By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner
I am headed to north Florida and southeast Georgia for another winter of training dogs, hosting a training clinic with Rick Smith and working horses. This will be my 12th year in Florida! I am so fortunate to be able to take this time thanks to my wonderful husband Jason who helps to run the kennel in my absence, as well as our entire well-seasoned staff. I have been in the dog industry nearly 25 years and my time traveling, training, and working with other dog care professionals and amateurs has taught me so much and has opened up amazing relationships with incredible people. Hundreds of dog handlers and trainers congregate in the south for the winter to run the trial circuits and take advantage of the training grounds and mild weather. It is truly a mecca! You can see from the map above I stay in the town of Madison FL. It is on the Georgia border, about 45 minutes east of the Quail Capital of the World Thomasville GA!
North Florida for the winter!? Well, while we certainly do not have lasting deep freezes there, and it is cold January and part of February. Mornings can have frosts and the days are often very blustery and quite chilly with temps only in the 50s. The GREAT thing is the cooler temps keep the snakes and gators away! Once March hits and the temps get into the 60s, 70s and even 80s…watch out! Reptiles galore!!!
Over the past 15+ years I have been enjoying training, hunt testing and field trialing my retrievers. I made some wonderful accomplishments with them and even though I was never truly a serious competitor, my goal was to learn from the best in order to train and compete with my own personal dogs. Most importantly I wanted to enjoy it all and have fun! Over the course of the past few years I have been embracing my German Shorthair Pointers and have changed my training and competition goals. This year down south I will be training and mentoring with bird dog field trial professionals. The format, expectations, training styles and competitions are very different from retriever tests. I am so excited to learn and work my two 2 year old GSP pups in competitions this year! My ultimate goal (I THRIVE on goals!) is to achieve a Dual Championship with my dogs. That means that they achieve a Champion title in the conformation show ring to prove that they meet the AKC breed standard for movement, structure and beauty to meet the breed descriptions. For the field, it means that their intelligence, stamina, athleticism, drive, health and bird finding abilities prove them a Champion as well. In the sporting dog world, there are not many breeds that can achieve Dual Championship titles anymore because sadly we bred the AKC standard looks out for the field dogs and for the show dogs the field talent has been much bred out. From online information, I read as of June 2016:
“In the last five years, more Brittanys have earned the most dual championships than any other breed;
In the last five years, German Shorthaired Pointers have earned the third most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, German Wirehaired Pointers have earned the fourth most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, Gordon Setters have earned the fifth most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, Irish Setters have earned the sixth most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, Pointers have earned the seventh most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, Chessies have earned the eight most dual championships over any other breed;
In the last five years, Weimaraners have earned the ninth dual championships over any other breed;
In the dog fancy, it’s called “having a title at both ends,” and it’s a beautiful thing”.
So, I have some shoes to fill and some work to do….BUT I am half way there with one of my pups now since we just obtained her conformation Championship last weekend. (See Doozy’s article in this newsletter)
While in Florida, I also have lots of time to focus on myself, my health and wellness, and work on upcoming yearly goals. Once I arrive back to Connecticut the first of April, all heck breaks loose and it is often nonstop! From traveling, to clinics, shows, lessons and running the kennel day to day it never stops! In Florida I often get on a great health kick and diet, I exercise a heck of a lot and I work on lowering my stress levels. Every day I work with the kennel by phone or online hosting meetings, coaching and mentoring my employees, answering client emails, working on marketing projects, writing stories and helping to resolve conflicts. My 10 weeks down south fly by, and when I return back to the northeast, the tulips and crocuses are pushing up, the weather is improving and I am so ready to attack new projects with a new sense of energy and motivation!
Another fun thing that I get to do in Florida is ride my horse nearly every day! For 10 years I have brought my horses down for trail riding as well as to exercise my dogs. This year is another adventure since I bought a young Rocky Mountain Horse in Georgia last year and he has spent the entire year in training. This special boy, named “Wrangler” will be my field trial horse. I got to visit him in November and he was doing wonderful! Next week I will bring him to the farm where I stay and we will bond and work together daily. I also plan to ride him in many field trials to gain experience before we are ready to work together as a team over my own dogs competing. What a fun journey ahead!
My new Rocky Mountain Horse “Wrangler”
Upon my return I will be booking private lessons mostly specializing in one-on-one field coaching for hunting and competitive dogs. I will also be hosting weekly walk-in training classes focusing on Foundation work, training with distractions and bird work. Lots of new ideas to share after my winter sabbaticals!
I will be posting on Facebook and Instagram my adventures this winter. Follow along and enjoy!