Home   News   Article

Dream team to represent the Highlands in prestigious Crufts competition

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Emma and Sprite.
Emma and Sprite.

A Dingwall dog trainer has achieved her lifelong dream after qualifying to represent the Highlands in the highly prestigious Crufts competition.

Emma and her four–year–old Working Cocker Spaniel, Sprite, are delighted to be competing in the world's largest dog show, with Emma describing how she "never thought someone from the Highlands would be able to achieve this".

But the success for Emma and Sprite hasn't come without lots of hard work and overcoming a range of challenges. For the past four years, every weekend Emma and Sprite have travelled to England from their home in Strathpeffer, to try to gain as much experience as possible and receive training from some of the best instructors in the UK – if not the world.

Emma also suffers with different health issues including diabetes, which can make finding time to train more difficult. Emma said: "It's not always as simple as a quick training session here and there but I try my best for Sprite".

Sprite has also recently suffered an injury, but Emma credits Alba Physio in Inverness for helping Sprite recover from his injury, become his strongest self in time for upcoming competitions.

Sprite, 4–year old Working Cocker Spaniel.
Sprite, 4–year old Working Cocker Spaniel.

Emma said: "My dream has always been to compete at Crufts since I was a little girl, I just never thought someone from the Highlands could achieve this. I've been training since I was seven years old, and started up my own training business a few years ago – I have been living my dream life ever since.

"I put as much as I can into Sprite, as I believe he has what it takes to be the best in his height category. Covid took away our first year of competing so Sprite only started competitions in summer 2021 so I am over the moon at what he has achieved in less than 2 years of competing."

The duo qualified for the Novice Cup at Crufts, after their win at the Kennel Club International Agility Festival semi–finals last August. Only the top six winners of the Kennel Club International Agility Festival get to compete in the world–renowned Crufts show, and Sprite made the cut. The Highland dream team have also recently qualified for the World Agility Open in the Netherlands next May, as a part of Team Scotland.

Emma said: "After Crufts we will be straight back to training for the World Agility Open, and just like at Crufts we will try our best to take it home for Scotland."

Sprite, Emma and Kiwi.
Sprite, Emma and Kiwi.

Sprite lives at home in Strathpeffer with his brother Kiwi, a 22–month–old Border Collie who has just started his agility career, and his sister Juice, a 3–month–old Working Cocker.

Emma and Sprite are competing in Crufts on March 9, with a run at 8:30am and a run at 1:30pm. The Crufts show will be livestreamed on YouTube for everyone wishing to cheer on the Highland dream–team.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More