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Millbrook Agility Dogs
a
The Boss!
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I 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.

I 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.

I 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 training.

There 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!

However my most memorable times were enjoying a ride on horseback in the countryside with Gypsy.

A 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”.

Just 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.

With 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.

My 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.

Soon 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.

I 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

 

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.”

 
 
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