Dog Agility veteran of 20 years, Trixie Gillard, continues to achieve success in dog agility competitions despite restricted mobility through ownership of a TGA Supersport.
Trixie totally depends on her Supersport for mobility as she lives independently with her four dogs Seamus, Sapphire, Emerald and Ruby. Her three generations of Working Strain Golden Retrievers are her pride and joy and without her scooter she would not be able to walk them or compete.
“I use a TGA Supersport as I have osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia, so a lot of pain and exhaustion to contend with,” she says. “Plus, I have an acute back injury which means I can't stand for very long. I used to compete on my feet but that would be impossible now, thank goodness I can with my Supersport.”
Trixie competes in around 20 competitions annually and has competed in many prestigious ranking events including the Para Agility World Championships, where she achieved a third-place finish with Sapphire.
“I still get a buzz from competing and my dogs love it,” she adds. “I'm originally from the ‘horse world’ and use my experience of riding courses to improve our times, especially as directing a dog is more challenging than controlling a horse! My scooter has to be able to respond and turn accurately which is so important otherwise you can easily put your dog off, resulting in time penalties. Competitions are always long days – commonly from 8am until 5pm – so I would never be able to cope without my scooter.”
Trixie’s choice of Supersport comes down to its sharp manoeuvrability on different terrain. It also fits in the back of her van and provides all the power and traction she needs to drive on grass and mud.
“I compete all year with able-bodied competitors and they have got used to seeing me on the it,” she says. “There are several of us in the UK using scooters or wheelchairs and we have shown we can hold our own in this very competitive sport. I find the Supersport the best vehicle for me as it has a very good turning circle which is so important over a twisty course and it has a good speed.”
“So many people still comment on it as it really is an attention grabber. I've even had bikers pull up alongside me commenting on how fantastic my machine looks. It has the best turning circle I have ever come across in a scooter which is essential for the tight twists and turns in dog agility.”
Trixie first tried a mobility scooter at Blenheim Palace thanks to the hire service provided by Event Mobility. In partnership with TGA, Event Mobility is a charity which offers TGA mobility scooters at outdoor events such as Badminton Horse Trials, the British Grand Prix and the Game Fair. She also gained knowledge regarding the best off-road scooters through joining the Disabled Ramblers on several rambles.
But away from training and competing, Trixie uses the Supersport every day to walk her dogs along rural track and trails.
"Dog agility will continue to be a huge part of my life thanks to my scooter however my current eighth pup will be the last I train,” she concludes. “When not in the arena training or competing, I can walk all four dogs on my scooter no problem and when pup Ruby gets tired, she jumps on the footplate. I simply couldn't fulfil my life without a Supersport."