Heelwork to Music in the UK

Rugby DTC Fennis Fields September 27

Judges Lelsey Brocklehurst & Karen Bartoby

Report from Karen Bartoby

I’d like to say thank you, first of all, to Rugby DTC for inviting me to judge at this show. The weather was kind to us and the atmosphere warm and welcoming as always. There were some lovely trophies to be won and Novice Heelwork was an interesting class boasting a wide variety of styles, which was nice to see. A general comment would be that there seemed to be a bit of ‘position over movement’ in some of the routines. By that I mean that handler and dog would move into a heelwork position and within two or three steps they had changed to another and then another. I appreciate that on occasion the music may warrant this but on the whole it would have been nicer to see a smooth change into position followed by a chance to admire the dog’s pace and continued placement to showcase that position rather than putting in a position just to tick the boxes. However it’s interesting to notice that over the years people are starting to put more musical interpretation into Heelwork routines. Not so long ago you only expected MI in Freestyle; - times are changing. From a purely personal viewpoint I think it’s a good thing, although it obviously should never override accuracy it does add interest to a routine.

Novice Heelwork 15 entrants, 3 did not compete, 3 training rounds

1st Place Lesley Thompson with Killi Just Be Keebs. This was a lovely routine with some neat positions very well maintained by the pair. A good piece of music – Brown eyed Girl by Van Morrison – gave Lesley the chance to show off her clever Musical Interpretation skills as well as her beautiful dog. Although the majority of moves were forward they were executed well. An added bonus was the fact that this was their first time in Novice and first outing with this routine – so doubly well done!

2nd Place Gail Avery with Beachbum Bertie. A quietly understated routine here performed beautifully by this pairing. Although the dog had a few instances where he wasn’t quite in position and a moment where there was confusion over hand signals there were a lot of fine examples of very precise work demonstrated by this graceful dog. He’s come a long way from the days when he’d just take off and race around the ring and it was a pleasure to watch him today.

3rd Place Jackie De Jong and Jackie’s Ziva Diva. Jackie showing us again just how well she and her dog can achieve good heelwork. Good focus too. The emphasis was mostly on forward movement but far better to have fewer moves performed well than a whole host of them poorly done, so Jackie and Ziva definitely gained on their Accuracy here.

4th Place Jenny Deakin and Shenandi Take a Bet. Terrific little dog with bags of attitude showing some lovely work here; he’s got a beautiful high stepping trot and his accuracy is improving with ring experience. Jenny always oozes energy and joie de vivre in her routines and this adds both to her dog’s enthusiasm and the overall impression to spectators – a huge plus.
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