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Ellie Evans

Student blog

My passion for dog agility

Ellie Evans Agility

Hi, my name is Ellie, and I’m currently studying BSc (Hons) Canine Training and Performance here at Hartpury University.

I have three dogs that I absolutely adore and have a particular interest in assistance and guide dogs. I’ve recently also gained an interest in human-animal interaction with our canine companions, which has been sparked by my degree.

I’m here to share my experience of doing dog agility alongside my studies – a pastime that’s become a real passion.

Why I do agility

Agility is something I’ve always been interested in – ever since watching Crufts at a young age. Seeing the action and witnessing the bond that the owners have with their dogs was amazing, so I knew it always had my heart.

It seemed like something that would increase my confidence and also help Hennessey, my rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier come out of her shell.

What I love the most

The fast pace involved! Once you start doing it yourself, you’ll realise how many skills are involved – from the teamwork to finding the best agility strategies and moves for you and your dog.

The community involved is also incredible. Everyone is so friendly and always happy to give you advice. Every day is a new learning day, and once you start, you find you can never stop.

My agility club

During my time doing agility, I’ve been involved with three different clubs – all of which provided a different coaching style. One taught me to never give in. Another reminded me how much joy I get from it. Then there’s the one I’m at now – my ‘agility family’ at Forest Oak Farm in Lydney. We laugh together, cry together, and most importantly have a great time together.

Competitions are a great way to learn

Hennessey has achieved third place in two UKAgility competitions, which I’m incredibly proud of. Now we’re training for competitions in Swindon, Cheltenham and Quedgeley.

But no matter how well you do, it’s always a great opportunity to watch other competitors and analyse their performance – which is useful because it’s linked to one of my modules.

How it supports my studies

I find that it’s a great way to get an insight into the agility industry and the businesses involved; from team merchandise to the physio and hydro therapists, trainers and even staff from across the globe!

Balancing agility with university

Agility has always felt like a downtime for me outside of university, so that helped hugely with the scheduling side of things. I’ve always done it during the evenings and luckily it always falls on my day off – and in my case for competitions, they’re always at the weekends.

I’m kept up to date with events and training sessions by my trainer; who is also a huge role model for me and an amazing addition to the agility team as a whole.

My advice for getting involved

Any dog and owner can get involved; no matter the size, breed, background, or previous experience. It’s open to everyone.

I’d highly recommend getting involved with a local club. AgilityNet is a fantastic resource and at Hartpury, we have many books on agility that can be so interesting to study – and may even influence your dissertation choice like it did for me!

I hope that gives you an insight into the wonderful world of agility and hope to meet you at a training session or competition when you’re here at Hartpury.

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