Heelwork to Music in the UK



 3 JUNE 2016

Thank you to Heather and her team for the invitation to judge and for the super presents. Minstrel loves the thick tuggy lead!


1. Emma Pirrie and Yolanda the Panda, 21.35.
2 Christina Oxtaby and Legacy’s Heaven Sent Shai, 19.25, 
3 Pamela Ruscoe and Ychydig Draig, 18.95, 
4 Christine Bennett and Go for Santinka, 17.45

In a FS class I would expect a good variety of interesting movements around the ring space, and apart from good interpretation, moves which are chosen to reflect the music and to demonstrate an appropriate theme, style or story. This was not always evident in this class. However it was the Accuracy and Team Performance which let many competitors down – lack of attention, floor sniffing and wandering off, erratic and sometimes uncontrolled behaviour, messy, unfinished moves and poor cue responses. A committed relationship between dog and handler is essential and I do mark heavily if that is lacking. Personally I believe this committed attitude should be in place BEFORE competing in any competition.

Having said that there were positives as well! Emma was my worthy winner, resplendent in sparkly top and fancy hat. Pamela, a convincing robber with torch and “mini” accomplice, I placed second. Christina with Shai did a very competent routine if a little uncontrolled at times – the dog I mean, but great potential here! Christine was busy gardening with her canine “helper” who after a diffident start settled down and engaged brain. Well done to you all.


Only 9 entries with only 2 completing their routines – luckily I made notes about the training rounds!

1 Julia Folland and Janbell Northern Dancer, 20.85.
2 Jamie Dryburgh and Celtacastus Magic Delight, 15.55.

The same comments I made above also apply here. It was disappointing to have such a small class but some of the training rounds were very much “work in progress” and we did see some innovative and unusual ideas, good use of props and spacial awareness, and some good attention and teamwork too. Congratulations to Julia on your win.

Head Judge Lesley Brocklehurst.


Thanks for the invitation to judge - super venue and excellent sized ring and the weather was exceptional – whilst England was dull we could have sunbathed!!

STARTERS, co judge Christine Bennett.

1.Rachel Paterson and Tiamo Fly-By Dream Catcher, 16.70 
2 Jamie Dryburgh and Celtacastus Magic Delight, 16.40, 
3 Hannah Patterson and Diamond in the Ruff. 

Rachel made a good attempt but her dog’s rhythmic timing was only really spot on when his head was up and attention good! Jamie would have been the winner of this class for both judges, but for the barking. He included a serpentine and variations of speed. Do cut out the spins though as they interrupt the flow and rhythmicality.

Even in Starters I would hope to see more than just trotting forward. Variation should include work in both heel and free positions, some backing and where possible sidestepping. Choosing the right music to match your dog’s natural trotting movement is ESSENTIAL.

NOVICE , co judge Heather Smith.

1. Margaret Booth and Dorvale Winter Gold at Trenarwyn, 20.60
2 Pamela Ruscoe and Ychydig Draig, 20.10
3 Jean Tomkinson and Alexbria Quahneah, 17.40.

Margaret’s little Papillon showed a good range of movements and patterns around the ring with some superb timing. Pamela’s “Diddly Squat” had super attention and flowed beautifully. Now work on a greater range of movement – different speeds, backing and sidestepping. Jean’s young GSD showed lovely stylish rhythmic trotting with long flowing strides.

Jan Debnam did a training round with her young St Poo. I do hope people were watching as it was an EXCELLENT demo. of Musical Dressage at its best.

In this Division, spins and twists, and FS tricks are best left out as they interrupt the rhythm and flow. Also, do long stretches of each movement you demonstrate so that the dog can settle into its natural rhythmic movement. Short snatched do not aid flow or timing.

INTERMEDIATE, co judge Christine Bennett.

1. Jill Davis and Rosmarinus Cinnabar at Gildersway, 22.20.
2 Pamela Ruscoe and Cheeky Keeva of Kilkenny ,21.50. 

Two very competent performances, with, as one would hope at this level, good range of movements in both free and heel positions from both these collies. Matisse really hits the beat especially in heel positions and Keeva demonstrated unhurried relaxed and flowing movement.

I know that putting in a greater variety of directional moves and tempos is challenging but the effort should be rewarded.

Head Judge Lesley Brocklehurst.

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