The earliest we know of Freckle was that she was a stray picked up by the dog warden. When her seven days in the pound were up, unclaimed, she was due to be put to sleep. However, Ashbourne Animal Welfare (ARK) took her. Freckle is an unusual crossbreed in appearance, who must have been younger than estimated by the staff as she continued to grow (lengthwise!). She is a wonderful character, always full of joy, very loyal and loving.
The staff told me that she’d been living rough and scavenging. Even now, after nine years of regular meals, food is everything to her. She soon decided she wanted to do what Splash (my collie) was doing, rather than our original intention to be my husband’s companion and proved to be a keen and quick learner (sorry husband!). She also loves farm life ‘helping’ with the animals and is always impeccably behaved ignoring sheep and other livestock, though she has been known to try and pinch their food!
Additionally, Freckle has been into school to help reluctant readers gain confidence as she sits with them 'listening' to the story they read. She is a very loving and gentle dog with young people. Freckle loves HTM- we both do and you have never seen a happier dog, tail wagging furiously and a huge smile on her face throughout.
Left: Anne Shuker | Right: Gina Pink
Gina is a National and International Judge and Dog Dance teacher and is also a Kennel Club Accredited Trainer in Companion Dog Training; Competition Obedience and Heelwork to Music as well as author of The Starters Guide to Heelwork to Music – From Starters to Stardom. She has trained many of her dogs to Advanced competition level in both freestyle and heelwork classes but mainly enjoys teaching her dogs for fun and fitness benefits. She regularly posts “how to teach your dog....” on her youtube channel and this year is launching brand new Dog Dance certificates that you and your dog can have fun achieving in the comfort of your own home. For further information on Gina and her training methods please visit www.dogsandblogs.com
I first started in the sport of Heelwork to Music with my Labradors in 2005 – I loved the way that you could enjoy moves suitable for your age and confirmation of your dog joined with music to suit both dog and handler.
Since then I joined two of the Country’s biggest club committees; became a Judge for the sport and have achieved Advanced level in Heelwork and Freestyle with 3 different dogs, taking part in 10 semi-finals for Crufts and becoming a KCAI Advanced Instructor in 2016.
I am looking forward to inspiring you!
Left: Louise Ince | Right: Nicci Hindson
Nicci Hindson & Elsa
Elsa is a dog in a million! I feel so lucky to share my life with her and she has taken me to places I could only dream of and shared in some of the most amazing moments of my life. Coming second at Crufts and World Championships in Germany in 2019 was such a memorable year. Walking out in the Worlds arena wearing our Team GB uniforms was such a proud moment and helping the team to second place overall was incredible. I felt so proud standing on the podium beside the best in the world with my girl by my side.
Making the finals and finishing 5th overall was the icing on the cake. Winning the freestyle final at Crufts 2020 was a real dream come true. I had always dreamt about the spotlight performance in the main arena and it did not disappoint! I remember holding the end position as the crowd clapped and thinking ‘hang on to this moment- this is special.’ Little did I know how precious these memories would be over the coming months. From the soaring high of winning Crufts, we went straight into the national lockdown just weeks later. Elsa came into her own yet again, oblivious to what was going on, happy and full of fun, enjoying our long walks and having me around more. She provided the perfect distraction- when it all got too much we could turn up the music and dance together and forget about the world for a while.
She also became my work colleague, assisting me with online teaching and dancing along in my live streams to keep peoples’ spirits up. As the world opened up again, she fell back into competing and performing like she’s never been away. Her face was a picture when she realised she was at a show again! We look forward to performing for you at Goodwoof.
I have had dogs all my adult life, starting with German Shepherds and then moving on to a variety of breeds including hounds which I showed with a fair degree of success. However, in 1997 I was introduced to Heelwork to Music and eventually decided that hounds were not the ideal dogs for this sport so 11 years ago I bought my first Border Collie and was hooked. I now have three. . I have been training dogs in different disciplines since 1975 but now concentrate on Heelwork to Music and the Kennel Club Good Citizens Dog Scheme.
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