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Talking with... Elise Lynch

The first in a series of interviews with USDAA IFCS World Agility Championship team members. By Brenna Fender

The 2010 World Agility Championships are fast approaching. USDAA will send a terrific team to Clevedon, North Sommerset in the United Kingdom for the event that runs from May 14-16 at the Hand Equestrian Centre. Team members include Angie Benacquisto with Duncan and Dylan, Daneen Fox and Masher, Janelle Julyan and Eve, Rhonda Koeske and Tack, Elise Lynch and Ting, Kate Moureaux and Driven, Stephanie Spyr and Rage, Rosanne DeMascio and Drifter, Dudley Fontaine and Maverick, Ann Zarr and Skylar, Elizabeth Evans and Hemi, and coach Stacy Peardot-Goudy. To celebrate our team, we'll be doing periodic interviews with team members.

We'll start with Elise Lynch, whose Border Collie, Ting will turn seven while in the UK for the Championships. The pair live in New York where Elise has been a dog trainer since 1987. Before that, she taught in the Graduate Theatre Department at New York University and Carnegie Mellon University for 10 years. As a hobby, she also works for Erica Wilson teaching needle work and contributing to her books and TV shows.

Brenna Fender (BF): Tell me how to pronounce your name.

Elise Lynch (EL): Elise with a "z" sound that would rhyme with "please".  This is how my family pronounces my name. I was named after my grandmother who lived in France.  I went to school and lived there.  I will respond to you, however, if you pronounce my name like "a lease" on your house.

BF: What was your family's reaction to your making the IFCS team?

EL: Shock and awe.

BF: Will a friend or family member travel with you to the event?

EL: Several old friends as well as agility friends are coming to Clevedon to root for the team. 

BF: How tough did you find the team member qualification process?

EL: The process was a great motivating force that gave me new purpose and commitment to practicing and trialing.  I really tried out for the team for the fun of it, and "let the chips fall where they may." 

BF: What is your goal for this year's event?

EL: To have fun and do our best we can.

BF: How would you describe your emotions as the event draws closer?

EL: I have had a good time learning and working on the different kinds of challenges that European courses present. It has made me grow as a handler. I am not nervous, just energized.

BF: What is your greatest concern about the trip to the UK for the event?

EL: There is a lot of red tape and stress involved in flying my dog.

BF: What do you think will be the most difficult part of the competition itself?

EL: I have no idea. We will have to wait and see. That is the fun of it, I don't know what it will be like to show in the UK against the European competitors.  It will demand spontaneity from us as a team.

BF: Do you have any other comments?

EL: I would like to thank the well wishers and those who have supported my efforts.  Also those friends have helped me come up with good Gambler and Snooker plans this past year. I really appreciate their help.  Thanks also to my students for putting up with my heavy show schedule and being away a lot last year.

Brenna Fender is the editor for the USDAA's subscriber services portion of the website.  She is also a freelance writer, wife, and parent of two dogs and two children.  Please contact Brenna at with comments, questions, or submissions.

Ting photo courtesy of Val Clark. Elise photo courtesy of Elise Lynch.


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