A SCHOOLGIRL and her dog made history at the world’s largest canine show when they took home the trophy for one of the events.
Holly Ryan, 13, and her pet Pomeranian, Tink, from West Parley are celebrating their win at Crufts this month after claiming the title of Young Kennel Club Agility Dog of the Year. It is the first time a small dog has won the event.
The agility competition tests the dog's skills of speed and control with a series of jumps and poles to weave around. There are up to 20 obstacles to complete on the course and the fastest clear round is the winner.
Holly, a pupil at Ferndown Upper School, said: “It was pretty nerve wracking but really amazing to find out I’d won. I couldn’t believe it.
“You don’t know what the course is going to be like until you walk it on the day. At the time, I thought it was going fine. One moment was a bit scary, as we almost missed a jump but I managed to get her round.
“Tink and I trained together every week for one to two hours. Nearer the competition, the training got much harder and we would do different obstacles and circuits each time.
“Tink is six years old and she’s very small and fluffy. I am really proud of her as we put a lot of hard work in for this."
Holly’s father, Kieran, said dog training was “a real family affair”, with his 12-year-old son also taking part in the event.
“This is a really big achievement for Holly, as she was competing against dogs much larger than Tink,” he said.
“She is absolutely chuffed to win.”
The annual dog event is held at Birmingham’s NEC and is televised on More4. The Agility Dog of the Year title is available to Young Kennel Club members between the ages of six and 17 years and their dogs.
Caroline Kisko, the club’s secretary, said: “This event reveals future talents, like Holly and Tink, who we will no doubt see at Crufts for years to come.
“It is so impressive to see a 13-year-old display such a professional performance and it is hugely inspiring for all other young dog handlers.
“Holly and Tink should be really proud of what they have achieved.”