Crufts 2022: Heathfield dog trainer wins ‘Instructor of the Year’ award
Judy Hempstead from Heathfield, East Sussex received the Kennel Club Certified Instructor of the Year award, as part of the Certified Instructor Awards ceremony which took place at Crufts on Saturday 12th March.
The awards recognize inspirational dog training instructors who have made a positive difference in the lives of owners and their dogs. Judy was nominated by her family, friends and clients, in recognition of her obedience work with hunting dogs and her ability to foster a connection between dogs and their owners, which creates a fun and engaging environment. .
Judy is certified in Working Gundogs, but also has an understanding of a number of canine disciplines, across conformation, agility, hoops, rallying and canicross.
She started the Working Minority Retriever Club to support minority breed owners through advice and training, and it was this commitment to working dog breeds that led Judy to be seen as a trailblazer and mentor. , especially for young handlers.
This was especially true during the lockdown, where Judy used a variety of methods to stay connected with interns, through online trainings, demos, and challenges for people to work from home. Following the easing of restrictions, Judy organized smaller groups to train in the open, staggering her lessons to ensure a Covid-safe working environment.
As well as the award, Judy also received a £500 donation from the Kennel Club Educational Trust to continue her involvement with dogs.
Speaking about winning her award, Judy said, “I’m so happy to have been named Instructor of the Year! It’s been a tough time trying to establish a formation during Covid, but it’s nice to be rewarded as I’ve tried different methods to get things done during the pandemic.
“I am truly overwhelmed! To be rewarded and recognized for all that I have accomplished during this time was very emotional!”
The purpose of the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Program is to recognize and promote experienced and competent dog training instructors who are committed to using dog training methods based on the principles of kindness, fairness and dog welfare.
The program offers its members the opportunity to earn a nationally recognized professional certification award, based on standards established by The Kennel Club.
This year’s judging panel included Paul Rawlings, President of the Accredited Instructor Program; Kathryn Mansfield, Kennel Club Secretary and Janine Beacher, City and Guilds Representative.
David Phillips, Managing Director, Skills Credentialing at City & Guilds, said: “We are delighted and honored to continue our ongoing relationship with the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Program.
“Maintaining and promoting high standards of animal welfare and professionalism in the canine industry is a vital priority and we are proud to provide instructors with the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication.”
Kathryn Mansfield, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Congratulations to Judy on this well deserved win. The nominations she has received are testament to the gratitude of so many for her contribution to the world of dogs, especially during these turbulent few years due to the pandemic.
“The Kennel Club is very grateful for the valuable work she continues to do.
“This year’s Certified Instructor Awards have proven to be very popular, and we are proud of all the members who were nominated. It’s great to see the program members getting the recognition they deserve.
“With their specialist knowledge and hands-on experience, scheme members make a remarkable effort to improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners.”
For more information on the Accredited Instructor Program, please visit thekennelclub.org.uk/kcai.
For more information and results from Crufts, please visit crufts.org.uk.
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