Interview with Owner Handler Michelle Ridenour
1. When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
I grew up in a “dog family” and started showing at eight years old. My main breed is the Saluki, which I fell in love with when I was 13, seeing one at a dog show. Icelandic Sheepdogs are the other love of my life, and I met my first one at Agility class—and fell in love with the fun-loving nature of the breed.
2. How many years in dogs?
I have been in dogs for 31 years.
3. Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Yes, I occasionally attend classes when I have young dogs. I haven’t attended any seminars, but I have given them.
4. Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
5. Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
NOHS is not important to me. Breed rankings are, yes, but NOHS, no.
6. In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
I enter my dogs in Bred-By or breed, depending on their eligibility.
7. Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as an Owner Handler?
No, I feel like the most important thing is to improve your skill level, so that you LOOK like a professional.
8. Are you intimidated by the professional handlers? By the judges?
No and no.
9. Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler?
There are way too many over the years to pick.
10. How important is the Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
Breeders and Owner Handlers are the only thing that will keep this sport going. Without an owner who is willing to show (or hire a handler to show), dog shows will go extinct.
11. What are your goals as an Owner Handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
My goal is to show my dogs to the best of their ability. I have yet to win an all-breed Best in Show… that is my ultimate goal.
Michelle Ridenour: Breeders and Owner Handlers are the only thing that will keep this sport going. Without an owner who is willing to show (or hire a handler to show), dog shows will go extinct.