Cambridgeshire Flyball Team aiming to make history as they gun for glory at Crufts
Cambridgeshire’s flyball team are aiming to make history at this year’s Crufts event.
The team is competing in the quarter-finals of the famous dog racing competition at the NEC in Birmingham today, where they will look to win for the first time since forming in 2007.
Ellen Schofield's team progressed through one of eight qualifying events across the UK to make it to Crufts, where they faced sides in head-to-head relay races.
The squad boasts 25 members and 51 dogs, and Schofield believes that success has already been achieved in their second appearance at the event.
"I have been at Crufts every year since I was seven-years-old and I have always wanted to take a team on that green carpet," she said.
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"There are so many teams that go to qualifiers and to get here is an amazing feeling.
"I started the club myself because I have a dog too crazy for agility and I was like 'can we do something with him?' I started to team up and we have just built."
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The side includes a range of dogs from as young as four-months old, with senior and junior dog handlers taking part.
With a wealth of family involvement accompanied by a strong team ethic, Schofield thinks these could help improve the squad's chances of future glory.
"It is a fun thing to get into and it's a massive buzz for the handlers to have the competitive aspect," she said.
"We have got a team aspect about us, which is fantastic; all these people working together to get the best out of every single dog.
"We have got 11-12 year-old dogs who are still able to compete and do a lot of work, making sure they are fit for function.
"Racing against teams that have similar speeds, we are always trying to get faster times and trying to make them as safe as possible.
"Whatever happens, if we get knocked out, we have enjoyed it."
Flyball sees two teams of dogs race against each other over a 51-foot course, where each dog must trigger a box releasing a ball before returning over the jumps without dropping the ball.
Cambridgeshire Flyball Team train at Horsley Fen Drove in Chatteris twice a week and their next event is at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester between March 28-29.
For more information or to join, email Ellen Schofield at email@example.com.