Irish Setter Club of America Juniors Seminar
By: Emily Bisso
Over the last decade, the Irish Setter Club of America has worked
hard to cultivate its juniors program. With the help of club leaders,
the ISCA board of directors, and ISCA members, junior showmanship
has taken a leading role in the club. Today, the ISCA boasts one of
the most organized and thriving juniors programs in the country.
One of the leading features of the ISCA juniors program is the annual
junior showmanship seminar that occurs at the National Specialty.
Past instructors and guest speakers at the seminar have included George
Alston and Eileen Hackett. This year, at the National Specialty in
Warwick, RI, renowned professional handler and past top Canadian junior
handler Will Alexander and recently aged-out top juniors Ashley Tripodi
and Lindsey Waterman offered their skills to younger handlers. Due
to the growing interest in the junior seminar, a large number of juniors
signed up for the seminar, and participants were divided into groups
by skill level. Alexander taught the more experienced handlers, while
Tripodi and Waterman assisted the novice handlers.
The finely honed skills of Will Alexander were on full display as
he coached the young handlers in his group. He took the time to approach
each person individually, addressing specific problems and abilities,
making note of the unique aspects of the Irish Setter, and offering
bits of helpful advice as a professional handler. Meanwhile, in the
other ring, Tripodi and Waterman patiently worked with the less experienced
but very enthusiastic younger group, expertly teaching the basics
of the dog show routine. Participants watched attentively, learning
the beauty of “soft hands,” the correct way to hold an Irish Setter tail, and
the intricacies of courtesy turns.
On Friday morning, the day of Junior Showmanship judging and the morning
after the seminar, all the juniors looked a little more seasoned in
the ring. The ISCA looks forward to the bright potential of its juniors,
who truly represent the future of the sport.
Click on image for caption and larger view.