am Swiss and spent some of my early childhood on the back
of my grandfather’s German shepherd dogs, practicing
my dog and horse training abilities at the same time!
Little did I know then how useful these early experiences
would be in later life.
firstly came to England on a school exchange trip; fell in
love with the country and much to the outrage of my parents
decided to stay. I studied English and Music and also embarked
on a Riding career at Benenden in Kent and Gloucestershire
qualifying as a British Horse Society Riding Instructor. As
part of a bargain with my parents, who wanted me to get a
“proper job” I agreed to study law in the evenings
but carried on with my job as a Riding Instructor during the
daytime for some years.
also realized one of my other dreams: that of having my own
dog. Gypsy, a Tibetan Terrier came into my life and we became
inseparable. When one of my livery clients offered me the
opportunity to event his horse, I jumped at the chance, but
soon found that the salary of a Riding Instructor was not
sufficient to support myself, Gypsy, a Morris Minor car and
an expensive hobby of eventing. I searched for a law firm
with a difference, namely one that would allow me to take
my dog to work with me. I found one and soon Gypsy was put
on the payroll and I had some very happy years working there
whilst enjoying my horses and also getting involved in dog
were never enough hours in the day to fit in all the things
I wanted to do! My little dog Gypsy was extremely talented
and soon excelled at obedience competitions. At non horsy
weekends I ran a dog demonstration team which traveled round
the country giving displays at local fetes in aid of charity.
Gypsy gave a lot of pleasure to many people who saw her skipping
routine and she was soon asked to appear on various television
programs with her very proud owner!
my most memorable times were enjoying a ride on horseback
in the countryside with Gypsy.
serious riding accident brought an abrupt end to my career
with the law firm and indeed also ended my work with horses.
Very good friends and my dog Gypsy were instrumental in my
recovery and although I was told that there was not much of
a chance that I was going to work again, I was not to be defeated.
However, I soon realized that I would indeed not be able to
get employment in what were called “normal jobs”.
before the accident Gypsy and I had discovered the exciting
sport of dog agility.
A cunning plan started to form in my head and with new found
enthusiasm I did endless research into agility, went on every
available course there was and enrolled in a course on Animal
and People Psychology at London University. I
kept on training with my dog Gypsy and my first achievement
after a long struggle was to compete at Olympia and Crufts
and pass my agility judges exam. I also trained to be a behaviourist
and became a member of the APDT so that I could help people
with their dogs to gain more understanding and empathy with
their dogs. It was totally unexpected when I was awarded the
”Flying Colours” Award as a trainer, the highest
award given by the APDT.
That was such a great honour.
5 jumps which I transported in a trailer to a local recreation
area and 5 pupils, I started my first agility class. Word
soon got round that some serious fun was going on at the local
park! Soon I had to buy a whole set of equipment, employ another
instructor and hire a proper venue. I also decided to increase
my dog family, by adding a Briard, a Wheaten Terrier and then
Collies and a Lurcher over the years.
little cunning plan has grown into a very successful enterprise
and today my team of instructors and myself are teaching
more than 300 pupils every week. It is great to see people
from all walks of life and dogs of all breeds enjoy themselves
at my club.
I was invited to go abroad and instruct agility to German,
French, Italian, Spanish, Swiss and Dutch students. I was
very excited when asked to go to Japan and my best trip
was to the West Indies where I taught agility in Barbados
to very enthusiastic pupils who did extremely well, but
most of all had great fun. I appeared on television in Barbados,
trying to advertise this popular sport. Click on the links
below, if you want to read more about my foreign trips.
have also been running instructors and judging seminars
in this country for foreign students. They have been very
popular and successful. Most of all, I have got to know
many interesting people and have made many friends in all
parts of the world.
Kathrin Judging at Olympia
have been fortunate enough to experience many aspects of
dog training, including judging and competing at every level
culminating in the most prestigious final at Olympia.
love my job, my pupils and their dogs who are teaching me
new things every day. I thought my life and everything I had
worked for had come to an end after my riding accident, but
I have realized now, that everything happens for a reason.
I would probably have been no good stuck in an office as a
lawyer for the rest of my life.
have a great life now and hope that I am able to pass on some
of my love and enthusiasm for dogs and agility to other people.”