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One of the First Agility Training Clubs Comes of Age

Bretons DTC was one of the first clubs in the UK to do the new sport of show jumping for dogs. In 2000 they were 21 years young.

Jean West and KelsieBretons DTC was formed by a group of people who became interested in Agility in 1979. Jean West (left) and Brenda Reay decided they would like to do something different with their dogs as Jean's dog was not too happy with the more rigid Obedience training although it did enjoy working and being with other dogs. Brenda's dog was more enthusiastic on Obedience but also enjoyed the difference in doing Agility. From these first ideas they investigated the setting up of a club for FUN Agility so Bretons was conceived.

The early years were a lot different from the present time. Their husbands made the equipment and Brenda and Jean used to load their cars up each Sunday and transport the gear to the training ground in all weathers, do the training and then load it all up and take it home again. Innovation was the key word, and they did all this enthusiastically. In the present climate of specialist equipment it would have looked very strange.

Gradually more people heard of our efforts and came along and joined us, so evolved the Club to the need to be registered with the Kennel Club. After much discussion on the name of our Club (Agility alone was not acceptable in those days), we settled for Bretons DTC reflecting the venue for our training and that we are a dog club. The Club applied for and received registration with the Kennel Club in September 1980 and have been a registered Club ever since. The local council appreciated this and gave us support in our infancy, giving us a license to train on Bretons Sports and Leisure Centre. We still enjoy the support of the Council and have recently re-negotiated a lease into the new Millennium.

Jean West receiving cup for community serviceAnd now
From small beginnings we have grown into a compact friendly Club that covers Pet Control, Good Citizenship, Fun and Competition Agility Classes. Close scrutiny of the photo of fledgling Bretons DTC (circa 1981) reveals Penny Fordham who is still training with us today - as a trainer, of course. Pat McNally, well know locally for agility and flyball is there, too.

Control training is carried out at Bretons on Sunday mornings all the year round rain or shine, and on Tuesday evenings in the Summer months when light permits. Training is carried out and controlled by qualified instructors commencing with a Road Safety course and continue though various classes. Several members go on to compete in exemption shows and some also compete in Obedience.

Queen Tether trainingAgility training is carried out at Lower Park Farm, Collier Row on Monday evenings throughout the year, training commences with a Starters class and carries on through other classes. In the Autumn and Winter we also carry out Agility training Sunday mornings at Bretons Sports and Leisure Centre, if there are no Agility shows.

We have run Agility shows for many years Queen Tether trainingin June at Bretons and in September at Brentwood in conjunction with the Brentwood Festival. We had to discontinue running the Brentwood show mainly due to the fall off in the amount of money we were able to give to charities because of the increased costs in the fees for running the show. We still run the June show and next year we have been selected for the third year to run a heat of the Agility Club Starters Agility Challenge 2000.

The Club has seen many changes over the years, and we have seen - and are still seeing - many different breeds of dogs from Bernese Mountain dogs to Bedlington/Whippet crosses which makes it very interesting. We have had a very wide selection of Committee Members and Officers who have all added to the making of a very friendly Club. Our shows have been very well attended, and we hope that this will continue into the future as 2000 will be our 21st anniversary.

Our present will always be willing to help anyone who would like to try our methods. Just contact our Secretary Tony Jeffreys on 01708-521511. He will be pleased to have a chat.


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