Thrown in at the deep end by Marina Scott
"MY NAME is Shaylan Sanderson and I am 11 years old and I live in Bodmin, Cornwall. I live at home with my older sister and younger brother and have five dogs - two Pomeranians, two Chihuahuas and a rescue Dalmatian crossbreed who we fostered and then adopted.
"I go to ringcraft, St Austell and District, every Thursday evening with my grandma and have learnt from going there and I want to thank Carol Bardsley especially for her guidance and for the use of her lovely Keeshond that I sometimes handle.
"I used to accompany my Grandma and the Poms to dog shows as I do love all dogs but when I was nine I first stepped into the ring or should I say "thrown in at the deep end!Ē
"The two Pomeranians entered in the stakes classes were going to clash so I went in with one, totally unprepared having never done it before. I was so nervous I even stood on the wrong side of the table to stand the dog at first but I must have redeemed myself as I came second in a big graduate class and won £75 too. That was it for me, I no longer wanted just to spectate and help out, I wanted to learn to compete and get involved.
"I do show in breed and junior handling and YKC but as yet I have never competed at a championship show in handling. This is to be rectified at Paignton I might add! Sometimes at shows I get asked to handle a different breed for someone if they have two in one class or in the challenge and I love this as it broadens my experience. My favourite place to walk the dogs is called The Beacon and itís a massive area of grass and paths where the dogs can really enjoy themselves. I go to the lane at the back of my house to practise the more serious stuff!
"My best achievement I think so far is qualifying for Crufts in limit bitch at the first attempt and also for my first YKC appearance at Crufts 2012 where I got a fourth place in my age group. My most memorable time was going to Richmond semi-finals last year for the first time and coming third. These summer holidays I will be going out for day trips with my family and also attending a handling seminar in August in Devon which I am very much looking forward to. As I will be 12 in November I will be moving up to senior school in September and I hope they will be as supportive of me as my junior school has been when I do well.
"I like everything about dog showing; from meeting up with friends that I only see there, watching others in the ring and competing myself, trying to improve a little every time. When show days come around I help prepare the dogs and get all the stuff ready to load in the car and on the journey I am anticipating what competition I will have when I get there!
"Obviously I love to win but try not to be too unhappy if I donít and ask myself what could I have done better? Itís like all competitions in any sport or hobby, you win some, you lose some! The whole day is exciting and when I donít have a show coming up I really miss it all. But I have to say that dog showing has allowed me to build up my confidence levels. The thing I would like to say about improving my hobby is that I wish younger children could go to seminars to learn more about the show scene as at the moment it seems like you have to be 16 or so and I have a long wait.Ē