A FORMER Croft girl – now a grandmother aged 52 – competed in the World Championships of the internationally recognised sport of IPO in Spain.
Joanne Bridge won a place in the UK team in national competitions and helped the team to finish 8th overall – the highest finishing position it has ever achieved in the World Championships.
The former St Lewis’ Primary and St Aelred’s Secondary School pupil achieved the best overall position in the UK team – 18th. This has only been bettered once before in the past.
IPO is International Working Trials for Working Dogs and can be described as canine three-day eventing, with dog and handler teams being examined and graded in three different disciplines – obedience, tracking and protection.
The sport originated in Germany about 100 years ago as an evaluation of German Shepherd Dogs but is now practised in 46 countries with many different breeds of dog taking part. The World Championships are both an individual and a team contest with teams consisting of five competitors. The scores of the best three go forward to make the national total.
Joanne and her husband Chris Bows have been involved in IPO for many years and train at the South Cheshire IPO Club near their home in Moore – one of the most successful clubs in the UK.
It was Joanne’s first World Championships and also a first for her dog, Xam, who is now four years old. Their success is regarded as a great achievement and was greeted with great enthusiasm by all fans of IPO and the working dog in the country who were able to watch the event via live streaming.