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Twinstead dog trainer describes ‘huge honour’ after qualifying to represent Team GB at the first Senior Open Agility World Championships

An experienced dog trainer from Suffolk has described the honor and privilege of representing her country on the world stage in the first ever competition of its kind.

Jacqui Wood has qualified to represent Great Britain at next month’s inaugural Senior Open Agility World Championships (SOAWC) – a tournament aimed at older dog handlers.

The event will take place from July 18 to 21 at Sentower Park in Belgium and will feature representatives from 31 different countries, with 1,149 dogs taking part.

Trainer Jacqui Wood and her dog Quiz will represent Team GB next month. Photo: Mark Westley

Jacqui, who runs the Ace Agility training school in Twinstead, will compete with her 10-year-old Shetland Sheepdog Quiz in the medium pairs category, in the 55-65 age group.

With over 35 years of experience as a dog behaviorist and agility trainer, Jacqui has helped many others qualify for competitions in the past.

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These include training countless junior handlers to reach major events such as Crufts, as well as helping a disabled client qualify for the World Paragility Championships.

This time, however, she said the chance to take part herself and represent Team GB was ‘something you always dreamed of’.

“It’s super exciting,” said Jacqui. “I’m counting down the days until it starts.

“I was very emotional when I qualified. I took three dogs to the trials and the one that ultimately qualified was not the one I expected.

“I’ve been training in agility for 38 years, I’ve trained champions and helped many kids get to Crufts, but I mainly went for this one because it’s for older handlers.

“This competition is new, so it brings emotions, because it is the first time it is being held.

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“To be selected to represent your country is a huge honor and it means a lot because all my hard work has paid off. It’s a real privilege.”

Jacqui also paid tribute to her own trainer in Essex and the sponsorship of Robert Lees, at Linkswood Vets, and Daniel Piper, at Suffolk Chiropractic Services.

She has been based in Glemsford for many years and still runs Ace Agility from Cobb’s Farm, Twinstead.

Ace Agility spokesperson Hazel Crane added: “Jacqui has trained a number of junior handlers who have represented Great Britain in the Open Junior Agility Championships and returned home with medals.

“Her other amazing achievements were producing junior handlers who not only qualified for Crufts, but won placings and also returned with rosettes and trophies.

“She spends so much of her time training world champions and Crufts winners that she rarely thinks about competing herself.

“This time she did, because this is the first time this competition is taking place.

“When Jacqui informed the club that she had attended trials for SOAWC and qualified, everyone at Ace Agility was thrilled and proud as punch.

“The club is so proud and happy. We can’t wait to see her represent her country in Belgium.”

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