IT WAS third time lucky for 16-year-old Ashley Place, from Lockerbie, as she took the title of Scottish Junior Handler of the Year last month at Airth Castle Hotel in Stirlingshire. Ashley was handling Rosemary Balmer’s Cocker Spaniel Lochranza Glowing Ember.
Ashley lives with five dogs, two Welsh Springers, one Border Terrier, a Border Collie and a working English Springer Spaniel. She shows the Welsh and trains in obedience with the Border Terrier. Marina Scott found out more about Scotland’s latest winner.
MS: What did it feel like winning the Scottish JH title?
AP: Wow, it was amazing, I did not expect it at all, I was speechless, it was fabulous that my friends and competitors were all so pleased for me
MS: How did you think you performed on the day?
AP: I thought I had tried my best but I didn’t think I had done enough to win but then again I never do.
MS: How did you get involved in dog showing?
AP: Years ago when I started obedience with my Border Terrier my trainer Joyce Grant told me I had a natural flare for show handling so encouraged me to try and when my mum got our first show Welsh Springer Spaniel from Christine Knowles, Menstonia Worth A Chance at Aarminias (Wallace), I began showing on a regular basis.
MS: What type of dogs do you prefer handling?
AP: Gundogs mainly, but Welsh Springer Spaniels are my favourite breed to show although I do like showing other breeds. And I would love to be able to have a go at showing a Standard Poodle.
MS: What is your biggest success in breed?
AP: Being relatively new to showing its probably either getting Wallace’s Stud Book number or PG1 with my new puppy Oliver (Slapestones Sinatra at Aarminias).
MS: Is your school supportive of your hobby?
AP: I have left school and currently attend the Barony College doing animal care so yes they are very interested in what I do.
MS: What subjects are you studying and what do you hope to do as a career?
AP: Currently animal care with a view to do HNC and am just beginning a grooming course so ideally I would love to groom dogs for a career and eventually run my own business doing this.
MS: What do your non-dog friends think of your hobby?
AP: Most of them don’t completely understand what it involves but are quite interested.
MS: Have you started judging yet?
AP: Yes I have had one judging appointment in breed which was Whippets and another pending appointment doing gundog classes at a limit show. I have had one handling appointment and I have another one shortly.
MS: What would you like to achieve in the world of dog showing?
AP: I would love to make up my first Welsh Springer Spaniel champion and hopefully be able to give tickets in my breed and one day judge my breed at Crufts. I would love to start breeding Welsh Springers eventually and make up a homebred champion and carry on the great work some of our breeders are doing at the moment.