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Swanley teen and her talented pet win international award

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:45 23 August 2016

Over 12 International Handler winners, including Shannon Springford in first place. (Photo: Yulia Titovets and the Kennel Club)

Over 12 International Handler winners, including Shannon Springford in first place. (Photo: Yulia Titovets and the Kennel Club)

Yulia Titovets

Thousands of competitiors from across the UK took part in the event

A Swanley teenager is celebrating after being named International Young Handler of the Year at the Kennel Club International Agility Festival.

Seventeen-year-old Shannon Springford and her border collie Gift triumphed in the 12 to 17-year-olds category at the festival after completing the dog agility course in the best time.

The event, which took place between August 11 and August 14 at Rockingham Castle, was attended by thousands of competitors from throughout the UK and across the world.

Miss Springford has been competing in events for nine years, and this was the final year in which she could enter the young handler category.

She told the Reporter: “I have been doing this for years, but seeing as it was my last year it felt amazing.

“My mum did agility when she was young, and I got my dog when I was seven and decided I wanted to follow in her footsteps.”

The former Hextable Academy pupil owns three dogs, and she finds that agility training is good for exercise.

“I never have much time to myself,” she said. “We go training three to four times a week and I teach agility, which takes up a lot of time.

“From Friday to Sunday we are competing at shows. I never have time to sit down!”

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko called Shannon and Gift ‘an inspiration to young people throughout the UK’.

Miss Springford is now studying a dog grooming course at Animal Magic in Headcorn.

She is looking forward to competing in the agility festival as an adult for many more years to come.

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