Firstly I would like to thank Nutriment for giving me a forum to write this brief introduction to me and my dogs, but also for being the best food sponsors out there!
My name is Ashleigh Butler and I am going to be competing with two dogs, Sullivan a 6 year old crossbreed, and Eliza, a 5 year old Bearded collie at the World Agility Open for Team England.
I will start with Sully (as seen in the photo above); he is a crazy boy who lives for his agility! He is an Agility Champion and has currently won 12 championship certificates, won a gold medal at the WAOs in 2017, won the Crufts singles class for the past three years, and won the Crufts championships for two years running.
I am incredibly proud of him and our results together over the past few years. Sully can be quite an anxious dog, and it’s taken a lot of time, patience, and perseverance to get him to where he is at now.
Moving onto Eliza! Up until recently she was trained and handled by my mum, Penny, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I will be running her full time from now on. She is currently running at grade 7, championship level, and last year she won a reserve championship certificate with my mum.
When I entered Eliza into the England try-outs I had only run her a few times, but she was so brilliantly trained she managed to gain a win on spot, qualifying her for an automatic place on the team.
With Eliza at the moment our main focus is building our relationship and bond together, her getting used to running with me, and me learning our strengths and weaknesses as a partnership. Whereas Sully has been my main competing dog for a few years now, so we already have that great relationship and teamwork together. My main focus with him is to keep working together and again look at what we can improve on, in our training and course running.
When competing abroad the atmosphere and courses are completely different, so I will try to incorporate this into our training regimes. Both dogs have separate training plans, but with the same goals; being as fit and healthy as possible to tackle the tough courses, keeping our relationship strong which helps create trust and a solid bond between us, working on our weaknesses to make them strengths, and then hopefully producing clear runs to win medals for Team England.
Oh…and to have lots of fun!