SKIPTON native Jo Wormald has once again qualified to represent Great Britain at the Dryland Dog Racing World Championships, which take place in Finland this October.

Wormald first qualified a team in 2019 and was the first person from the Craven area to achieve this, and although the Covid-19 pandemic stopped race action for a while, she is back with an exciting team of native breed rescue hounds.

Wormald, ranked fifth in the UK, will be racing in ‘bikejor’, which is a winter sport that's essentially riding a bike with your dog or dogs pulling you along, and she is looking forward to this ‘epic road trip’ as well as flying the flag for rescue dogs.

Foxhounds are the number one vulnerable dog breed in the UK currently and the rescue situation for them is at an all-time low.

Wormald, who is a teaching assistant at Brooklands School, a specialist institution, believes that the traits which can make hounds hard work as ‘pets’ makes them perfect for dryland and harness sports.

She said: “They live to run and put everything into their work.

“I am very grateful for support from the Gilbertson and Page pet care store for providing my hounds with the perfect food to fuel their exploits and I can’t wait to show off how good these second-hand hounds can be in competition.

“Hopefully I can raise some awareness for them too in the lead up to and in Finland at the championships.”

Jo Wormald racing along during a training session with her dogs in harness. Jo Wormald racing along during a training session with her dogs in harness. (Image: UGC.)

Wormald admitted that she stumbled upon the sport through the love of being with her own rescue dogs.

She said: “Before I started dryland racing, I started running and scootering with one of my rescue dogs as he couldn’t be let off the lead but needed to run.

“At the time I had no idea that it was an actual sport, but then I found a training camp advertised online for people learning to run dogs in harness.

“I went along, learned a lot, made a lot of new friends and promptly entered my first race.

“Looking back, I was pretty poor at it, and didn’t have any fancy kit but I’m a big believer that if you want something enough, and work hard enough, you find a way to achieve it.”

On representing Great Britain, the Skipton native said: “I am beyond proud of my amazing hounds and it’s amazing that we have the opportunity to race for Team GB.

“Most of them have been in one rescue centre or another before coming to me but giving an outlet for their energy and sensible guidance is great for me and the dogs. They have blossomed into incredible, tenacious athletes leading fulfilled, happy lives.

“I am super excited about the next part of our adventure together; driving all the way to Finland and back is going to be an epic road trip and not for the faint hearted - but I’m mainly excited to show the world just how good rescue dogs can be, and what anyone at all can achieve if you put your mind to it. 

“Together with the hounds, who are my life, we make a world class team. I cannot describe how good it feels to be able to say that.”