Hartpury student Beth Watts got the chance to live out her dream when she performed in the main ring at Crufts.
Beth, 16, from Lydney, trained her dog Alfie herself to do basic agility and to round up sheep by learning from watching the competitors at Crufts. She then linked up with her current trainer in 2010 and, having only started competing in the summer of 2011, she is already hitting the heights in the world of dog agility.
The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management student earned the chance to compete at Crufts after winning her class at the qualifier near Somerset. As well as qualifying for the individual competition, Beth also qualified for the team event with the Prestbury team, who she joined two years ago.
“In the individual semi-finals, I came third out of more than 25 competitors, which meant that I got through to the final in the main ring,” said Beth.
“This was a huge achievement for me as competing in the final at Crufts is what I have dreamed of since I was little. It was an amazing experience.
“In the team final, we all ran extremely well and placed sixth, which we were all really happy with up against some of the best teams in the country.
“I have had Alfie since he was a puppy and he was my first dog, so it meant the world to be able to perform with him at Crufts – the biggest and the best dog show. It made all those years of hard work together worthwhile.”
Beth works with trainer Connie Sellers from Fly by Agility Training. Since she started competing in agility in the summer of 2011, she has moved up from grade one to grade six. To move up each grade, she needed to win a class which has between 50 and 300 competitors, and to move from grade five to six, she needed to win three classes.
Before competing at Crufts, Beth had twice competed for Wales at the Open Junior Agility Championships twice and finished second in a final at Derby.
In only four years of agility competition, her and Alfie have won more than 130 rosettes and 35 trophies.