THIS MONTH Marina Scott chats to YKC member Leanne Roberts, 16, from Stone, Staffordshire, who not only shows her dogs but races them too.
MS: How many dogs live in your home?
LR: I live with my Mum, Dad and brother and our eight Siberian Huskies.
MS: How did you get started in showing/working with dogs?
LR: My grandma has shown dogs for the past 30 years and after buying a first dog, as a family we decided that we’d like to have a go at showing. After a few years our pack increased and we went along to some working events to see what it was all about. It was great fun and we were hooked instantly. My first personal experience on a rig (three wheeled bike) was head-first into a tree, however this didn’t put me off as I have been racing for the past four years.
MS: What activities are you involved in?
LR: Since turning 16 I have moved into the adult classes where the competition’s greater and the courses are longer and more demanding for the dogs and musher. I have been showing my dogs since I was ten, competing in YKC handling, YKC Stakes, JHA handling and breed showing. I work my dogs (dry land racing) throughout the winter from November to March each year.
MS: What has been your biggest success in these activities?
LR: My biggest achievement in racing was last year at the Forest of Dean where I ran 2.6 miles with my dogs in the dark with only a head torch and spotlight to guide me. I have been lucky enough to be able to go abroad and show dogs for other people. I have competed in both breed and handling classes in Holland, Belgium and Ireland. My greatest showing achievement was when I was placed second in a very large handling class at Bleiswijk 2008.
MS: Tell us about how you are involved in racing?
LR: The sport of sled dog racing is really enjoyable. It is heartening to think that the dogs that we own are competing in a sport that they were bred to do. Working with them as a team gives you a sense of pride and achievement when you cross the finish line.
MS: I understand you have just started judging?
LR: I’ve been judging Siberian Huskies for the past 18 months and handling for two-and-a-half years. I was accepted on to the Siberian Husky Club of GB C-list in June and have fulfilled three judging appointments to date. I always wondered what it would be like to be a judge from a very early age and I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. I also wanted to help nurture younger handlers in the art of correct junior handling.
MS: What have you been up to all summer?
LR: Over the summer one of our bitches was lucky enough to whelp seven beautiful healthy puppies, which has taken up most of our time this summer.
MS: What do you hope to do as a career?
LR: My ambition for the future would be to work in animal ecology and wildlife conservation.