Heelwork to Music in the UK


This show was put on by Kathleen Stubbings and held at a very pleasant venue in Surrey with plenty of space on the adjoining village recreation ground for exercising dogs. The refreshments were absolutely wonderful from the bacon butties for breakfast through to the ploughman’s for lunch and scrummy cakes all very ably provided by Felicity Hankey. Kathleen had a very good entry for the Paws n Music Additional Classes and I was Head Judge for two of them.

Starters Dances With Dogs - Head judge Jill Davis (Co-judged with Jo Preston)

To be honest some of the teams in this class did not give of their best today and in some cases I felt the handler was putting in a lot more to the performance than the dog, which was reflected in my marking.

1st. Barbara Bigg and Catcombe Crystal Connor, a golden retriever, dancing to Hernandos Hideaway by theTango Orchestra. Barbara did some really good tango dancing but I felt her dog was not really equal to her standard and in my opinion needs to move faster to suit the music and to execute moves more in keeping with Barbara’s dance steps.

2nd. Barbara Houston and Mungo Blessem, a crossbreed, dancing to Elizabethan Serenade by Mantovani Orchestra. (A good day for Barbaras!) Barbara chose her music well to reflect the moves she is able to execute sitting in her wheelchair and I thought had improved considerably since I judged them in Scotland. Mungo did have a few ‘moments’ but on the whole was better focussed today. Perhaps the smaller hall and fewer distractions were helpful to him.

3rd. Lizzie Dyche and Harvey Nics, a crossbreed, dancing to Skater’s Waltz by Emile Waldtenfel. I would have liked to see more moves indicating a waltz although I do take on board that dancing when sitting in a wheelchair must be quite difficult and how you steer a wheelchair and command your dog at the same time is amazing. Harvey was unfortunately quite vocal during his performance so that lost a huge chunk of marks for you.

4th. Charles Robert and Misty, a crossbreed, dancing to Save The Last Dance For Me by Michael Buble.Charles chose the same music for both his dogs but Misty beat Sky into 4 place by just .1 of a mark! It would have been the other way round if Skye had not sung along to the music. Misty was dancing just a little too slowly today and Charles needed all his resources to keep her moving along.

Novice Dances With Dogs  - Head Judge Jill Davis (co-judged with Kathleen Stubbings)

1st. Di Morgan with Hawkstor Out Of The Blue For Darkquest, a border collie, dancing to Charleston by Casablanca Steps. A very well executed programme with the handler and dog putting equal amounts of effort into the dance with lots of content and accurate moves appropriate to a Charleston dance.

2nd. Louise Ince with Decoymans Piper Edward, a Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, dancing to Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nitini. Louise and Troy were just pipped into 2 place by .05 of a mark so a really good effort by this youngster. I felt Troy was just a little less accurate than the first dog and needed a little guidance from Louise but that is down to his inexperience and he will soon be up there with the big boys.

3rd. Di Morgan with Darkquest Fancy That, a Border Collie, dancing to New Rigged Ship/Off She Goes by New Scorpion Band. Dancing a Reel this team were not far behind but had a little less content and again I thought the handler was putting in a little more effort than the dog.

4th. Jackie Field with Atastar Fairytale, a poodle, dancing to Hot Stuff by Donna Summer. I love this music – always makes me think of a certain film – but no stripping off today for Jackie. The musical interpretation was good but I would have liked to see a bigger variety of moves.


In general terms this was an interesting class to judge with the choreography demonstrating that the handlers understood the essentials of dressage and how to produce an interesting and varied round. I believe both first and second now move up into Intermediate and look forwards to their participation at that level.

1st. Decoymans Piper Edward. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever handled by Louise Ince. Score 22.4

A varied round using walking and trotting paces with some good patterns and the use of sideways and backing moves as well as forwards. This dog can be a little untidy with his rear end, but he holds a very stylish trot and walk and is consistent and balanced in his movement.

2nd. Pippie Squeak. Lakeland Terrier handled by Donna Wallington. Score 19.

This round made more use of patterns, with no change of pace and less in the way of sideways and backwards moves. Like many terriers this dog looks extremely smart when trotting and holds her paces very consistently. Today, she decided she was working!

3rd. Rosmarinus Cinnabar at Gildersway. Border Collie handled by Jill Davies. Score 18.2

His mind was not on the job on this occasion, which is a shame as the choreography is varied and interesting, and he can look very smart when he puts his mind to it. A lot of sniffing and mind wandering.

4th. Rooqui’s Typoni Maiden. Border Collie handled by Val Kelsey. Score 17.9

Val used some nice patterns in her choreography but unfortunately this youngster was not holding a consistent pace on this occasion and was a bit untidy in some of her moves. But a very creditable attempt for her first try at dressage.

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