Jess Kimpton and Quickstep Miss Serendipity: A Dynamic Duo at the National Sheepdog Trial Championships

Jul 1, 2024 | Spotlight on our Champions

The National Sheepdog Trial Championships is an event where handlers and their dogs demonstrate incredible skill and teamwork. This year, Jess Kimpton and Quickstep Miss Serendipity, fondly known as Missy, made an impressive mark by securing sixth place in the Maiden Competition. Their unique journey to the championships and the strong bond they share highlights their dedication and passion for the sport.

A Unique approach to Preparation

Jess’ preparation with Missy was far from typical. Missy, owned by Tsuey Hiu, leads a busy life in the city, competing in various disciplines including agility, jumping, trick dog, and dancing with dogs. Tsuey, unable to attend the trial, lent Missy to Jess, who is both Missy’s breeder and instructor. Despite Missy’s diverse activities, they managed their usual weekly sheep training sessions. “For an inner city dog, she has a busy schedule,” Jess remarked, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of Missy.

Early Inspiration and Mentorship

Jess’s interest in sheepdog trials began in her teenage years with her first Shetland sheepdog. Mentored by Colin Webster, she was introduced to the complexities and rewards of the sport. Colin gifted her first Border Collie, Ivanhoe Shep, whose talent helped Jess develop her skills. “The difficulty of the sport and the need for a strong partnership with your dog were strong driving forces for me,” Jess explains. Her love for working with animals and the challenge of the sport have kept her dedicated ever since.

A Unique Bond and Exceptional Talent

What set Jess and Missy apart from the competition was their extensive experience and training. “Missy has always been an extremely talented dog and is a joy to work with,” Jess said. Being involved in Missy’s life from birth as her breeder added a special dimension to their relationship. Tsuey’s dedication to keeping Missy fit and maintaining a strong bond with her dog also played a crucial role. “A dog that loves you will give you everything she has,” Jess emphasised, highlighting the importance of a deep connection between handler and dog.

Overcoming Challenges in the Ring

The competition posed its challenges, especially during the final round. They faced a particularly stubborn sheep that stood its ground against Missy. Despite this, Missy held her ground but chose not to engage aggressively. “As a handler, I listened to my dog, and for her to tell me she couldn’t do it was fine,” Jess recounted. This moment showcased the trust and understanding between Jess and Missy. After the timer went off, Missy was rewarded with pats and cuddles, reaffirming their bond.

Advice for Aspiring Competitors

Jess offers valuable advice for those aspiring to compete in the National Trial. She stresses the importance of gaining trial experience and acclimating to the big atmosphere of the event. “Get lots of trial experience in! It’s a very big atmosphere at the trial for the dogs and sheep,” she advised. She encourages starting at smaller trials, asking questions, watching other runs, and practising diligently. “You don’t necessarily have to be the best, but you want to make sure you and your dogs show off to your best ability,” she added.