• Show Date: 05/08/2018
  • Show Type: Championship Show
  • Judged by: Laura Crombie Contact Judge
  • Published Date: 02/11/2020

National Gundog Association

Breed: YKC/Adult Handling

National Gundog Association 

YKC Handling 

The standard was very high in all three classes and I was really splitting hairs when choosing my winners. It was an incredibly hot day and there was no shade in the ring, so I invited all handlers to remove their jackets after the initial stand and did not penalise if they broke the golden rule when waiting their turn if it meant they could put their dog in their own shade. A number of very good handlers failed to notice that their dog had moved its paws significantly out of line when standing – it’s crucial to keep checking, especially during hot weather when they may be fidgeting more than normal. In all three classes I also found the majority of handlers failed to line up with the first dog at the start and end of the class, creating a snaking line. These are only small things, but in stiff competition they can make all the difference between first place and no card. It was wonderful to see the good sportsmanship on display and the support from family and friends around the ring. 

YKC 6-11  

1. Hebe Davies-Ratcliff – put on an excellent performance to win one of the best 6-11 line ups I’ve judged. Hebe isn’t the flashiest handler but I loved her understated style and obvious rapport with her Hungarian Visla. She stacked her dog quickly and accurately, kept a quiet eye on my position without being overbearing, and moved her dog at the correct pace, taking full advantage of the ring.  

2. Olivia Rose Cogan– another accomplished young handler who got the best from her large GSP. Olivia stacked her dog carefully, kept an eye on my position, and moved her dog to best advantage. Just lost out on first place as she took a little longer than Hebe to correct the paw I moved. 

3. Amelie Smith – a calm and natural handler who just needs to keep an eye out for her Pointer moving its paws when stacked. 

YKC 12-17 

1. Abigail Levene – I’ve judged Abigail on a number of occasions handling different breeds and have always been impressed by her natural style and ability. She stacked her Irish Setter neatly and quickly, quietly checking my position throughout the class and instantly correcting when I moved her dog’s paw. Paced her dog perfectly, achieving neat lines and corners without stopping the flow of movement. She was courteous, smartly presented and I loved the rapport she demonstrated with her young dog. 

2. Lauren Huyton – another excellent handler who knew how to get the best from her Flat Coat. Corrected her dog quickly and calmly, moved at the correct pace, and was smartly presented. I just felt Abigail had more ring presence on the day. 

3. Kizzy Porter – it was wonderful to watch the rapport between Kizzy and her Lab, who was so well trained and didn’t put a foot wrong. 

YKC 18-24 

1. Hanna Wiseman – Hannah is the epitome of an understated handler. She was immaculately presented to complement her Spanish Water Dog, and worked quietly and efficiently to get the best from her charge. Stood her dog quickly and precisely without fussing, and had the neatest lead control of all the handlers I judge today. I loved how she moved at one with her dog, pacing correctly, offering quiet encouragement, and taking full advantage of the ring. Best YKC Handler – well done. 

2. Meg Oliver – an accomplished handler who knew how to get the most out of her Pointer and was unlucky to come up against Hanna. She performed neat pattern work and stacked her dog accurately. 

3. Rebecca Mills – another quiet and careful handler who had a clear rapport with her Labrador. 


Adult Handling 

Such a shame these classes aren’t better supported – especially with the prize money on offer!  

25-45 years 

1. Vicky Davis – Vicky is an excellent handler in any company, so it was a shame she stood alone today. Flowed around the ring in perfect harmony with her Flat Coat, pacing beautifully and still managing to achieve neat lines and corners. Knew how to get the best from her exuberant young dog when standing and quietly corrected him whenever he moved. I loved how Vicky and her dog were obviously enjoying their time in the ring together – showing is meant to be enjoyable and a lot of people in both the handling and breed rings could learn from their joint enthusiasm. Best Adult Handler – well done! 

46-59 years 

1. Martine Young – Another handler who stood alone but deserved her first place. Put in an accomplished performance and knew how to get the best from her Weimaraner when standing. Moved at the correct pace and flowed around the ring, but could just work on performing straighter lines. 

60+ years 

1. Barbara Stamp – Barbara knew how to get the best from her GWP, both standing and on the move. Stacked her dog quickly and accurately, checking my position throughout the class. Moved her dog at the correct pace, taking full advantage of the ring. 

2. Geoff Hartwright – A quiet handler who had an obvious rapport with his Labrador. Just failed to notice when I changed my position on the move and therefore broke the golden rule. I loved how keen he was to learn and improve – proof we’re never too old to learn new tricks! 

Laura Crombie (nee Stuart-Cook)