Talking Trail Dogs with Becci Skelton

In this story Klare (@urbanwolfphotography) speaks to Becci Skelton about Esme her MTB trail dog.

DOGS! Who doesn’t love them? With their little adorable faces, wet noses and big soppy eyes staring back at you. There’s something completely captivating about dogs. They’re always there. They always listen and they give endless love and support. Especially in times of hardship or uncertainty like, we face now – yes, cats are cool too and I love my Bengal and he loves an adventure but since getting a new puppy, I’ve noticed more and more just how much stoke they have, how much joy they get from just running around with their tongues hanging out.

How they love to join you on any adventures, wether following you to every room in the house or out on the trails for endless fun and although River is not quite big enough to join me on the trails yet and be a full-blown trail dog as she’s only 20 wks old I thought I’d get her started and introduce her to the biking world and she’s already obsessed with my bike so I decided to delve into the world of trail dogs even more and I wasn’t disappointed with the results. 

Many will know Becci Skelton and her accomplishments in the mtb world but in case you don’t, here’s a recap. She’s a full-on badass in downhill and calls herself a “dog bothering lass born and raised in the flatlands of Lincolnshire”. 

After picking up a bike because she wanted to join her mates for the weekend she’s gone on to be consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally and is the current Elite British Series Champ. 

She’s also a full-time personal trainer, with 15 years under her belt – her skills in coaching; both PT or specifically aimed at MTBrs, it’s hard not to be impressed with the results; fellow OTMM writer Katie participated in her classes and has benefited greatly; check out that article and get to know Becci a bit better but after you’re done with reading this one because, in this article, we are talking dogs and one, in particular, Beccis trail dog, Esme. 

^ Esme chasing Becci on the trails – Becci says Es is available for camera work 

Now sit comfortably and let’s get talking DOGS. 

Becci’s introduction on Insta starts off with “just a dog bothering lass from the flatlands” so I asked her to tell me what it is about dogs she loves and her response was just as adorable… “Haha, I am a complete dog botherer! Well, all animals in fact…” 

Now, to me, that’s just gold and makes her a completely awesome human in my eyes because who doesn’t love dogs and all animals. Becci went on to tell me she “has an absolute need to touch every animal she sees and once petted a rat in the street on a night out over Christmas”, although, the lads thought she was “nuts”!

She goes on to say in regards to dogs though, “l just love their loyalty and unconditional love they give you. They never have a bad day where they’re grumpy and snappy like humans, they’re just so stoked on life all of the time – I think most people could learn a lot from a dogs mentality and outlook on life”. 

I must say I totally agree with Becci – having River over this unprecedented period in time has been a saving grace as many of you reading this will feel about your own dogs/pets. 

Becci’s dog is Esme. A black and white (and very beautiful) Border Collie, Becci says, “she’s coming up 2 now, and (mostly) is a little gem. She’s actually really small for her breed, she was deffo the runt bless her, but that does make her super agile and so fast”.

You might be reading this and think but collies are naturally enthusiastic so how did Becci introduce Esme to trail riding? Well, Becci used to take the family dog, Milly out on rides, so when she got Es, it was just the natural progression”. 

They started on just fields and paths etc, and a “little Esme just trotted along next to Mills as if she’d been doing it for years. Milly is a bit old for long rides now but she still loves it”. 

^ Little Esme with Milly

Esme’s first solo ride was in Fort William, at a national race. “She was so good bless her, just stuck to my back wheel”. 

Many people including myself have asked Becci how she’s got Esme so well trained but Becci said, “to be honest, in regards to the bike, we haven’t done a huge amount of training, she just kinda got it”. 

Becci and Esme both share a love and understanding for each other, trail riding and the outdoors and have quite a following on social media and the videos and photos are adorable and very impressive – I spoke to Becci about River, and her unhealthy obsession with my bike tires. She nips them in the garden and pokes the bike with her nose so I asked Becci if Esme had ever nipped tires mid send or caused her to abort a run – and to be honest… had she got the footage. Here’s what Becci said, “The only time she’s caused anything like that was yesterday actually, she was in a weird mood (showing off to the boys I think), running beside me and I assume so thought the trail went right when it didn’t, I had to pull off track to avoid running her over. But yeah, that’s literally the only time that’s happened”, which just goes to show the connection Becci and Es have.

^ Becci and Esme’s extraordinary bond is beyond uplifting 

Dogs are awesome aren’t they and these two have a beautiful relationship so I was interested to know how Esme knows it’s time to hit the trails… “As soon as I start getting kitted up, she knows somethings going on, but she’s mega impatient once she’s told she’s going out, so I usually leave it till last minute to tell her we’re off for a ride”

^ A bigger Esme mid-ride 

^ A wee Esme 

After everyone’s hit the trails, I was curious how these gals wind down and spend days, not on the bike. “We’re not great at winding down, and generally when I want to chill, she’s pawing at me or stamping her feet (she actually does this) to make me do something. She loves a good walk down by a stream, she’s not keen on swimming, but she loves a good paddle!

^ Time for hugs 

^ Snug as a bug – in a rug 

^ Becci and Esme plus bike makes a perfect trio 

I’d like to thank Becci for her time and chatting to me and I hope you enjoyed reading about Becci and Esme; Trail Dog Extraordinaire and personally I look forward even more to forming my own relationship with my little trail dog in training*, and hopefully catch Es and Becci on the trails soon.

If you are in anyway unsure if your dog can cope with the work of running on the trails or are having issues with training, speak to a qualified and professional trainer or your vet.

*We are by no means experts, simply dog lovers sharing stories of other dog lovers. 

Editors Note

A big thank you to Klare who wrote this story exclusively for One Track Mind Mag. What did you think of this article? Want to read more from Klare in the future? Perhaps we should do more articles and stories around Trail Dogs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks again to Becci Skelton for agreeing to do another article with us. We are big fans of Becci and really enjoy reading about hers and Esme’s lives.

You can follow Becci on Instagram here.

You can check out her Personal Training services here.

You can follow Klare on Instagram here.

Klare C

Klare C

I'm a retired broken hockey player turned shutterbug specialising in MTB and the Outdoors. I’ve won photography awards in sports, urban, wildlife and made the top 10 for photographer of the year for my wedding photography.When I’m not taking photos, I can be found marshalling races from the local Southern Enduro to Hardline, fussing the nearest dog and bing a slave to my demanding Bengal. I ride hardtail and spend most my time trying not to crash.I’m based on the South Downs