A Bit about myself and how it all started
I think my love of animals came from my parents I am sure I was born with it, they always had dogs, they were country people that had a small-holding with a few pigs, chickens and a field of vegetables and a fruit orchard, all of which were grown for our consumption and to sell, my Dad had a Labrador for gun work and Mum had Pekingese and Pugs as pets, although they were bought from a breeder/exhibitor my Mum was not interested in showing, no matter how much the breeder crazed her too. I have always had an exceptional interest in animals especially dogs, if ever I was asked what I would like for a birthday or Christmas the answer was always the same, a dog or a pony, I never got one, when I was only 4 or 5 I used to ride my friends pony called Comet whenever I could, I thought he was huge but now realize he was only about 13.2, with an apple as bribary and a head-collar, which I had to get on the gate to put on him I would get on at the bottom of his field we would then get to the other gate at whatever speed he decided where he would stop and I would get off if I hadn’t already been tipped off, I would then lead him back to the bottom and start again, that is how I learned to ride, he lived until he was about 35 years old. I used to play with all the dogs in the village, there was a Boxer who was very good at escaping from the pony stud where he lived, he usually ended up at ours, with Mums help I would put a bit of string through his collar and then take him back, I was not much bigger than him. My parents had a bit of trouble with me when I was little because our grounds backed onto the butchers and slaughter house, when the hunt met in the village the hounds would be brought in a horse trailer and they were dropped off at the farm behind our fields and the slaughter house, I was sure they were going there for the same reason as the cattle etc. Obviously I was not happy with this and would not believe what I was told.
I was first introduced to showing when we moved next to a breeder/exhibitor with boarding kennels when I was 12 years old, which is actually where I live now, my parents sold our small holding and had a bungalow built in the grounds of where my Dad was then a gardener. I started helping in the kennels, doing the normal jobs as well as grooming and helping them get the dogs ready for the shows. I was delighted when they asked me if I would like to go to the shows with them, they had Pekingese, Norfolk, Norwich, and Smooth Fox Terriers.
The first dog of my own was a long-coat GSD with whom I did more obedience than showing, I bred from her and kept a pup,
which I did quite well with in the show ring.
Somehow it suddenly turned into a way of living everything in my life was connected to dogs or horses. On the other hand, without them, I probably would never have so many wonderful friends around the world.
My first real love were horses and in the 25 years I had them I had some top quality show hunters, some bought in some home bred, my stallion was home bred he was grandson to the famous stallion Marius that the late Caroline Bradley used to show-jump. My Vegas produced some very good offspring, so although this was a different type of showing and breeding the ‘bug’ had bitten me. Unfortunately when I started having back problems the horses became very difficult to look after at times (and I will not have any thing I cannot look after properly), with a full time job mainly HGV driving, 8 horses and my dogs at home I did not get much spare time, so I decided that I would have to cut down and eventually had to give up my horses which was not easy I had never thought of being without horses of my own, this took some time and careful rehoming but I did it. I had already started looking for some quality dogs, I knew what breeds I wanted, I originally saw a Swedish Vallhund in my early years of showing the hunters, this was a Kirkholme dog owned my Mr. and Mrs. Rawdings and bred by Rosie and the late Gerry Peacock and as they did not breed very often I could not get one from them. After about 2 years of looking I found one unfortunately she was not destined for the show ring although I tried very hard, unbeknown to me when I got her, she came from lines that produced very shy dogs, she went to live with a friend of my daughters and is now loving just being a pet.
I then managed to get one from the Starvon Kennel who I made up to a Champion at about 2 years old. In the time I was trying to find a Vallhund I bought 2 Lancashire Heelers, a great little breed with a sense of humour that is to die for, I achieved a Junior Warrant with one of them, but after being seriously frightened by a blower fan at Newark showground she then decided she was not going to show any more. Then I was fortunate to find a Vallhund pup in Ireland, that’s my “Secret” and she really was the start of something big.
That is when “Mystarz” really began to hit the shows.