Thursday, 14 February 2013

Team GB Support Team

Thought I'd share this with you today, it'll appear on the KC web site shortly through a press release...
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Team GB Manager (Mark Laker) is pleased to announce the 2013 Team GB Management Support Team.

Mark says: “I’m thrilled to announce the Management Support Team for 2013. One of my priorities has been to build a team who actively supports the agility handlers and their dogs, by working in partnership with them. I see the Management Support Team as key players of the overall success of Team GB. Many of the people in the Management Support Team will be known to the agility community however, I’ve asked each of the team to write a short biography introducing themselves”.

Rachel Mowbray BVSc MRCVS, Team Vet.
Rachel qualified from Bristol University in 2000, and is now based at Vale Vets, in Gloucestershire, as a first-opinion and a referral vet. Rachel also has qualifications in canine hydrotherapy and runs the Vale Pets Hydrotherapy and Canine Rehabilitation Centre, which provides aftercare for dogs after injury or surgery, as well as fitness training and performance enhancement for working dogs.

Rachel has been the team vet since 2008 and has been competing on the team since 2004, partnered by her border terrier Ag. Ch. Laurelton Winter Nutmeg. In 2008 they won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Helsinki. As well as her veterinary role, Rachel is now integral in assisting with the mentoring and management side of the team, including course walking and mentoring. In her veterinary role Rachel is the Godsend for any competitor going abroad. She organises all of the paperwork that is required by customs officials, will assist with any pre-existing injuries or illness (or indeed new ones picked up along the way), work through warm-up routines with the dogs and handlers, and generally make life as seamless as possible from getting from the UK to the ring. All this is made possible through the tireless transporting of the ‘TARDIS bag’.

“I challenge you to ask for something that is not in my Tardis bag!”

Marc Saunders, Assistant.
Marc’s role within the Management Support team will be to assist the manager and other team members at performance events to produce the best possible squad. Marc will assist with training sessions, help build a great atmosphere and team mentality prior to events, so team members are the best prepared as a unit and individually.

The experience Marc brings to this role comes from being involved in agility for 20 years. Marc has been a trainer for the last five years as well as running his own training club, taking seminars and judging in U.K and across Europe. Marc has a skills in team leading and been involved in many other team sports coaching/playing. Agility achievements include winning Bronze in Team and 6th individually in the European Championships of 2008. Marc was also a past winner of Olympia and reaching many other event finals with success.

Marc’s strengths lie in man-management, judging individual’s state of mind and provide motivation, if needed.

“Settling down before that big run is crucial, it’s a fine line between success and failure. Working as a team and having faith and trust in everyone can make an average team into a great team”.


Emma Butler, Data Analysis.
Emma will be assisting Mark by providing analysis of previous year's performances and capturing useful data with regards to the current teams’ performance. Being a qualified accountant Emma regularly analyses data and has a strong knowledge and skills on spreadsheets.  Emma has been competing in Agility for five years and runs a Large & Medium dog in G4.

Mark says, “This is a new and important role in Team GB. Agility has become increasingly more technical over the last three years with a need to fine-tune our training and preparations. To do this we require accurate data to help us make decisions and to feedback performance specific information to handlers. This is an area we need to develop our skills in, I see Emma key to this.”

Ruth MacGill, Handler Fitness Coach.
Having acquired a deep interest in sports fitness and since beginning agility six years ago, Ruth has developed a series of fitness exercises, footwork drills and simple team building games designed specifically to improve the fitness levels of the elite agility handler so that they can cover the ground more efficiently and faster. A strong coaching background enables Ruth to deliver these exercises in an imaginative and enjoyable manner. The handler will be able to take away ideas and drills, which they can practice in their own time or in small groups.

Ruth has extensive experience in fitness and coaching including: BSc  (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences (Birmingham University); England Under 18 and Under 21 Hockey International; Combined Services and Army Hockey player and captain; Combined Services and Army Cricket player, captain, coach and team manager; Awarded Commendation for Outstanding service to the Army in respect to this role and England and Wales Cricket Board Level 1, 2 and Club Coach qualifications.

Ruth is an agility instructor with UpAndOver Agility Dogs and has recently started competing with her young Vizsla, Inka.

‘Team sport plays a significant role in my life. I’m acutely aware of the mental and physical pressures that international competitors experience. My experience can help prepare them for these big runs’

Dr Emma Fretwell, Team Chiropractor.
Emma says ”I have been very privileged to help and support the Team GB agility teams both at the EO’s and World Champs since 2009 and feel very excited to be invited to contribute to the future of these teams.”

Emma’s qualifications started in 2000 with a DC in Chiropractic, followed swiftly by a BSc (Hons) in Chiropractic. She then went on to take the McTimoney style animal chiropractic course in the UK, followed in 2004 with a Basic Veterinary Chiropractic course in USA and Germany. She has since completed the Advanced Veterinary Chiropractic courses, plus various equine and canine rehabilitation seminars, courses and extended study times. Emma has also furthered her education in the ‘people’ field by completing a Western Medical Acupuncture course, plus Kinesiotaping and Graston muscle technique.

Emma works very closely with Rachel Mowbray of Vale Vets as a referral consultant chiropractor, where they have established a sporting dog rehabilitation centre in Gloucestershire, Vale Pets Hydrotherapy and Canine Rehabilitation Centre, concentrating on getting our beloved pets and working dogs back up to optimum performance following injury, off-performance, post-operative etc. Rachel and Emma have worked as a team since 2008, providing their combined expertise and knowledge both at Vale Vets and for Team GB.

Emma has a quiet and relatively unflappable nature (!), and likes to be organized and prepared for any eventuality.

“I feel I can bring my calming attitude and other constructive qualities to this role, with a view to the team as a whole, offering help in whatever form this may take”.


Janet Humphreys, Supporters Group
Janet and her husband Alan first got smitten by the Agility bug about 25 years ago under the watchful eye of Nev Watson and Jeff Tabbitt. They have always worked GSD’s, as they are the only dogs we have owned, starting off in Obedience, and then changing to Agility when we found out how much the dogs and we enjoyed it. Alan is currently chairman of Ely & District DTC, and I am in the process of taking over the Secretary’s position.

Alan and I first went to the World Championships in Portugal in 2001, arranging our own accommodation and flights, as some of our friends and club members were representing GB for the first time with their own dogs. We then joined Kate Howard’s coach tours to Germany and France, and her subsequent hotel arrangements in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, and Austria. We became members of the supporters club during its brief existence. Sadly in 2010, Kate was no longer organising supporters. I found it hard to find out any info on where to stay, as it appeared to clash with a beer festival and accommodation was short on the ground, and there appeared to be no central contact for help for would be supporters. Finally a knee operation stopped us going that year. It was back to France in 2011, but as I did some research I found out that the team had not yet got a hotel, so I stepped in and block booked 2 adjacent hotel /motels in a town not too distant from the venue and drummed up support to fill all of the places the team didn’t need. Having got the bug I researched Liberec in the Czech Republic and found a lovely hotel, booking all of the available rooms for supporters, and helping out with co-ordinating arrivals and departures with the most effective way of sharing transport costs.

We have always treated this as our annual holiday; taking a couple of extra days to do some sight seeing in the local areas. Unfortunately the competitions are now being held in October rather than September as previously, and I have trouble taking time off work in October, so we wont be able to go to South Africa, as to make it worth the trip I would want to go for 2 weeks.

"We no longer compete, as our current dogs are not agility minded, but have kept involved through judging and show management."


And last although by no means least …

Natasha Wise, Assistant.
Natasha Wise needs no introduction in the agility world. Three times World Champion.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Team GB enabling us as a country to reach our true agility potential” says Natasha.

Internationally Natasha has performed at the 'creme de la creme' competition, The FCI World Championships) with her best friend 'Dizzy' for past five years and have produced 80% clear rounds including 10 individual class winners, three World Championship titles and a bronze medal in team with her fabulous team mates.

Being in agility for the past 22 years, achieving championship status with every dog she has owned or rehomed Natasha understands what it takes to enable a dog and handler partnership to reach true potential. Natasha also understands what it is like to experience loss, as loosing a beloved animal at a young age and to miss out on victory because they were not paw perfect was huge lessons to learn. Natasha says “As a result I value even more every minute and experience I share with these beautiful athletes (dogs) we share our lives with”.

With an MSc in Sports Performance Natasha utilizes her Sport Science degrees daily to get the best out of her dogs in a competitive setting, encompassed with life experiences she has a depth of theoretical and practical knowledge to support this team.

Natasha’s role within the team will be to act as an advisory role to the management support team and also to empower squad members using experience gained providing support to those who want it and those who are open to looking at enhanced ways of thinking similar to those used by elite sports performers.

Natasha says “Exciting times ahead for GB agility, I want to be part of that journey and look forward to working with all those who want that too for the good of our sport. 

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