Heelwork to Music in the UK

Paws in the Park 20 -21stSept 2014 Head Judges' reports

Head Judge - Vee Richardson

Firstly, thank you to Louise for inviting me to judge at her show this year. This show always has a lovely friendly and relaxed atmosphere which really helps the handlers enjoy themselves and get the best from their dogs.

Class 8 Adv DWD

1st - Jan Debnam with Calendrella Algoma – A well deserved win, this routine is beautifully choreographed, with a variety of dance steps and synchronised moves. This pair genuinely dance together and this is a great example for those who may be new to DWD or working up the classes and may be wondering how to structure a DWD routine.

Class 10 St MD

This was a strong class to judge, and good to see that all the competitors had a good understanding of the need for a flowing trot, and everyone produced patterns other than circles! (Well done to all their trainers!!)

1st - Nicky Maxwell with Ironlake Seferino – This large dog has a lovely trot and maintained good attention throughout. There were some good pace changes, and he remained on the beat whilst moving sideways and backwards. Achieving a steady trot on a serpentine with such a big lad is to be commended! Congratulations on this win which I understand takes this pair into Novice.

2nd - Jennie Fairweather with Ock I The Noo. This dog worked with 110% enthusiasm throughout, a good variety of moves and some dressage weaves whilst keeping the trot. Pushing for 1 place, but jumping at his target lost him some accuracy marks. A massive improvement since I last saw him – well done.

3rd - Laura Reynolds with Bundu Starr Paws. This little dog is built for dressage with her very pretty trot. All forward working reduced her content mark, but all her transitions were smooth and she kept trotting throughout. Lovely attitude and attention.

4th - Ali Hayes with Ragus Double O Seven. Another happy terrier with a steady even pace throughout. Circles and Serpentines were well executed and the flow was maintained through the transitions. Proved that even a little dog can make full use of the ring – well done.

Head Judge Lesley Brocklehurst

Thank you Louise and Canine Performers for inviting me to judge at the Kent County Showground.

A very well organised HTM show, with many activities, stalls and eateries for all to enjoy around the show ground. The HTM venue has to be seen to be believed – huge, fully carpeted, with ample parking, camping and dog exercise areas all adjacent.

Intermediate Musical Dressage, Saturday. Judges: Lesley Brocklehurst and Vee Richardson.

1st - Jan Debnam, 22.95, with Calandrella Algoma, C.B. Ret. A very good range of movements reflecting the musical timing well, including different serpentines, backing in a circle, pivots and a variety of floor patterns, all well executed. Both heel and free positions used and the floor space fully utilised.

2nd - Cathy Bates ,22.65, with Ruskath Lyrical Image,WSD. Some interesting and advanced moves were included, in particular a high stepping collected trot and an effective diagonal zig zag. More flowing transitions are needed but overall a lovely well choreographed routine.

3rd - Louise Ince, 22.10, with Decoyman’s Piper Edward, N S DT Retr. Excellent use of music and changes of tempo. A good range of dressage movements, performed with energy and enthusiasm - Troy just a little distracted at times.

4th - Louise Ballard, 21.90, with Kasamdiamond Truly Forever, BC. A smooth flowing performance, including a good range of moves in a variety of positions. Handler very good at adjusting her speed to enable the dog to move in time.

5th - Jill Davis, 20.75, with Rosmarinus Cinnabar at Glidersway, BC. Close on the heels of the top placed dogs, with a good and varied performance. Handler and dog beautifully colour co-ordinated !

The standard in this class was high with every team a pleasure to watch and judge.

Novice D.W.D.s, Saturday. Judges: Lesley Brocklehurst and Sarah Reed.

1st - Louise Ince, 24.35, with Decoyman’s Piper Edward, N.S.DT Retr. A really good energetic disco style dance, both handler and dog showing a wide range of appropriate moves and synchronisation. Sarah and I were in complete agreement with the marks and we both loved the high kicking weaves!

2nd - Louise Ballard 22.75, with Stillmoor Secret Fable, BC. A young dog making her debut this weekend, who will go far in Louise’s capable hands. The handler danced appropriately and the dog thoroughly enjoyed herself, if a little OTT at times!

3rd - Di Morgan, 20.40 with Darkquest Fancy That, BC. A Scottish theme, energetically interpreted with suitable steps and arm/body movements but the dog did jump up rather a lot. More use could be made of the ring .

4th - Jackie Field and Atastar Fairytale, St. Poodle, and 5 with Caregcennens Sir William, Min poodle. Well done to Jackie for entering 2 dogs in this class. I know you were disappointed with your marks but it was just a dress rehearsal - the next day you and the dogs got it all together and the improvements were noteworthy!

Novice Musical Dressage, Sunday.

1st - Only one team completed their routine today - Venetia Mc Veigh with xbreed Stillmoor Mystical Magic , gaining 18.15. This was a lovely flowing routine with Merlin keeping good time apart from a few changes of direction. More patterns across the floor would enhance the performance. The backing in front was superb. Lovely to see you again Venetia.

Starters D.W.D.s Sunday.

1st - Unusual for Starters, there was only one entry – Ali Hayes with her Norwich terrier, Ragus Double O Seven. Superb attention from this little dog, short legs trotting ten to the dozen. Sadly let down by Mum who was not really dancing!

Head Judge’s Report – Jill Davis

Firstly may I say what a fabulous show this was to go to. I had never made the journey before due to long journeys incorporating the M25 but this year I decided to go and started out at 5 a.m. which proved a good choice as I got there with no hold-ups. Coming back at 11.30 a.m. on the Monday was not quite so good as there was one accident and one broken down double decker bus on the M25 which delayed me quite a bit and the rather scary gantry notice informing us there was an oncoming vehicle on our side of the carriageway which fortunately I never encountered. The camping was excellent apart from the lack of clothes space in the showers but the actual venue we were competing and demonstrating in was ginormous. Our ring actually looked lost in one corner but it was carpeted throughout and left plenty of room for the spectators which made it like a mini Crufts. There was every type of dog sport imaginable taking place over many acres and most if not all were available for ‘have a go’ sessions.

Advanced Musical Dressage, co-judged with Sarah Reed

1st - Lesley Brocklehurst with Genabacab Speck of Life a WSD Bitch performing to Querer from Alegria by Cirque Du Soleils Musicians. Alaska was in good form today and Lesley could not call her Dozy Dora this time! There was a huge variety of positions and directions, all executed accurately in this excellent routine, incorporating some clever floor patterns including circles and squares. The whole of the ring was used to great effect and was a good example of how Musical Dressage should be executed.

2nd - Vee Richardson with Langtrees Wild Card a WSD Dog performing to Music by Robert Miles. Vee’s routine with Joker included fast and slow work as well as at normal pace. There was not quite the variety of patterns as the winning routine and the slow pivots and the fast hike were not executed quite as they should be so lost marks. However only .70 behind the winner so on another day could easily have swapped places.

3rd -Jan Debnam with Chesepi Indian Valley a Chesapeake Bay Retriever performing to Canarios and Danse du Sauvages by Rivera and Orchestra de Louvre. Only slightly behind the first two competitors but I found this dog was not as consistently ‘on the beat’ as I would have liked and there were a few missed cues.

Also in the ring but doing a training round was Louise Ince with Try Me Jodi, a WSD Bitch performing to Ride Like the Wind by East Side Beat. It was a joy to see Jodi so happy during this training round with lots of play in between some beautiful dressage.

Jan Debman's - JUDGES REPORTS.

It was a pleasure to attend this show to judge. This is a lovely venue, with plenty of space for the dogs to be warmed up properly before competing, and a good sized ring. In general terms there were some very interesting rounds, at all levels, that will hopefully have inspired the many members of public that were visiting to take up the sport.

Saturday 20th Novice Dressage

1st. Suzanne Harrison and Amber Roo. Score 18.6

A smart little Jack Russell Terrier who worked hard throughout his round. He did some lovely patterns, including a particularly nice serpentine. At present his choreography is limited to forwards movement. He will be one to watch as the content of his choreography gains more variety in direction and pace.

2nd. Naomi Baggaley and Jacobrand Ace Storag. Score 14.95.

A last minute change of music didn’t pay off on this occasion. This is a very handsome dog, a large German Shepherd, who looks fabulous when moving with his normal power and presence. On this occasion he dropped out of the trot into walk early on in the round and seemed to lose heart, then retaining a walk pace throughout which was not on the rhythm of the music and did not show him off to advantage. The choreography patterns showed promise and had some interesting features.

3rd. Jo Preston and Sweet Cody Girl. Score 13.65

On this occasion Cody didn’t really get into her stride and did not sustain her movements, creating a rather disjointed appearance, which obscured the planned choreography. A shame as she worked the same round much better later in the weekend.

Sunday 21st – Novice Dances with Dogs

My general comments on the Dances partnerships in the team competition, below, apply to most of the rounds in this class.

1st. Louise Ince and Decoymans Piper Edward. Score 21.3

A lively routine with a good mix of steps from the handler, and range of movements from the dog. Interesting choreography uses the entire ring and includes some nicely done synchronised moves. A good choice of music for a lively young dog. Requires good stamina from the handler!

2nd. Jackie Field and Caragcennes Sir William. Score 17.65

This is a line dance, with the dog doing a reasonable range of moves and some obvious thought having been given to the choreography. The handler, when thinking hard about the routine, was forgetting to go beyond the presentation of the footsteps in their own performance. The dog made some effort throughout.

3rd. Jackie Field and Atastar Fairy Tale. Score 16.95

Jackie had the same problem with her performance in this round, at times forgetting to go beyond the footstep element of the dance. The use of a prop does not sit that comfortably within this routine and works against the overall choreographic style. On this occasion the dog was a bit distracted and unsure at times, but the round has potential with good recognition of the style and phrasing of the music.

4th. Di Morgan and Darkquest Fancy That. Score 16.9

The choreographic intent of this round is clear and recognises the style and phrasing of the music. On this occasion the dog was a bit distracted, with a knock on effect reducing the handler’s performance, with only the footstep element of the handler performance really coming across.

Sunday 21st Team Dances with Dogs Competition.

This event was huge fun, and successfully encouraged some non HTM people to dip their toes into competitive waters, with other HTM people improvising wildly as they were recruited into teams at the last minute. The use of titbits and toys in the ring provided an ideal “pick me up” for the dogs, who had been working hard over the weekend, and was a good end point for the event. I hope more teams take part next year, and teams get into the swing of supporting their members more actively…..

In Dances with Dogs the handler should perform a recognisable dance and I would really like to see more effort on the part of the handlers to choreograph their arms and body; to add interest and maintain the character of the chosen dance style. Many remained stiffly upright, with large hand signals, but arms and hands otherwise hanging lifelessly, destroying the character and flow of the piece. There also needs to be some variety of foot step rhythms and pattern; and a degree of synchronicity between the moves of the dog and those of the handler. Dance partners should dance together and have an interplay of moves. For the Starters, some of whom were in the ring for the first time, there were some good efforts – but for Novice and above, in both this and the main competition, there was insufficient dance content from the handlers to make the most of their dogs.

1st - The Misfits with12 points and best Musical Interpretation Score

Starter – Ali Hayes and Toby

A lovely round with Ali using her arms to dance! A good variety of moves, with the inclusion of some nice synchronised elements.

Novice – Jackie Field and Bobby

A fun routine that nods at Hot Chocolate and a certain striptease. Some good ideas, but again Jackie focussed so much on Bobby that at time she forgot her own bit.

Intermediate – Louise Ince and Troy

A proper dance with both partners going for it and moving in a relaxed and dynamic manner, with the handler using arms and body and well and footstep rhythms. Fun and interesting to watch

Advanced – Lesley Brocklehurst and Alaska

I have never seen Alaska look so animated. She looked wonderful showing of Lesley’s interesting and stylish choreography. Both partners dance together, with a good interplay of varied moves.

2nd - The Busy Bees with 12 points

Starter –June Selway with Honey

This piece is in the style of a line dance with some nice synchronised moves

Novice – Donna Wallington with Pip

Oh wow – the dance of the day from the handler who did a full out tango, with highly amused terrier Pip keeping pace and doing her bit. Donna kept to the rhythm, character and phrasing of the music throughout and covered the ring in style.

Intermediate – Di Morgan with Mazer

Di has made a serious attempt to choreograph her moves and Mazer’s into a partnership, with some good synchronised moves. A bit more fluidity from Di, with more armography, will enhance this piece.

Advanced – Joanna Mayston and Swift

I would like to see more dance moves from Joanna when doing Dances. Swift is well capable and should cope easily with a change in the body language of her handler. Some interesting moves from both handler and dog with the inclusion of some synchronised moves.

3rd - The Pals with 9 points

Starter – Louise Baldeson and Annabelle

This was the first time in the ring for this pair and Annabelle very sensibly kept her round simple. She nonetheless used the ring well and showed awareness of the rhythm and phrasing of the music.

Novice –Venetia McVeigh and Morgan

Some good synchronised moves in this piece. The overall content needs to increase a bit for both dog and handler, but a very respectable presentation.

Intermediate – Di Morgan with Fancy

This routine has some good ideas but does not give Di a strong choreographic style to follow for herself and so lacks some impact and dance content. Fancy was not really focussing, on this occasion, and I would like to see her produce a greater variety of moves.

Advanced – Cathy Bates and Sybil

This is a difficult round to evaluate as the dog and handler are often doing mirroring moves – but dance partners would not normally face away from each other so much, and would normally dance together more. Cathy produces a definite dance with the use of her arms in elements of the choreography.

4th - The Desperate Doggy Dancing Divas with 7 points

Starter – Gill Cook and Freddie

A good attempt to tackle a dance from the dog, with some synchronised moves included. The handler needs to increase her dance content.

Novice – Jackie Field and Billy

This dance has potential, with some good ideas. Jackie was forgetting to do her bit at times as she concentrated on getting Billy to produce his moves. He had a good variety of moves to show.

Intermediate – Julia Moss and Memphis

Julia worked hard and Memphis yodelled at appropriate times!

Advanced – Lesley Brocklehurst and Minstrel

A varied and stylish round with both partners showing a good range of moves
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