Heather has lived her lifetime with dogs and currently resides in beautiful Ayrshire, Scotland with her four Bearded Collies and a Bichon Frise.
Prior to Heelwork to Music Heather was involved in Breed Showing, agility and obedience however for the last twelve years has invested most of her time in dancing with her dogs. She has had six Advanced dogs over this time who have reached this level in both Heelwork to Music and in Freestyle including the first ever Advanced Bichon Frise. Heather is a regular in Crufts main arena with her dogs, first competing in the International freestyle in 2007 and thereafter competing in all three HTM competitions over the years with five different dogs. Heather is a three times HTM Crufts winner with additionally many top three places.
Heather has been a committee member of the Bearded Collie Club (Scottish Branch) for many years, and this club runs the longest standing show in Scotland with its own Crufts Semi Finals Qualifiers. Last year Heather was Team Manager of Team Scotland and looks forward to continuing this venture to the Open European Championships this year in Belgium. Heather has been involved in the growth of HTM in Scotland organising fun shows, demonstrations, training for a variety of clubs including for the YKC and Cabaret entertainment as part of Team Scotland fundraising.
This is Heathers’ second judging appointment at Crufts. It is a great honour which I look forward to immensely and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the competitors the very best of luck.
I am thrilled and honoured to have been asked to judge the Heelwork to Music, Freestyle and International Freestyle competitions at Cruft’s this year.
My involvement with HTM began in 2002 with my first dog, a tri coloured bundle of fluffy puppy fun : this was Harry (Collywobble Celtic Harry). I did not know it at the time, but Harry and HTM were to change my life. Puppy classes led to KCGC and then to HTM at the newly formed WestGlen HTM club. I was well and truly hooked.
We began competing in 2005 and Harry went on to compete in both Advanced HTM and Freestyle. He is a really lovely dog – I have so much to thank him for. My younger Border Collie Bobby ( Gwynion Solo )currently works in Advanced HTM and Intermediate Freestyle. He is such a stylish little dog and I have learned such a great deal from him. My new puppy Ted ( Beverton Ted ) is a real clown with stacks of personality ; his antics make me smile every day . I hope to enter him in the HTM ring soon.
I have been lucky enough to compete at Cruft’s several times, both as an HTM finalist and also representing Wales in the International Freestyle competition.
One of the things I am most proud of since starting HTM is my association with WestGlen HTM club. I appreciate how lucky I was as a complete novice to dog training to have a club that ran weekly classes teaching HTM and gave help and encouragement in all aspects of the sport enabling members to compete. Since it was founded in 2004 by Pat and Ken Sidaway the club has grown from strength to strength and was one of the first ‘independent’ clubs to organise and stage an HTM competition .As a club, WestGlen has done a great deal to promote the sport through competition and training opportunities both as ‘in house’ training and through special training days and shows. Although now living in Wales, our links to WestGlen are as strong as ever and Mike and I travel back to the Midlands to help run the successful and ever popular WestGlen HTM Shows.
Competing and Judging HTM has given me many fabulous life opportunities, travelling to all parts of the UK. Being part of this ever growing sport has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderfully talented dogs and people. Cruft’s has such a special atmosphere, the main arena is equally terrifying and exhilarating at the same time; it is the perfect venue to perform a well thought out polished routine. The finalists in each competition shine as the very best of the best, showcasing their dogs in this prestigious venue.
I am looking forward to judging the Heelwork to Music and Freestyle Competitions at Crufts from the best seat in the house, and wish all the teams competing the very best of luck.
Picture courtesy of Demelza van der Lans