Started by Mike Shaw back in the 1990s, the Welsh Handler of the Year has run for a number of years as part of the Pembrokeshire County show. The competition, open to dogs of all sizes and grades run by Welsh handlers or people living in Wales.
With the welcomed and valued support of Welsh-made dog food suppliers Burns Pet Nutrition, Agility handlers from all over the principality were invited to stake their claim to the title of being Walesís top Agility handler in the Burnís Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of The Year, held this year at the Pembrokeshire County Show. The contest was watched by some very enthusiastic crowds who cheered on the participants in great spirit.
The WHOTY is an annual competition, open to any size dog and consists of two parts - an Agility round, judged by Robin Gretenkort and a Jumping round judged by Steph Matthews.
Once again most of the 'usual suspects' joined us with previous contenders in good positions after Day 1.
Our Day 2 ring programme provides the Burnís Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of The Year pride of place in the County Showís feature ring and, once again, the competition did not disappoint. Those in the top 10 from the previous day ran in reverse order of merit, adding a frisson of danger to their runs. Could they reproduce perfection in the second round.
Two past Welsh Handlers of The Year - Susie Josty and Joe Barnsley - were in contention with clears while Dani Smilie was hot on their heels. My current favourite named dog Final Reduction with Helen Fairchild were there and thereabouts. Who would triumph under the pressure?
And what a final it was!
Handler experience, dog on form, Welsh sunshine and cheering crowd all combined for an exciting final. In the end, having won the Jumping round and coming 2nd in the Agility, Susie Josty was the overall winner, taking the title for the second time. Her dog Cool Beans certainly lived up to his name.
Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year 2017 Winners
We are indebted to the generous and continued support of Burns Pet Nutrition at Pembrokeshire By The Pond both at the County Show and on Broadhaven beach, a unique event in the European Agility calendar.
Burns Pet Nutrition is an award-winning pet food manufacturer based in Carmarthenshire. Led by Veterinary Surgeon and business owner, John Burns, the company specialises in natural, healthy pet food for cats, dogs and rabbits.
Each year we hold the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year competition at the Pembrokeshire County Show. This annual competition is open to any Welsh Agility handler who wants to stake their claim to the title of being Wales's top Agility handler.
Day 1 was Gentlemanís Day and the judge was Ian Hutchinson. Back at Pembrokeshire by The Pond to defend his title was James Davies who was Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year 2015, He decided he needed three dogs to give him the good chance to retain the crown. His strategy worked with Touch of The Blues as they held 5th place after Round 1.
Barrie James was a Welshman on a mission. More than four seconds faster on an Agility course, he went into the overnight lead with Mendipstar Rumour Has It.
With the Welsh sunshine holding, Day 2 was the Jumping course under judge Lorraine Walchester. Those in the top ten were held to run in reverse order of merit, thus adding a frisson of danger as they tried to reproduce perfection in the second round. Some of the names in contention included Roberta Powell, James Davies and Sue Powell.
Roberta Powell and then Emma Lewis took the lead. Touch of The Blues could not reproduce yesterday's performance, and it was all left to Barrie James and Rumour, running last, to lift the trophy.
Handler experience, dog on form, Welsh sunshine and crowd willing them on gave us all the components for a well deserved win and, save for a brick in the wall, magic would have happened. You could hear the ahhhhh across the showground and the deflation around the ring was palpable.
So Emma Lewis and Megatron Hufflepuff became our 2016 Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year Champion. We reckon Emma will be back to defend her Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year title at Pembrokeshire by the Pond in 2017.
Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year 2016 Winners
We are indebted to the generous and continued support of Burns Pet Nutrition at Pembrokeshire By The Pond.
Welsh Handler of the Year Crowns New Champion
Pembrokeshire by the Pond would not be the same without the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year competition. Open to all Welsh Agility handlers, the competition, is held annually over two days, and allows anyone to stake their claim to the title of Wales' top handler at the Pembrokeshire County Show. Last year's winners Emma Haines and Diagemtas Dexter were back to defend their title along with several previous winners of the Welsh Handlers of The Year. And so 2014 was set to be the toughest competition yet of the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler.
The Day 1 Agility course, set by judge Iain McDonald, sorted the men from the boys / women from the girls. Past winners Emma Haines, Rosie Cavill, Jo Barnsley and Mark Douglas were all there and thereabouts, ready for the Jumping competition the next day. Rosie Cavill and Ag.Ch. Fieldspy Leana, our 2011 and 2012 Champion, topped the 100 competing partnerships in Round No.1, which clearly showed her intention to reclaim the title.
Overnight it also became clear that well-placed Mark Douglas was under added pressure as he was handling Derwen Mollie for the injured Marilyn Wiseham. He was definitely in with a real good chance as he was lying 2nd after the Agility round.
Running the top 10 in reverse order over judge Emma Carswell's Jumping course didnít prove too challenging for Sue Powell who had a very successful time at Pembrokeshire by The Pond by finishing with two dogs in the top 10, Avalia Black Cardamom taking 2nd and Dream Time 3rd overall.
Mark Douglas and Mollie set a good pace running in penultimate place to post a very fast clear round with only Rosie and Ag.Ch. Fieldspy Leana able to beat them. Under that pressure, Rosie pushed a little to hard and Ag Ch Fieldspy Leana rolled a pole at the 5th, allowing Mark to take the 2014 title.
Congratulations then to Mark Douglas with Derwen Molliethe 2014 Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year Champion. Thanks to the generous and continued support of Burns Pet Nutrition. No one is sure whether Marilyn will allow Mark to run Derwen Mollie again next year but, no doubt, he will be back to defend his Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year title at Pembrokeshire by the Pond in 2015.
Started by Mike Shaw back in the 1990s, the Welsh Handler of the Year has run for a number of years as part of the Pembrokeshire County show. The competition, open to dogs of all sizes and grades run by Welsh handlers or people living in Wales, took place 13-14 August at the County Showground, Withybush, Haverford West. This year it was sponsored by Burns Pet Nutrition, and it didn't disappoint.
Attracting some of Wales's top handlers, nearly 100 partnerships took part to stake their claim for being Wales' top handler. The 2-day format, which has been running at the Pembrokeshire by the Pond show for the last two years, had the desired effect upon the competitors with mounting tension being felt all around the ring.
The first day saw an overnight surprise leader on Darren Stokes' Agility course, with Marie Louise Parker and Lowri O'r Byrn Mawr heading up the leader board. Emma Haines with Diagemtas Dexter and Rosie Cavill with Ag.Ch. Fieldspy Leana were lying 2nd and 4th respectively.
Running the top 10 in reverse order of merit over Jackie Kenny's Jumping course on Day 2, the spectators were treated to the thrilling finish spectators had been waiting for. Her simple but effective course gave the potential champions something to think about as they watched the rest make mistakes. With over night leader Marie Louise Parker and Lowri Oír Byrn Mawr the last to go, they needed a very swift clear round to take the title as Emma Haines with Diagemtas Dexter had already added a fast clear round to their overnight position, holding 2nd place. Starting well, Marie Louise with Lowri just could not maintain the consistency and a fallen pole allowed Emma with Dexter to claim the top prize.
So congratulations go to the 2013 Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year Champion Emma Haines with Diagemtas Dexter and thanks to the generous support of Burns Pet Nutrition. We are sure Emma and Dexter will be back next year to defend their Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Handler of the Year title in 2014 at Pembrokeshire by the Pond.
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