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Meet the 2014 IFCS World Agility Team USA Members Part 3

In the third part in this series, you'll learn a bit about five more of the IFCS WAC team members (Jeannette Hutchison, Desiree Snelleman, Ashley Anderson, Lori Michaels, and Kate Moureaux). More to come! By Brenna Fender

The 2014 IFCS World Agility Championships takes place from May 8-11 in the Netherlands. Team USA is made up of 12" team members Andy Mueller and Crackers, Daneen Fox and Masher, Ivette White and Zip, Monique Plinck and Tiki, Linda Womer and Sonic, Mike Padgett and Kona (Alternate); 16" team members Stacy Bols and Krusher, Maureen Waldron and Michael, Jenn Crank and Kaboo, Jennifer Thomas and Rodeo, and Giuliana Lund and Zuri; 22" team members Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy, Paulena-Renee Simpson and Graphite, Jeannette Hutchison and Rumble, Kate Moureaux and Smart, and Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Sobe; and 26" team members Lori Michaels and Solei, Desiree Snelleman and Pace, Terry Smorch and Presto, Ashley Anderson and Psi, Jenn Crank and Sonic, and Jamie Herren and Zip (Alternate). Giuliana and Zuri and Stacy and Sobe replaced Jen Pinder and Britain and Lisa Kucharski and Finesse (respectively), who cannot compete due to injury.

Jeannette and Rumble on course. Photo courtesy of Agility Gallery.

22" team member Jeannette Hutchison lives in Cordova, Maryland, with her nearly nine-year-old Border Collie, Rumble, and is the owner/operator/trainer at BayBriar kennel and Jeannette is very experienced in international competition, going back to the 2002 IFCS World Agility Championships in Russia. She believes that this extensive experience overseas will be very helpful in the Netherlands. "Having already competed and traveled International is a big help as I have an idea of what to expect. Flying with your dog is always stressful due to worrying about their safety."

Jeannette has been doing a lot of preparation for the WAC. "I have been working on the mental game for myself and foundation work for Rumble using cones to help my timing and handling. Rumble and I have worked on international challenges and running courses several times a week. I want her fresh and healthy for competition and spend time playing and going for walks to keep her fit. I have worked hard over the past year to overcome a knee injury."

Jeannette is looking forward to testing herself and Rumble at the event. "Rumble and I enjoy the challenge of the games classes: gamblers and snooker," she says. Her biggest challenges at the event will be dealing with the time change and international travel, she believes. 

When asked what she is most looking forward to about attending the WAC, Jeannette says, "Representing Team USA and cheering on the team. I enjoy meeting competitors from around the world and watching some wonderful dog and handler teams run challenging courses. Rumble and I are proud to represent the USA and have worked hard to realize a dream of running on the team. Thank you for your support!"

Kate Moureaux and Smart. Photo by Karen Moureaux,
Another 22" team member, Kate Moureaux and her four-year-old Border Collie, Smart, live in Simi Valley, California, where Kate is an agility instructor at DrivenDogs Agility. Kate has extensive experience at IFCS World Championship events, which, she says, "I definitely think that having been to previous events is helpful; you have a better idea of what to expect."

To prepare for the event, Kate says, "Smart and I have trained on some of the sample courses from the judges at this event." Smart's skills and assets will certainly help on those types of courses. "Smart is very attentive and eager to be correct. I feel our solid teamwork will help us achieve our goals," Kate says.

Kate is looking forward to competing in the Netherlands for several reasons. "I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with Smart. I love the atmosphere and excitement of international events. I also feel very sentimental that I am returning to the same country that I had my first WAC experience in, back in 2006 with Smart's grandma, Quick."

Desiree Snelleman and Pace, Ashley Anderson and Psi, and Lori Michaels and Solei are representing the 26" team. 

Desiree and Pace pose on course. Photo courtesy of Julie Sandoval, ETS Photography.
Desiree describes herself as a dog trainer/instructor/coach and she lives in Bonney Lake, Washington, with her five-year-old Border Collie, Pace. The duo has attended several international events over the last couple of years. The experience gained from competing overseas will be beneficial, she says, because she will be "more familiar with the running of bigger European events. [I will] know more what to expect."

Desiree has focused on "practicing courses designed by the judges we will see at the IFCS" to prepare for the big event. She also has been doing conditioning and sprint work. 

Desiree says that Pace's strong points include staying focused each run and remaining "connected through the whole course." When asked about what she expects the biggest challenges of the event to be, Desiree replies, "I am not sure if I am aware of any big challenges."

While Desiree has some of the same reasons to look forward to the WAC as the rest of the team does, she has one difference: "I am looking forward to the actual competition, traveling with a great group of athletes, and to revisiting my birth country!"

Ashley Anderson and Psi. Photo courtesy of Tracy Hirsch.

Ashley Anderson, who lives in Leesburg, Virginia with eight-year-old Psi, is a veterinary technician. Ashley has attended several international competitions in the past, one of which was overseas. Like most of her teammates, she believes those experiences will help her at the WAC. She says, "I feel much better prepared to travel and compete overseas this year, having done so last year. The paperwork and other travel preparations have been much easier, and just the thought of 'international competition' is more exciting now than intimidating."

Ashley has spent more of her WAC preparation time on getting and keeping herself and Psi in great physical shape. She says, "I've mainly focused on fitness, to keep the both of us healthy, strong, and as fast as we can be. We've done a lot of walking, jogging, and swimming. I've limited actual agility training to very short sessions a few times per week, to reinforce contact criteria, weaves, and tricky handling sequences."

Psi's strong points in competition are, according to Ashley, personality-based. She says, "I'm lucky to have a dog that is the same to run whether we're at home in our yard or at a major competition. Psi is very level-headed and doesn't get overly-excited, even when the surroundings are chaotic. Together we have a good balance of skills, which makes us equally competitive in the games classes as well as the regular classes."

What does Ashley expect to be the biggest challenge at this event? She says, "I expect the biggest challenge for us overall will be the footing, since the arena looks very sandy, and we usually compete on artificial turf. The most challenging class for us will probably be gamblers."

No matter what the challenges are, Ashley is excited to be involved in the event. "I'm looking forward to representing Team USA with my best friend by my side."

Lori Michaels and Solei. USDAA file photo.
Lori Michaels and her four-and-a-half-year-old Border Collie, Solei, live in Kansas City, Missouri, where Lori is an agility instructor and coach. Lori is very experienced in competing overseas, first with her Shetland Sheepdog, Skye, and later with Solei, but Lori is new to the IFCS World Agility Championship. "While I expect IFCS to have its own 'flavor' compared to the other international events I have attended, there is a bit more confidence on a whole having traveled overseas previously (for me, the most stressful part of the whole experience) and being in that type of competitive environment. Knowing what to expect from Solei when we step in the ring at an event like this is also reassuring," she says.

Event preparation for Solei has been largely dedicated to fitness since Solei had a minor injury recently. Lori says, "Our preparation has been mostly focused on conditioning lately and just reinforcing the skills we currently have. I have also ramped up my intensity in the games classes to sharpen my strategic capabilities."

Event preparation for Solei has been largely dedicated to fitness since Solei had a minor injury recently. Lori says, "Our preparation has been mostly focused on conditioning lately and just reinforcing the skills we currently have. I have also ramped up my intensity in the games classes to sharpen my strategic capabilities."

Solei's solid temperament is very beneficial at a big event like this. Lori says, "Solei is very cool-headed, so I don't have to guess how the environment will affect her performance, which would cause me to question handling options and up the stress-factor. She is all business when we step to the line and I think our greatest strength is that we have a solid partnership. I trust her to do the tasks I give her which allows me more freedom as a handler." The biggest challenges at this event, according to Lori, will be "the courses, of course!"

When asked about what she's most looking forward to at the big event, Lori says, "This is a new event for me so I am looking forward to doing the best we can for Team USA! Many thanks to USDAA and the support of the agility community through fundraising for the team!"

Check back soon to meet more of Team USA!


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