A DOG trainer from Ringwood is celebrating winning a title at Crufts after a clean sweep victory with her border collie called Fate.

Owner Stephanie Best, along with five-year-old brown collie Fate, won the intermediate Kennel Club British Open Agility competition at the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts, last week.

The duo did this by clinching a clean sweep having won both heat events with a strong cumulative time of 65.372 seconds. Stephanie, who was taking part in her third Crufts, spoke to the Echo about her experience.

She said: “I was hoping that [Fate] would win because she won the semi-final to get to the final, but you just never know. It could have been anybody’s competition, but she managed to win. I am very, very proud of her.

Bournemouth Echo: Stephanie Best and Fate the border collie at Crufts 2022Stephanie Best and Fate the border collie at Crufts 2022

“It was so good. When I crossed line and I knew she’d gone clear and won, it was a really cool moment. I was interviewed right after by the TV guys and they asked the same question of how I was feeling and all I could say was that it’s amazing, especially after you put so much work in to be there.”

Prior to competition at Crufts, which is in its 131st year, Stephanie organised a fitness plan for herself and Fate to ensure they were in top shape before taking to the famous stage.

Stephanie, 30, said: “I’m lucky enough to have a field as a garden with equipment used to train the dogs. At home I trained Fate three times a week with a fitness plan which includes walking and other exercises – just like humans. We do sort of treat them like athletes. I’m really lazy so have to make sure I work out three times a week too before an event.

Bournemouth Echo: Stephanie Best and Fate the border collie at the top of the podiumStephanie Best and Fate the border collie at the top of the podium

“Running along the stage at Crufts is not so bad because it’s not massive, but you’ve still got to be able to keep up with the dog. There’s no point in going if you can’t twist and turn.”

Having practised dog agility since the age of 13, Stephanie turned her expertise into a career and currently runs Dalt and Steph Agility – a Verwood based dog agility training service.