Sue Canton fro sending me the results from The South Of England Papillon Club’s Open Shows.
6-11 years: 1st: Isabella Cox -BJH
2nd: Niamh Nash
3rd : Kara Mason
4th: Bryce Mason
Huge Congratulations to all winners. Please keep sending me you results,as I would love to include them.
If you are looking for more advise don’t miss the next issue of the Handling Scene where I will be passing on the most important pieces of advise from past top Junior Handlers.
Until Next Time.