Heelwork to Music in the UK


Thank you to RDTC for inviting me to judge in place of Jackie de Jong who has been unwell. A well organised show and many willing helpers. We were very well looked after with food and drinks. My co-judge was Pat Parsons who bravely drove to fulfil her appointment despite having not fully recovered from breaking both wrists!

Novice heelwork. 23 entries, 13 completed routines.

1st, Lucy Heath and x breed Trip Hazard, scoring 24.35 . A little star today, working closely and consistently in several different positions with added variety of directions and tempos. Some slight drifting and a little ahead across the front but superb attention and commitment , good transitions and a delight to watch and judge. Who said small dogs cannot do close heelwork?!

2nd, Lucy Creek and WHVizsla, Sonnteno Cordelia, scoring 23.25 . Lucy seemed surprised Maple worked so well!!! First in the ring setting a high standard, with wide range if positions, sidestepping and backing in some and tempo changes too. A bit of hand mugging spoilt the accuracy and this young dog did seem to flag before the end, but a committed and interesting performance.

3rd, Jill Davies and WSD Demalza at Glidersway, scoring 22.05 . Another young dog who showcased a wide range of heelwork positions and directions, interesting patterns around the ring and even some FS distance work around and on a prop. Her immaturity showed in some lapses of attention and missed cues as she was a little distracted by the environment

4th, Lisa Mappin and ESS George of the Wood, scoring 21.70 . George really strutted his stuff today, producing some good heelwork in a wide range of positions. He tended to be a bit wide across the front and side stepping lost position, but interpretation and timing were good. A smart team.

General comments: There were some competent routines not far behind the top 4. Gill Harrison, Susan Steele, Iris Maxfield and Lisa Mappin with Heath her flat coat [sorry if I am biased but he did show super flowing and rhythmical trotting action], all did very competent performances. Several dogs however ran from the ring or found the environment too challenging. Some handlers stopped to help reassure and play with their dog but others soldiered on far too long. Just because the maximum time for Novice is 3 ½ minutes, it does not mean you need to do that much – choose a time which suits your dog’s capabilities – 2 minutes will be fine.

Lesley Brocklehurst.
 Starters Freestyle

Thank you to Rugby DTC for their kind invitation to judge Starters Freestyle. My fellow judge for this class was Amanda Jinks. Seventeen dogs worked and two of these were training rounds.

We saw some lovely rounds from dogs who will obviously progress much further in Freestyle. A word of warning to some handlers, though. Make sure you consider your round from the judges’ viewpoint. On two or three occasions, our view of the dog was masked by the handler or by a prop. Do remember that judges can’t mark what they can’t see.

1st. (20.65) Andrea McHugh with Mister Coco Pops (Xbreed)

This team showed us a good variety of accurate moves. The mirror moves were particularly effective (handler and dog twisting in front of each other and also the dog reversing round handler who turned the other way). The dog was attentive and a joy to watch. The handler did not use props but wore a show-stopping yellow frilled top that enhanced the professional appearance of the team.

2nd. (19.85) Susan Steele with Ollie Folly Fidget (WSD)

Susan matched her dog’s movements well to the rhythm of the music. Her prop – a little bed – was used effectively more than once and fitted the theme of the music, “Whose bed have your boots been under?” This team also demonstrated a good range of moves (loved the little kiss!) but the handler may improve the routine even further by checking the judge’s view of the dog is never blocked.

3rd. (18.35) Cassie Tudor with Mouse Underestimated (Xbreed)

This tiny dog attacked the routine with gusto. Occasionally the accuracy was compromised by over-enthusiasm but the round was extremely entertaining to watch. The costume and props were appropriate and amusing (you don’t see many dogs disappearing through a mousehole!).

4th. (18.15) Penny Hudson with It’s Just Happy Harry (Westie)

This little dog worked his socks off today. He was attentive and showed off a good set of moves. Very impressive. Penny, make sure you have the ring space sussed out; you nearly crashed into the wall at one moment but just recovered in time!

Bev Boughton
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