Heelwork to Music in the UK

Fylde K9 Dancers Blackpool show 
26th & 27th of May 2014

Head Judge - Kath Hardman's reports on Intermediate Freestyle Saturday and Intermediate HTM on Sunday

Fylde once again put on a great show – good venue – good food and good dog walks too. Weather mixed between scorching and rain – unfortunately a lot more of the latter but mostly overcast giving the dogs a good day and not too hot when in their cars. Trophies ranging in size according to the level of class and rosettes to 8 place with a stick of rock for each competitor and a special Rock Lolly for the winner of the “Best Costume” awarded by the time keeper of each class.

I judged just one class each day and eight classes were held on both days making it a bumper entry and also very long days for the Organisers!

Intermediate FREESTYLE Class 6 Entries 14 Competed 7

1st -Janice Gibbons with Aritaur Aphrodite – Doberman (Music – Candyman)

Janice took to the ring with confidence with her lovely Doberman. They didn’t put a foot or paw wrong completing all the many moves in this routine in a very deliberate manner. A lovely range of work carried out at distance, closely and also behind Janice with minimal cues and good involvement of the props and very nice musical interpretation.

2nd -Iris Maxfield with Just Call Me Rolo – WSD (Music – Can’t Say No)

Iris and Rolo completed this routine even though there was a blip with the music causing a restart part way in. Iris’ experience helped Rolo through this sticky patch very well as they continued with a good variation of moves and a well utilised “rocket” prop.

3rd - Barry Bray with Brambledale Barmy Breeze – Bearded Collie (Music – On the Sunny Side of the Street)

Good to see Barry in the ring once again. With props of a chair and hat plus a jacket to put on half way through, but Barry and Breeze kept to the beat well. The routine flowed nicely to this music which suits Barry very well.

4th -Dylan Smith with Corriedhu Chase – Border Collie (Music View To Kill)

Dylan was a very smartly dressed handler in James Bond Style complete with double breasted suit and eye catching bow tie!! The Prop was the “opening gun barrel” that we all know from 007 films – which set the scene well. Dylan included many moves giving minimal signals to this well motivated dog.

For an Intermediate class I feel the level of accuracy needs improving in many of the dog’s moves, however, I understand the thunderstorm did affect some of the dogs which may have led the handlers to be more helpful to their partners. In an Intermediate Class, I would also love to see some new moves or mixture of moves into combinations we haven’t seen before.

Intermediate HEELWORK TO MUSIC Class 15 Entries 10 Competed 5

1st - Helen Taylor with Bankshill Lord of the Rings – Papillon (Music You Needed Me)

Helen was the last handler to compete in this, the penultimate class of the last day but Frodo still showed energy and motivation. Helen works this little dog to the full and I like that she doesn’t appear to be cautious or tentative when moving through their very accurate long stretches of heelwork. The confidence of Frodo as he attacks his heelwork is super.

2nd - Maggie Jarman with Broad Beach Maisie – Border Collie (Music Liquid Lunch)

A good beat to this music kept Maggie and Maisie moving briskly around the ring in various directions with nice changes of position with the phrasing of the music.

3rd - Jeanette Fyfe with Enlivya Angel Nathaneal – Golden Retriever

Jeanette always moves well to the music and today was no exception. A variety of paces in this routine including slow, normal and a modicum of fast work too.

4th - Jill Davis with Rosmarinus Cinnabar of Glidersway – Border Collie

Jill in her outfit totally co-ordinated with this very pretty dog, made full use of all the ring space. Good choice of music which suits this team.

It may have been due to being almost the last class of two busy days, but in general, the accuracy of this Intermediate class was loose and too many obvious hand signals and luring of the dogs between positions. There was a lack of variety in the HW and I would like to see links/transitions from position to position choreographed into the music which would then show the definite changes of positions, preferably within the phrasing of the music.

Advanced Freestyle Qualifier 

Head Judge Helen Taylor  (Co judge Annette Lowe)

Overall a good class to judge, a number of dogs seemed affected by the weather conditions and did not work as well as they can, which was a shame.

1st Jackie Roberts

This was a thoroughly entertaining routine to busy doing nothing. The dog waking Jackie up with the alarm clock to start. The beginning of the routine was innovative and a joy to watch. A lovely dog who remained focused throughout. A wide variety of moves. A worthy winner.

2nd Diane Jones

A lovely routine with Diane dressed as a school teacher. Variety of moves in time to the music with the dog working well throughout. Good use of props. Well done on your qualifier Diane.

3rd Heather Smith

Some huge props which Maddie and Heather utilised well. Loads of content from this super dog as well as the usual enthusiasm. It was just a shame Maddie was a little vocal today.

4th Maggie Jarman

A smart Maggie in top hat and tails, moved really well to this music with her dog. Lovely distance work and throughout the routine Maggie showing dog and handler working beautifully together. Well done.

Advanced HTM Monday 26th May 2014

Head Judge Helen Taylor, (co-judge Jeannette Fyfe)

Though not a qualifier there were 22 dogs entered in this class. The standard was varied but all the dogs showed some nice Heelwork.

1st Ann DeRizzio with Stillmoor Show Stopper.

This routine was the winner with both judges. This was the most flowing routine in the class. Lovely, accurate Heelwork and changes of position in time to the music. A good variety of positions and changes of pace, as well as characterisation and musical interpretation. A wonderful out round with the keys completed the routine. A worthy winner.

2nd Sue Dooney with Murphys Mischief.

A very graceful handler who moved well with the music. Very accurate Heelwork at slow pace. Although there was some Heelwork at a faster pace I would have liked to see a little bit more. Lovely routine which I thoroughly enjoyed!

3rd Annette Lowe with Kinaway Mystic Spires.

This young dog has plenty of drive and commitment as well as a lovely action on the move. Choreography was very apparent and the routine flowed. Today he wasn't quite as accurate as I have seen him mainly due to a number of joyful jumps. Even so a lovely pairing!

4th Kath Hardman with Stillmoor Extra Special

Another young dog with accurate Heelwork and a lovely action. Plenty of flow in this routine, Kath using the phrasing of the music well to change pace, Heelwork position or direction.

Starters Freestyle - Head Judge Jill Davis

25th May

1st - Hilda Lunda with Honeychild performing to Completely by Caro Emerald. This was a well choreographed routine with some good moves, particularly the boogey back, although one or two others such as walking on the handler’s feet and hiking away from the handler look as though they might need more work to be executed correctly in the ring.

2nd - Penny Mansfield with Triforce Calypso working to Love Potion No. 9 by the Searchers. I thought the musical interpretation of this routine was very good with the bottle being used to facilitate quite a number of the moves which were performed very accurately.

3rd - Dorothy Matthews with Kenmilleven Galahad performing to Flowers on the Wall by the Stadler Brothers. Dorothy had a ‘wall’ as a prop with flowers painted on it which the dog was asked to touch on a couple of occasions. Not quite as accurate as the previous two dogs and sadly lost some of his marks for barking.

4th -Carole Thornley with Domburg Don’t Stop Loving performing to The Clog Dance from La Fille Mal Gardee. The prop in this routine was a fish which was used for some of the moves. Most of the routine was fairly accurate but I did feel the dog was arguing sometimes with the handler about what he was going to do! Personally I was a bit unhappy about the way the target article (a clog) was held and used.

Only seven of the entrants completed their routines, some of whom tried hard but not quite ready yet. Of the remainder that did training rounds I think the main problems were loss of attention, wandering about, sniffing or barking. They can all do quite a variety of moves so just keep working on it and you will have better luck next time.


Head Judge Maggie Backhouse gives the following reports on classes she judged.


I would first like to thank Fylde K9 Dancers for the invitation to judge at their excellent, well run, friendly show. Barbara and all the club members are amazing! Thanks you I love my glitzy horse pressy and enjoyed too many after eights! Weather mixed with some thunder.

I would like to say that the following reports are my personal comments as a judge. Since there are 2 judges for these classes my comments cannot be seen as overall comments on the teams and my fellow judges may not agree with my comments or on the placings.

Judges do not yet “have” to write reports and I may not in future but thought I would attempt to this time. It is hard enough to concentrate on giving suitable marks quickly in all three categories without having to keep some record of how you reached those marks. When I used to judge obedience competitions I always wrote reports but there was time between each exercise to jot down notes whilst the steward prepared the handler for the next exercise. In HTM there is pressure to mark as quickly as possible to keep the number of competitors flowing.


1st - 23.90 Linda Glover with Twm Bach Twister working to Liquid Lunch by Caro Emerald. Great timing in this routine and some lovely happy consistent heelwork, just lost a little concentration toward the end.

2nd - 23.70 Linda Webster with Isabella Gal working to Diamonds by Rhianna. She did some fantastic backwards became a little distracted. Moved at a good speed.

3rd -23.25 Helen Taylor with Farthinghall's Nui Nui is Pure Pixie working to Love Is Like A Butterfly by Anne Murray. Such appropriate music worked well for this little one. She kept a lovely consistent position for most of the routine. I loved the ending.

4th - 22.85 Ann DeRizzio with Stillmoor Red Sky at Night working to Life's A Happy Song by Mickey Rooney & Cast Of Muppets. Good changes into different positions enhanced this routine. He was great on both sides but a bit hesitant in front and behind.

15 dogs in this class. 7 did training rounds and some of these displayed excellent happy work. Quite a few worried looking dogs in this class


1st -28.75. Heather Smith with Moonlight Magic Dancer, HTM A Ex, FS A Ex, dancing to Lily the Pink by The Scaffold. Lovely to see long stretches of beautiful straight heelwork with changes of pace and keeping the excellent position whilst Heather acted. Superb use of props and amazing attention to details such as timing added to the interpretation of the music. A worthy winner!

2nd -25.85. Neville Lesley with Brambledale Blue Dewy. HTM I Ex. FS I Ex. Dancing to Rasputin by Bony M. Just pipping Annette to 2 place. Quite a short piece of music but managed to display some lovely keen accurate heelwork with just a touch of forward working. Lesley’s excellent timing added to the overall interpretation.

3rd - 25.85. Annette Lowe working Kinaway Mystic Spires. HTM I Ex also to Rasputin by Bony M but a longer version. Really just lost marks for me on the bounces in his heelwork. But not a bad fault in a young dog enjoying himself. Wonderful position when across the front of Annette.

4th - 25.40. Pamela Sullivan dancing with Norden Lights Hawk to Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics.

Superb musical interpretation as usual from Pamela in this clever routine but for me there wasn’t quite enough heelwork and although the attention was fantastic the “bum” was in and out of line in all positions and I don’t mean Pams!

13 dogs in this class of which 4 did training rounds.

Other highlights of this class were the lovely high stepping trots in great heelwork of Kath, Diane and Helen Dennis’ dogs and the happy exuberance from Ann’s Freckle


1st - 27.20 Jackie Roberts with Rossmak Marmite Soldier dancing to March Of The Toys by Boston Pops. Lovely costume and interpretation of the music. An excellent routine which included accurate heelwork and some nice backwards work.

2nd - 27.15 Sue Dooney with Murphy Mischief, FS I Ex, HTM Adv Ex dancing to A Thousand Years by The Piano Guys. Little bit confused at the beginning but went on to deliver a stunning performance working in lovely straight heelwork in all positions.

3rd - 26.35 Julia Folland with Jones Girl working to Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. A shortish routine but packed with consistent heelwork and a lovely straight body. I felt a little more could have been made of the musical interpretation.

4th - 25.90 Ann Shuker with Splish Splash HTM ADV Ex, FS ADV Ex dancing to Poison by Alice Cooper. Lovely to see him fit and working again. Kept a great position at slow pace and heel but varied from close to wide when across the front. Love the prop and well used even if he did miss one cue.

Nice to see Chris de Jong working again even if mummy was a distraction today. Also I particularly liked Annette and Flash’s really happy fun routine even if it was a little rowdy.

13 dogs also in this second half of which again 4 did training rounds.

Overall in the HTM classes I was disappointed with the lack of stretches of good flowing heelwork. So many changes of position often didn’t give dogs time to show off their heelwork.

Some music problems on the first day may have put some dogs and handlers off.


So no report but I must say how much I enjoyed the winners (Annette Lowe) routine. That is what I think of as a DANCE!

I also enjoyed Dargo trying to train Ann. All I can say is give up Dargo she’ll never get anywhere!

HEAD JUDGE Heather Smith

Novice HTM (Class 16) 

My thanks to Barbara Whittaker and Fylde K9 Dancers for the invite to judge at this thoroughly enjoyable and well organised show.

General Comments on the class - I would like to see more accuracy and consistency in heelwork positions, and the position being maintained for a period of time – this is reflected in my scores for a high percentage of competitors.

My co-judge and I were in agreement on the top three placings.

1st. Louise Ince. With Decoymans Piper Edward

Super accurate heelwork incorporating variation of pace and position all delivered with style and attitude – a worthy winner. Nice to see my co-judge was in agreement.

2nd. Ann De Rizzio with Stillmoor Red Sky at Night

I liked the musical interpretation of this routine which included long stretches of nice heelwork in a forward direction.

3rd. Helen Taylor with Farthinghalls Nui Nui is Purepixie

A lovely flowing routine with nice freestyle elements making the transitions between positions. The across the front of the handlers’ body positions, which are difficult for a little dog were slightly out of position and I would have liked to see the prop used more. A super little dog!

4th. Andrea Rogers with Higglety Pigglety Goose

I very much enjoyed the concept of this routine – nice costume and choreography with a super and high impact start position. There was nice heelwork in some positions but lagging and hesitation in others which are reflected in my scoring.

Judge’s Report for Intermediate Freestyle, class 11

 26 May 2013 Fylde K9 Dancers, Blackpool. 12 entries.

Judges Carol Mortimer (head) and Jill Davies.

1st. Heather Smith with Runival Snow Crystal, Beardie Collie, 26.70, performing to Witchy Woman. Lovely willing worker, never took her eyes off Heather. A very good musical interpretation of this atmospheric number. Lots of advanced moves and Heather used her witch’s cauldron to its full advantage, especially at the beginning and end. Atmospheric and as usual, highly entertaining.

The few mistakes made were due to over enthusiasm and a want to please. Good luck in Advanced.

2nd. Cathy Bates with Ruskath Lyrical Image, WSD, 26.05, performing to Daddy Don’t You Walk so Fast. This team have their own style with Cath’s dog to working with the minimum of cues resulting in a high content mark. An emotional story with good musical interpretation. Some small mistakes in the crawl and follow moves cost this pair a good accuracy mark.

3rd. Iris Maxfield and Just Call me Rolo, WSD, 25.25, performing to Can’t Say No. Iris has worked with Rolo in a patient and sympathetic way to make this routine a flowing and well choreographed routine. Our HTM shows would not be the same without Rolo’s rocket in the ring and on the sifelines. The accuracy mark was loestw of her marks and the cheoreography the highest.

4th. Barry Bray with Brambledale Barmy Breeze, Beardie Collie, 24.65, performing to On the Sunnt Side of the Street. As with the other placed routines Barry has a very unique style of performance, very watchable and accurate. His smooth moves and almost effortless elegance ended with his hat being removed by his dog.

Worthy of a mention is Jeanette Fyfe and her Goldie Enlyvia Angel Nathanael who is showing great promise.

Lots of training rounds.

Judge’s Report for Crufts Semi Qualifier Adv HTM, class 3, 26 May 2013 Fylde K9 Dancers, Blackpool.

Judges Maggie Backhouse (head) and Carol Mortimer.

Although I was not lead judge for this class I would like to comment on the winners of this split class.

Class 3 part A, 13 entries.

Heather Smith with Moonlight Magic Dancer, Beardie performing to Lilly the Pink, 28.75. A full 4 minutes of delightful entertainment and skill. Most teams can do the skill part of a performance but few manage the entertainment part to the extent that Heather does. They not only filled the ring they dominated the whole hall. I look forwards to their next routine, can it top this one?

Class 3 part B, 13 entries.

Jackie Roberts with Rossmak Marmite Soldier, BC, performing to March of the Toys, 27.2. Jackie is making a steady impact on the HTM scene. Her dog’s stylish trot and accuracy is a delight to watch. A well deserved win.

Carol Mortimer
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