Showing Ember

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

 

After a fair amount of convincing, Don Steveson said, he made the change in the registration papers for his 4-year-old Dalmatian from pet to show dog and entered her in the ring. 

Ember is in her second year of competitive dog showing and, according to Steveson, there is no stopping the duo now. 

Ember was purchased by Steveson in 2014 from breeders in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a pet from Rebecca Montgomery with Summit Dalmatians, the owner of Ember’s mother. Carey Moreschini with Dals Ally owns Ember’s father and is also located in the Colorado Springs area . But, convinced by Ember’s breeder, Steveson entered his pup into the show ring for the first time in 2017. 

“Her breeder talked me into it, telling me what a gorgeous dog Ember was and that she needed to get in the ring,” Steveson said. 

He noted that Ember comes from a line of show dogs and has competed with several of her family members, some extended. 

To help Steveson prepare to show his dog, the breeder sent him videos and articles on the subject. According to Steveson, he learned to “stack” Ember, meaning to set her up in the position the judges want her, and how to prance her through the ring. 

“During Ember’s first show on July 17 of last year, I was going to let Carey show her so I could get an idea of what I needed to do in the ring,” Steveson recalled. “But Ember is so tight with me, she was looking for me the entire first day and she didn’t win any awards.” 

So, Steveson decided to show Ember on the second and third days of competition. The result, he said, was that Ember took first place and also received the top award in the best of the winners’ portion of the competition. 

Since then, Ember has competed twice, taking several second-place ribbons and some thirds. 

“It has been an inspiring thing to hear what a pretty dog Ember is and to know with a little more work, she could do really well in the ring,” Steveson said. 

Preparing for the ring, Steveson said, involves practice for both of them. 

“There is a special way you are supposed to hold the leash so it does not distract the judges from the dogs,” Steveson said, adding that this has been something he has to practice. 

The pair also works on Ember’s circle prance while Steveson holds the leash and “stacking.” Steveson noted that the judges look to see how the dog moves while led through the ring. 

“It was interesting when we got into practicing. I was told it is the ‘hardest easiest thing you will do,’ and that is true,” Steveson said. 

According to Steveson, preparing for the ring also means a bath for Ember and a good brushing. He noted that he tries not to bathe her too often because frequent bathing affects the dog’s natural oil and because Dalmatians are good at keeping themselves clean. 

“That is why they look so white all the time,” Steveson said. 

Steveson plans to continue competing with Ember, when he is not watching his sports-minded daughters compete across the state. 

“I really never thought that I would get into it, but now I’m stuck,” Steveson said. “I never really anticipated getting into the show ring, but now we love it. We even had to have Ember’s papers changed so I could show her, and only the breeder can do that.” 

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