Riding accident sets Lyndsey on course for a new canine career

Lyndsey Rutherford has set up Central Bark in Morpeth as a doggy day care and grooming business after a serious injury stopped her working with horses.  She is pictured with dog trainer Susan Gilbert.
Lyndsey Rutherford has set up Central Bark in Morpeth as a doggy day care and grooming business after a serious injury stopped her working with horses. She is pictured with dog trainer Susan Gilbert.

A BELSAY woman has turned to man’s best friend after an nasty injury put a stop to her original career.

Lyndsey Rutherford had been looking after and riding horses for many years alongside her job in the pet care industry and she set her sights on a long-term position working in stables as a groom after achieving an HND in equine management at Kirkley Hall last May.

She suffered a life-changing accident soon afterwards and although her broken foot got a little better, it means she is unable to ride a horse without suffering a lot of pain.

But the 27-year-old was determined to do something useful when she was injured and the answer came in the form of her other favourite animal.

As she helped teach Border Collie Grace to work sheep on a local farm, where she lives with her partner, and her cocker spaniel Sweep is a working gundog, Lyndsey did a dog grooming course online.

Practical courses followed and she enjoyed them all. They convinced her to try caring for canines for a living and she teamed up with experienced trainer Susan Gilbert to launch Central Bark at Whitehouse Farm near Stannington.

Other instructors have come on board and this has enabled the business to look after all aspects of a dog’s welfare.

As well as a 140sq m arena – there is a no kennel policy – it offers walking, feeding and interaction with other dogs, a full grooming service and training classes for all ages and abilities.

Lyndsey said: “On the day of the accident, I was riding out for a friend when suddenly the horse reared up and fell on me.

“I was in hospital for three days and I suffered a subtalar fracture of the foot. Once I got the cast off it didn’t heal as much as I wanted it to and a consultant told me just before Christmas that it wasn’t going to get a lot better.

“I was upset because I couldn’t get my foot to the correct angle to ride a horse and I haven’t been back on one since the accident.

“But as one door closed, another door opened with the dog training courses and I’m glad in a way how things have turned out because I enjoy working for myself and I get a lot of reward out of developing people’s dogs.

“We treat each dog we take care of as if they were our own and as we’re all living increasingly busy lifestyles, we’re happy to provide day care for full days (8am up to 6pm), half days or on an hourly basis.

“The premises are excellent for us because the unit is big enough for everything we need indoors and we have acres of farmland in which to walk the dogs.

“A high percentage of canines are of a gundog breed, so they need regular stimulation and activity and it is not good for them to be left at home for long periods.”

She is studying towards a gold level award with the Academy of Dog Trainers and Behaviourists (ADTB).

Susan has an NVQ level two in animal care, an NVQ level three in pet care management, has the ADTB gold standard and is currently studying towards a foundation degree in advanced canine management and psychology.

The Stamfordham resident has two Saarloos wolfhounds.

“My degree looks into the brain function of dogs, which I’m applying to my classes and one-to-one behavioural consultations,” she said.

Central Bark will also be attending various events across the region this summer and at the Burgham Horse Trials between July 13 and 15, it will run a companion dog show and have-a-go agility sessions.

For more information about the business, telephone 01670 789106 or visit www.dogtrainingnortheast.com