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Junior Spotlight

Junior Report: Justice, Pistol, Grace & Deluge

The odyssey began simple enough. Our oldest Brittany’s had passed on. The younger children in the family were hitting the mid teenage years. Our youngest daughter 14, had expressed an interest in caring for and working with a pup. On Thanksgiving Day 2017, Grace Ann and I took off for the middle of Utah from southern Kansas to pick up a pup. We had been on multiple lists for breeding’s to a particular stud, but all the litters fell through to that point. The trip was long. Grace appeared to enjoy the numerous stories of Brittany’s of the past, what makes the Brittany the best possible breed, how to care for, train, and handle a Brittany. It wasn’t until we were almost home that she admitted she was so attentive to my babbling, for fear if she didn’t I might fall a sleep at the wheel. Smart girl.

Grace took to caring for Deluge like a fish to water. She has the gift of being a natural trainer. Loving but firm. When Grace spoke, Deluge listened. We spent many days’ together running and preparing Deluge in field. When Deluge was seven months old we ran her in her first Hunt Test. The first two runs Deluge was excellent in her runs. She found a lot of birds and looked good doing it. On Sunday, Grace ran Deluge the first run and she found no birds. Grace was heartbroken. She just knew it was something she did or didn’t do that resulted in a bird less run. We had a good talk about handling, bird scent, and wind direction. Deluge was only in the bird field once for about two minutes and spent the rest of her time everywhere but the bird field. Bird scent was just not good for a few hours on that particular field. We talked a lot about the run. After a few tears and lunch Grace ran again and Deluge found lots of birds. We finished with three ribbons towards the Junior Hunter title. Terry Gowin, Southern Kansas Brittany Club Secretary and good friend told us about the AKC Junior Handler Recognition program. We registered Grace in the program. Everyone in the Southern Kansas Brittany Club was supportive of Grace and Deluge. We ran Deluge in a horseback SKBC Trial with Grace handling. Now Grace could combine her two loves, horses and Deluge. We ended up with a Junior Hunter title for Deluge in the fall of 2018.

During the summer of 2018 we added another pup (this time in Kansas, hat tip Steven and Kelly Foster), with my son Justice, 13, learning to raise and handle a Brittany. Pistol and Justice picked up two ribbons for the Junior Hunter title. Pistol and Justice completed the Junior Hunter title in the spring of 2019.

At the Fall 2018 SKBC Hunt Test the strangest thing happened. A GSP guy (Tom Wynn) complemented the kids on their dogs and handling ability. He invited us to a walking trial in Oklahoma the next weekend. We went to the trial and the rest is history.

Both Grace and Justice are enrolled in the Junior Handler program. The Junior Handler points standing for 2019 had them finish one and two in the nation in Field Trialing for the Brittany breed and all breeds. They both finished tied for second in the Hunt Test points for Brittany’s. The kids competed in Kansas horseback trials, Colorado Brittany and Kansas/Oklahoma GSP walking trials. The hospitality of the GSP clubs was amazing.

Below are Grace and Justice’s answers to some questions about their experience.

What did you like about running Hunt Tests and Field Trials?

G- I liked being out there with Deluge, enjoying our connection as a team in the field, and talking with the other handlers. Deluge being recognized was very nice.

J- I like watching Pistol run the course and learning about handling the dog. She finds lots of birds.


G- Not getting a placement when she ran the course so well. I got stressed about doing well.

J- Nothing

What did you like about being in the AKC Junior Handler program?

G- The program allows us young people to be recognized for competing our dogs.

J- We can learn from a young age how to handle dogs in competition.

How do the judges help you?

G- They gave us good advice, tips, and support.

J- The same.

What did you like the most; Hunt Test’s, Walking Trials, or Horse Back Trials?

G- Walking trials. I think Deluge and I had a closer connection when I handled on the ground. I liked handling from a horse, but Deluge has a shorter range and she wasn’t recognized for how good she is.

J- I like them all. I really like handling and watching dogs run off a horse.

Our family would like to thank AKC for the Junior Handler Program opportunities, the members of the Southern Kansas Brittany Club; Terry Gowin for his support of Grace and Justice. Terry has been a part of our lives since 1994, Herb Rea, Larry Hagedorn, and Scott Johnson for the use of his horse one frigid day in Oklahoma. The GSP Club’s; GSP of Oklahoma and Sunflower GSP Club in Kansas. Thank you.