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2017 Versatile Springer Award

CH Hillcrest Just The Ticket CD BN RA JH AX AXJ NF CGC TKN WD
Owned by Karen Lumb, Diane Gribble, Jennifer Smith, and Henriette Schmidt

Photo by Dan Hoag

2012: Champion
2013: Novice Agility, Novice Agility Jumper, Beginner Novice, Rally Novice
2014: Canine Good Citizen, Open Agility
2015: Rally Advanced, Open Agility Jumper
2016: Agility Excellent, Excellent Agility Jumper
2017: Junior Hunter, Working Dog Certificate, Companion Dog
2018: Trick Dog Novice, Agility Fast Novice

Photo by Jaelee Schwartz

When Ticket’s sister Mia was on the road to her conformation title, Henriette sent Ticket to keep us (Karen & Diane) company and fill the void in our home. We were unaware at the time that he was with us to stay, and that he would make our family complete.

Ticket was already a conformation Champion when he came to live with us, having earned that title at the expert hand of Karen Prickett Miller. He also had already found his first love, running agility with his co-owner & handler Jennifer Smith. Ticket & Jenn make a beautiful team, and have spent countless hours together training, traveling, and trialing.

In 2013, Ticket taught us the basics of Obedience & Rally, earning his first titles in each of those disciplines. After that, he happily focused on Agility, earning his Open, Open Jumper, Excellent, and Excellent Jumper titles. Along the way, he was gracious enough to continue to train with Karen in Obedience, adding CGC and Rally Advanced titles to his resumé.

It wasn’t until he was 7 years old that we discovered Ticket’s true passion, hunting. With Karen on the whistle, Ticket trained alongside his sister, and at the 2017 Springer National, he earned his Junior Hunter title and his Working Dog certificate. He also received special recognition from the gunners as a dog they would like to hunt with. His enthusiasm, determination, and beauty in the field are breathtaking to watch, and he continues to train and enter hunt tests today.

The first time Diane saw him jump in the pond after a bird, she said “he needs to go dock diving,” and he eventually got that opportunity and found another great love. Ticket is a natural, and we hope to offer him many more chances to advance his diving career, despite an already full dance card.

When he’s not busy training or testing, Ticket loves to spend time at home, chasing squirrels, flying around the yard, lying in the shade on the deck, or making snow angels. He is also quite the ladies’ man, having sired 7 litters totaling 45 gorgeous pups, including titlists in conformation (2 Champions, 2 more with both majors), agility, obedience, rally, hunt tests, scent work and barn hunt.

It’s easy to recount Ticket’s achievements, but so hard for us to describe how much we love this beautiful, talented, sensitive, and loving boy. We can’t thank Henriette (his “Mama H”) enough for trusting us to love and provide for him, and for her ongoing support. Ticket’s presence in our lives is a blessing for which we will always be grateful.

Owned by Kim Berkley and Mike Bockhorn

2010 Champion of Record, Obedience Trial Champion
2011 Master Agility Champion, ESSFTA Obedience Springer of the year, ESSFTA Utility Springer of the year
2013 Obedience Grand Master, Master Agility Champion 4, Rally Advanced Excellent
2015 Preferred Agility Champion, Working Dog
2016 Tracking Dog, Versatile Companion Dog 2
2017 Junior Hunter

I am honored to receive this award once again on Dani’s behalf. When Dani’s breeder, Mike Bockhorn, gave me this amazing girl, I knew we were in for a ride and could only wonder how high she might fly. In August 2011, I got my answer, when Dani became the youngest dog in AKC history to earn her breed, obedience, and agility championships. She notched this stunning achievement at the age of 2 years 7 months. At that point, with CH OTCH MACH Dani at my side, I knew the sky truly was the limit.

Dani was born on January 12, 2009. By March 2010, she had her breed championship, and just eight months later, at the tender age of 22 months, she earned her OTCH. She rounded out her trio of championships by completing her MACH in August 2011.

At that point, the only thing missing from her resume was a hunting title, and she checked that box by earning her Junior Hunter title on September 23, 2017. We all worked very hard to gain this title. Danelle Oliver deserves credit for her extraordinary patience and persistence with my girl. Dani has a great delivery to hand and great water entry, but she always seemed to think the birds should come down, and when they didn't she ran and ran when she should've come back. She finally racked up four tests in which the birds cooperated and finished her JH title. Without Danelle’s expert tutelage, though, we might still be out there trying.

Dani also earned her TD (Tracking Dog) title, with our friend Lynn Bauer training and handling her in competition. Lynn’s main task, it sometimes seemed, was to persuade Dani not to hunt birds while she was tracking!

Dani is an exceptional Springer, and I am very grateful to her breeder, Mike Bockhorn, for entrusting her to me.

AFC Siskiyou Mountain Lunar Raider CD MHA OA OAJ NF OFP CGC WDX
Owned by Jack and Cindy Williams

2009: Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter
2010: Amateur Field Champion, Master Hunter, Working Dog Excellent, ESSFTA Multi-Titlist Medallion
2014: Novice Agility, Novice Agility Jumper, Open Agility, Open Agility Jumper, ESSFTA Multi-Titlist Medallion
2015: Novice Fast, Open Fast Preferred, ESSFTA Multi-Titlist Medallion
2016: Master Hunter Advanced
2017: Companion Dog, Canine Good Citizen

Photo by Kat Brusko

Luna was born May 3, 2006 and eight weeks later she introduced my husband and I to the joys and challenges of partnering with a field-bred English Springer Spaniel. Clearly, the first order of business was for Luna to make it clear that springers are not just any dog; they are happy, enthusiastic bundles of love and inquisitiveness. The first seven months after Luna came home were full of joy. Her tail never stopped wagging, she was ever ready to play, she exuded joy; Luna was the perfect family pet. At nine months, Luna was ready to move on to phase two of the education of her rookie springer owners. Never subtle, Luna brought her point firmly home when she took off after a covey of quail while in the middle of a back-country hike. It took us two hours to realize that wandering the hills and gullies was not productive and decide to hike back out to our truck (with the intention of getting our camping gear, setting up camp where our helpless puppy was last seen, and awaiting her return) … where we discovered that far from being “lost,” Luna was extremely proud of herself and happily waiting for our return! We got the message – springers are serious bird dogs – and we knew we needed to learn how to be a real partner to our energetic and talented pup.

As I learned about handling Luna in the field and she learned about the joys of working birds as one-half of a partnership, Luna blossomed from family pet to family pet with a purpose, and together we took our first tentative steps into the world of competition. Luna and I began with Hunt Tests, starting at the Junior level and moving briskly through the Master level, while picking up a Working Dog Excellent title along the way. At almost the same time we investigated Hunt Tests, Luna and I stuck our toes into the world of field trialing and found a welcoming home. Luna became the “Lady in Red,” placing 2nd more times than I can remember before completing her AFC with a win in challenging winter conditions on a downwind course. Eventually, Luna matured to an age where field trials were asking a lot of her. She still had the desire and heart, but serious trialing was more than I wanted to continue to ask of her, and she mostly retired at age 9 from the competition field. We did continue to run an occasional Hunt Test, and ultimately Luna earned her Master Hunter Advanced title one year later.

However, Luna didn’t believe in retirement or even partial retirement, so we took up a new sport – Agility Trials. Although there were no birds involved, Luna took to Agility with alacrity. We started with standard and jumpers, earning Novice and Open titles in both during her first year, despite only entering the limited number of local trials that were available. The second year, Luna added Fast to her repertoire, quickly earning her Novice Fast title, then completing Open Fast Preferred before retiring for the second time at age 10. This retirement didn’t last much longer than her first, and the following year we ventured into the world of Obedience, earning Luna’s CD over the course of our first competitive weekend. Now 12 years old, Luna is trying retirement once again; although who knows what might yet be in her future. Certainly, Luna has trained us well and equipped us to be full partners with the additional springers that have joined our family. We know that a good springer will turn themselves inside out to do what you ask, but that, no matter what, they are first and foremost “always a bird dog.” And, what a gift that is. I still get a burst of joy every time I watch Luna work a bird. Nose to the ground, working the wind, and tail wagging a mile a minute, she has to be one of the happiest dogs on earth.