Yes, it’s that time of year again! Show time!
Time to dust off the PA system, check the props, buy new tennis balls, charge the dummy launchers’ batteries, test fire the starting pistols, find a few rabbit skins and get rehearsing for the round of shows and demonstrations that are just around the corner.
We kick off this year’s round with my favourite venue for my favourite organisation: Help for Heroes at Tedworth House in Wiltshire.
This is an event exclusively for all the injured Service personnel from all the Services, still serving and medically discharged, who will gather at Tedworth House to meet with like-minded friends who have endured similar experiences and enjoy a weekend of countryside pursuits, all provided free of charge by a range of organisations and people.
As I too was medically discharged, I’ve been invited both as an exhibitor and as a guest! I’ve been asked to give a short presentation to everyone on my own experience going through injury, Headley Court and subsequent medical discharge before putting on a display with the dogs. Then it’s supper and a couple of lemonades, no doubt!
I always get nervous before the first display of the year and probably rehearse too much as a result. But once we’re underway, the nerves dissolve and I just concentrate on the dogs. This year, I hope to have a few of my Training Assistants from Mullenscote Dog Training Centre come along and help out, all of them aspiring dog trainers. This will make a big difference. As a mere man, I find it difficult to multi-task – provide commentary and do the displays. Hopefully I can get my helpers to do some of the practical work leaving me free to witter on!
Make up, lighting, sound check, curtain up! On second thoughts, forget the make up – silk purse and sow’s ear etc.