Advanced Musical DressageHead Judge - Jill Davis
Only two competitors took part in this class. Louise Ince with Try Me Jodi did a training round so this left Jan Debnam with Chesepi Indian Valley performing to Candrios by Rivera and Danse du Sauvages by Orchestra de Louvre to take first place. A good attempt with quite a repertoire of moves but unfortunately the dog was not always in time to the music which is, of course, what dressage is all about.Starters Dances With Dogs
Head judge - Jill Davis
1st -Nicci Hindson with Ravestar Scarlet Dancer performing to Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. I liked this routine because they danced as a team with neither dog nor handler being more predominant than the other. A wide variety of moves were performed with Nala responding to voice commands, enabling Nicci to use her hands and body to express the dance. Nicci wore a short skirt, dancing in bare feet.
2nd -Jackie Roberts with Rosmak Marmite Soldier performing to Do You Wanna Dance by Bobby Freeman. Jackie did a creditable twist whilst Charlie did a variety of moves round her. Again they worked as a team so my marks for dog and handler were pretty much equal.
3rd -Barbara Houston with Mungo Blessem performing to Agatha No. 15 by Renaissance Music Players. Barbara was able to copy the minuet moves in her wheelchair. Mungo got quite excited by all this dancing and was also a little distracted at times so therefore on this occasion I scored the handler more points than the dog.
Novice Dances With Dogs
Head Judge - jill Davis
1st -Cathy Bates with Ruskath Lyrical Image performing to the Macarena by Los Del Rio. Sybil has been well trained to work on voice commands and completed some technically quite difficult moves, especially for such a young and inexperienced bitch. Again I awarded similar marks to dog and handler as they were working as a team.
2nd -Ann De Rizzio with Stillmoor Rhythm N Blues performing to Blame It On The Boogie by Michael Jackson. Just a few minor errors in this routine but I loved the synchronised twists and twirls, resulting in my awarding the handler slightly higher marks than the dog.
3rd -Susan Dooney with Murphy Mischief performing to The Blue Danube by The Cheshire Strings. Well Susan certainly waltzed round beautifully to this well known piece of music. Again just a few minor errors with me marking them equal on choreography but with Susan getting more than the dog on the other two sections.
4th - Jeanette Fyfe with Enlivya Angel Nathaniel performing to Now I Can Dance by Tina Arena. I wasn’t entirely sure what the dance was for this routine which is quite an important criterian for this section and with the dog making a few errors I am afraid I scored this team somewhat lower marks.
Advanced Dances With Dogs
Head Judge - Jill Davis
1st -Jan Debnam with Calandrella Algoma performing to Compilation from Jazz Suite by Shostokovich by Roger Concertgelseaux Orcei. In my opinion this was an excellent routine with superb choreography. Jan was wearing a sparkly top and a top hat. There were lots of synchronised twists and twirls and paw work with the dog making a few minor errors. They danced as a team to great effect.
2nd -Ann De Rizzio with Stillmoor Show Stopper performing to Cotton Eyed Joe by The Red Nex. Needless to say the choreography contained some line dancing and Ann was dressed accordingly in a cowboy outfit. The dog was a little inaccurate in maintaining a straight bum so this is where I deducted most of his marks.
My final note is that for Dressage the dog must move in time to the music and for Dances it must be a recognizable dance on the part of the handler. A few competitors are not quite there yet.
Head Judge - Jill Davis
1st -Cathy Bates with Ruskath Lyrical Image performing to Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast by Tony Christie. Once again Sybil performed a technically quite difficult routine for her age and experience. She always works in a quiet and thoughtful manner, listening to Cathy’s commands without the need for hand signals and often behind her. She does occasionally take the opportunity to have a look round whilst she is working but somehow seems to still be able to listen and execute her moves at the same time.
2nd -Dylan Smith with Corriedhu Chase performing to View to a Kill by Duran Duran. Well when this young man performed I thought I was looking at the winner. He was dressed so smartly as James Bond in his black suit and bow tie and the dog worked like a dream for him. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance and I know your win won’t be long coming at this rate. Loved the gun barrel prop just like the start of Bond films and Chase jumped through it beautifully for you.
3rd -Pamela Ruscoe with Cheeky Keeva of Kilkenny performing Living Alright by Joe Fagin. Well this is a handler who has come on a long way from the early days I remember seeing her perform. A good solid performance throughout. Using a shovel, tool box and hammer as props and wearing a hard builder’s hat she choreographed a good routine to the music.
4th - Iris Maxfield with Just Call Me Rolo performing to Can’t Say No by Conor Maynard. So pleased to see this team in the points. Rolo has been on a slow burn for a long time but now coming good in Iris’s caring hands. Iris wore a pork pie hat, black shirt and white tie and Rolo’s prop was his rocket.
Starters Heelwork to Music
Head Judge - Jill Davis
1st - Marie Docherty with Tri Cariad Pacha Belle Merlin performing to Halo by Beyonce. Marie kept this routine very simple with limited content which reflected in my scoring but the dog worked accurately in time to the music.
2nd - Penny Mansfield with Triforce Banner performing to Dad’s Army by Bud Flanagan. What a magnificent costume dressed as Captain Mainwaring and carrying a rifle – brilliant. Well choreographed but again lacking in content for my mind. The dog was not maintaining its heel positions and got distracted a couple of times. I liked the bit at the end with the siren going off and both hiding on the chair.
3rd -Dorothy Mathews with Kenmilleven Galahad performing to Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Dorothy I would like to see your dog working closer to you in a heelwork routine. A nice little dog and you could improve your marks considerably if you could just improve on this one point, in my opinion.
4th - Kim Donaldson with Minnie Millie Mix performing to Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus. Props used were a bale of straw and two cones. Kim wore a gingham top and jeans. Not on her best form today but keep working on it and you will have a good routine.
General remarks on this class are that, in my opinion, some of the handlers are not training their dogs to do heelwork close enough to them. I know this isn’t competition obedience but the tighter and neater the heelwork is the better it looks and can make quite a difference to where you come in the class. Too far away from the handler and it just becomes freestyle.
Crufts Semi Finals Advanced Freestyle
Head Judge - Jill Davis
1st -Julia Folland with Jones’ Girl performing to River Deep Mountain High by The Supremes and Four Tops. Well what a stunning routine this was. Julia was dressed in a piece of the tartan tablecloth (sorry a tartan kilt!) and her props were a rag doll, a red stool and a push along puppy. It was entertaining, accurate and brilliantly choreographed – absolutely breathtaking. Juilia has not been in the sport long but has gone quickly through the classes and has now, subject to confirmation, qualified for both the Freestyle and Heelwork to Music Crufts Semi- Finals. Well done Julia – a magnificient achievement.
2nd- Heather Smith with Moonlight Magic Dancer performing to Silent Movie Medley by Nickelodeon Their Crufts’ routine with the Platform, Bench, Tracks and Signal all in authentic British Rail colours of maroon and cream. Heather wears a black suit with a maroon hat and black & white shoes. As usual Maddie performed the routine to perfection and was just let down a little by excitement. Such a whirling dervish of a dog!
3rd -Lesley Neville with Brambledale Blue Dewy performing to The Night They Invented Champagne by Gary Wilmot. Lesley dressed smartly in a tail coat with a cane and the prop was a huge champagne bottle. Well this youngster has shot through the classes and is performing accurately and confidently. I did feel there was rather a lot of repetition in the jumps but definitely on his way to the top.
4th - Ann de Rizzio with Stillmoor Show Stopper performing to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by the Cast of Spamalot. Ann dressed in chain mail and a white robe and what else would you expect from the queen of props but plenty of them – Yellow Umbrella with a smiley face on it, a sword in a stone, a crown and a hand coming out of a lake. I love this routine – it is entertaining, well choreographed and makes you smile and has developed well. Not easy for a dog to carry an open umbrella either but he did it.
Well done to everyone who competed in this class. All my marks were high as I thought every one of them had plenty of content, the moves were performed accurately and the storylines were well thought out and choreographed.
The Bearded Collie Club (Scottish Branch) - KATH HARDMAN
The competition was held at a new venue for this annual event taking part on the Friday and Saturday after the May Bank Holiday, making Blackpool and Scotland quite a holiday for some travelling between the two!
Both Blackpool and Scotland hold Crufts Semi Qualifying Competitions but also the full eight classes are held each day giving competitors 4 full days of competition over the two shows and just 7 days enabling those in the award places to gain points or wins to move out of their level. This show also had permission to hold the PNM Special Classes.
The weather was perfect – warm, sunny but with a good breeze blowing – plenty of car parking and short walks for the dogs but with a huge field straight across the road.
I judged four classes at the Bearded Collie Club Show but was Head Judge just the once for Intermediate Heelwork To Music on the Friday. This was a very small Class with only 4 competing and only the winner obtaining the necessary points for award points. The standard wasn’t as expected and quite a number of the dogs lacked focus and motivation.
CLASS 4 – Intermediate HTM Judges: Kath Hardman (Head Judge), Jackie de Jong
1st - Christina Oxtoby – Legacy’s Ruach 19.50 Well done Christina and Rue who I understand has now been retired from Heelwork To Music now in Advanced and will be concentrating on his Freestyle.
Thank you to the organisers for inviting me to judge and thank you for the gifts of Fudge and a “Dog Mitt