South Bound 2020

By QK Owner Jennifer Broome

Recently, I learned that the abbreviation WFH means “work from home.”

In a few weeks, I will be WFF — “working from Florida.”

13 years ago, I realized that I could not be the best in my industry, the best for my clients, nor my best self if I let the weather of New England sideline my training, exercise and development for three months every year.

After one particularly challenging season, I decided to begin a new discipline — fighting the urge to hibernate —to relocate to winter quarters to maintain best practices for me and the animals in my care.

In modest Floridian housing, my apartment above the barn, I set significant goals for training myself and my dogs. I also take the time to learn new skills and prepare myself to be the best resource possible for my clients when the weather turns each spring.

Many have asked me about my routines, discipline and WFF habits. In this personal journal, as I’m packing to make the annual sojourn, I’m happy to share with you why I head south to get my head on straight, every year.

Where do I go/stay? I am in Northern Florida/Southeast Georgia. While the weather is warmer, as you can see by the photos, I’m still in my all-weather gear, this is not the tropics by any means.

This is how I dress for North Florida weather in January. While it may be sunny, it is still COLD! At least no snow.

How do I travel with all my animals? I use a combination of my specially-designed QK Dog transport truck and horse trailer. My ROCK of a husband, Jason, follows me in another vehicle, towing my ATV. He is my wingman as towing a horse trailer down 95 to Florida is a chore in itself. As a result, my journey takes me a few days, but it’s important that we all (dogs, horses and myself) arrive safely. Once in Florida, Jason helps me carry all of my gear upstairs, move in, shop for hay (hand-loading hundreds of pounds of horse food!), do much of my grocery and paper-goods shopping, getting me settled in!

How do I organize my time? I divide my time in three focused areas — animal training/care; professional development and physical renewal. I participate in an incredible retriever training group with amazing, talented trainers 5 days a week, 4 to 6 hours a day, to run field-trial setups for marks and blinds. Each day we are on well-designed grounds with technical ponds and lots of challenging land areas.

I balance the outdoor work with desktop work — revising policies, writing training guides, updating our website/marketing and planning new classes/programs based on client needs.

In between, I and the dogs enjoy the outdoors, and I “tune up” my own strength through a variety of weight-training programs. Preventing injuries (for two or four legs) is my top priority.

What are my annual goals… and this year’s goals? This year, I will be training my nearly 2-year-old lab pup, Filly, again and her 1-year-old ‘cousin’ Phletcher. (If anyone is interested, Phletcher will be for sale in the spring with a great resume of upland bird hunting, field trial setups and beginning blind retrieves). I also hope to do some educational videos/training guides that have been requested of me for many years.

The view from a holding blind waiting to run my lab pup, Filly, on retrieves.

How do I stay in communication with my team/operations? In this era or mobile devices, zoom and more forms of technology than we can keep pace with, staying connected to QK and all partners is pretty easy. We hold nearly daily telechats, and my beloved hubby, assumes leadership while I’m on location. After a few years of experience, the process is seamless.

When do I return? By the close of March I am eager to head home, back to a lovely New England Spring and back to my incredible business, employees and clients. I am refreshed, inspired.

Exercising the pack in harness off the ATV.

 

 

My Florida digs, an awesome apartment above the horse barn!