Jess Cuthbertson Agility Series: Running for Team GB
Our new ambassador and Agility queen, Jess Cuthbertson is taking this season by storm and we’re thrilled to be a part of her journey. She’s chosen Poppy’s Picnic raw dog food to power her elite pups and we couldn’t be happier to support them all. In this third of our six part blog series, Jess gives us an insight on what it’s like to run for Team GB and to represent the country with her doggies:
It is crazy to think of where and how it all started especially now that my life completely revolves around my doggies, but believe it or not I was first pushed (perhaps encouraged is the better word..!) to run for Team GB by my mum and dad who wanted me to do it the first year. I am so happy they did because my word, were they right about agility and how rewarding it is!
Recently, the process of qualifying for the team has slightly changed, but I can explain what the process has looked like for me in previous years. The Tryout process is split into 2 days, with the Tryout Day 1 usually held in December when the management team would eliminate the first round of candidates. They then send the remaining group of people to the Tryout Day 2 the following February. From the latter round of elimination, the final team members were announced at the end of March.
In order to best prepare and train for Tryouts, my main focus was ensuring I felt confident in the skills the judges were going to ask of the dog. I did this by looking at the previous courses they had set and then trained my dog on similar courses. Training obviously included coaching Skye, but I also worked on the relationship between her and I to ensure that we were both on the same wavelength (what’s that joke about owners and their dogs again?). Additionally, I am lucky enough to have some amazing trainers who helped me so much which actually made the bond I have with Skye grow much stronger.
As you may know, Skye and I of course made the team! I can’t put into words what it feels like to run for Team GB - it is simply incredible! Every member of the team supports one another and they are always there for you to offer support and advice when things go wrong and to celebrate when things go right. The management team is just as amazing and keeps you looking at the positives too. I often get asked if I get nervous when running, and my honest answer is no, (to many people’s annoyance) I never get nervous! Instead, I get more impatient and sometimes “jump the gun” in excitement when I am not ready.
Representing my country is such a privilege and when I first found out I would be competing for Team GB I was so proud of Skye and the partnership we had developed. However, there was a part of me that still wanted to prove I was good enough to be there, so I set a goal for me and Skye to get a clean run - which we achieved! Having this confidence helped us cope with the difficult courses set.
Feeding Skye raw dog food from Poppy’s Picnic has also been a great source of confidence for me. I know that with Poppy’s Picnic she is getting a great source of nutrients and that I am feeding her the best food to help her stay strong and healthy during competitions. I feed all my dogs (competitive and pet) Poppy’s Picnic because they love it and I love how it boosts their energy #POWEREDBYPOPPYSPICNIC.
I was lucky enough to represent GB twice during my time with the team and visit some beautiful locations. First, we went to Luxembourg in 2017, which was an amazing experience! Then last year, we travelled out to Holland to compete. That particular competition was hard because the weather was just so hot and we were not used to those kind of conditions during runs. Despite the heat, though, we still delivered some good runs!
Overall, competing with Team GB has left me with some incredible memories. From the atmosphere and the singing and dancing, to having fun and being silly with my teammates who became good friends, my experiences have been filled with great times. Apart from the Agility of course, I think it is a brilliant sport for the opportunity to work and support each other as a team and be happy for everyone’s results. It’s great and motivating to be able to uplift one another by celebrating even the smallest of victories.