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VIDEO: Angus mum Katrina and sheepdog Sizzle win top Crufts prize

Katrina Hands and dog Sizzle at Crufts.
Katrina Hands and dog Sizzle at Crufts.

An Angus businesswoman is aiming to make her mark on the international dog agility team after three podium finishes at Crufts.

Katrina Hands, who runs Finavon Dog Agility, was winner of the British Open.

She also finished second in the final of the singles and second in the small dog championship.

Competing with four-year-old Shetland sheepdogs Sizzle, the Forfar-based businesswoman was delighted with her weekend’s efforts.

“It was pretty successful,” she said. “It couldn’t have gone much better.”

“I competed in flyball at Crufts eight or nine years ago, and my kids have qualified so I’ve taken them.

“This was my first year competing in agility at Crufts so to do as well as we did was a pretty big achievement.”

A successful weekend for Forfar family

And Katrina’s Crufts success was topped off with her son Blair adding to the family achievements at the NEC in Birmingham.

Competing with Rapid, also a Shetland sheepdog, he finished fourth in the under-18 agility dog of the year category, and second in the 12-17 pairs class.

“He did really well,” Katrina said.

“It was the first time he competed with the dog that he has trained.”

She admitted watching her 17-year-old son was more nerve-wracking than taking to the arena herself.

“It is probably worse watching.

“When you’re running, you are concentrating on your dog and giving it the information you need.

“You know there’s people watching, but you are oblivious to it.”

Katrina Hands (bottom left) on the podium at Crufts with Lucy Osborne-Norton and her dog Fling.

Just making to Crufts was a “pretty big achievement”, Katrina said.

She had to compete in a number of qualifying events for each category she entered in.

It was just reward for all their training.

“We probably train every other day and then do a longer session with other trainers once a week.

“In terms of training a dog to this level, though, it takes about two or three years work to get to the level we’re at.”

Angus family’s celebrations put on hold

Despite their successes at Crufts, the family has put all talk of celebrating on hold for the time being.

Katrina and Blair, a fifth year pupil at Webster’s High School, are both part of Agility Team Scotland.

The mother-and-son duo will head to the Netherlands in May to compete in the World Agility Open.

They are also in the running to make the Team GB squad for the World Championships.

Katrina Hands with her dog Sizzle at Crufts alongside Dave Munnings with his dog Boost.

Katrina and Blair, whose dogs receive sponsorship from Rawgeous Pet Food, will find out about that in early April.

Katrina said: “We had a minor celebration but it’s on pause for a little while.

“The next two weekends are Great Britain selection weekends. We had the first selection round and we both made it through that.

“Once those are out the way, we might concentrate on a proper celebration.

“Hopefully it will be a really big one too.”

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