Heelwork to Music in the UK

Canine Freestyle GB 

There were 15 entries in part 1, 10 competed, 3 trained and 2 DNC. Overall a high standard was demonstrated and all 3 judges [Linda Glover, Michelle Hubbard and myself] were generally in agreement with our placings. Thank you for the invitation to judge this class and for the friendly reception and support through the day.

1st - Karen Sykes with WSD Kingsfarm Spring Surprise, performing to Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkle, scoring 25.67 . A varied range of movements chosen to interpret and act out the story of a down and out who had solace from his loving and faithful canine companion. Very moving - I felt quite emotional as did many others in the audience. A simple costume of blanket cloak and woolly hat together with an old tin mug, was all that was needed for this clever interpretation of the music. The dog was very accurate and controlled [apart from 1 dismounting mishap] and will be a force to be reckoned with now she has matured and served her apprenticeship at a steady pace through the classes.

2nd - Anne Shuker with WSD Splish Splash, scoring 25.1 . “ Homefront in the Blitz” by WW11 Film Themes has been a very successful routine for this team. It is story telling at its best with appropriate props and costume and sequences of movement to act out different aspects of wartime life. There is a lovely start with the dog on a bed and a sad ending as she is evacuated by train with her little suitcase. Mostly very accurate and an action packed interesting performance.

3rd -Caroline Johnson with BC Moffatdale Dazzlin Sun, scoring 24.43 working to a mix of well known Morecambe and Wise songs. A good range of interesting moves/movement and a positive ending. Accuracy also good though verging on frenetic at times. Some lovely interpretational ideas to bring out the style and era of these musical songs together with an appropriate smart suit and dickie bow for Caroline.

4th - Annette Lowe and BC Kinaway Mystic Spires scoring 24.27 and working to “With a Little Bit of Luck” by Stanley Holloway. Well, luck was with you today! Plenty of content variety, energetic, fun to watch and really good teamwork. Excellent positive start and ending and costume and props chosen to help interpretation and effectively used. I felt there were just a few brief moments of uncertainty but otherwise it all flowed well.

One point for competitors to note –beware of unclear lyrics in music if you intend to interpret them. The acoustics at some venues are very poor and words can be muffled. Do not assume everyone is familiar with your music and its lyrics. Judges and spectators need to hear them clearly so they understand rather than have to guess what and why you are doing certain moves!!

Everyone in this class made a huge effort with costume and props – all relevant to the performances and aiding interpretation of the theme or story being depicted. In fact all competitors ticked all the boxes, some with a little more panache and polish than others but all a pleasure to judge.


Out of 14 entries, 9 competed and 5 did training rounds. Another thoroughly enjoyable class to judge – a wide range of different styles, themes and interest. My general comments above also apply to this class.

1st - Kath Hardman and BC Stillmoor Extra Special, scoring 26.27 performing to “Top Hat Medley”. A very polished performance, energetic, fast moving and exciting, with wholly appropriate moves and style of working to interpret the music and theme. All the props were well chosen and cleverly used and Kath added the ‘icing’ in a smart and sparkly costume. Good accuracy and team work – a routine which captivated everyone’s attention.

2nd -Cathy Bates and WSD Ruskath Lyrical Image, scoring 26.17 performing to “Hernando’s Hideaway”. A wide and interesting content range, demonstrating difficult sequences at a distance and some innovative moves. I felt there were a few slow and diffident cue responses due I’m sure to the poor accoustics. Interpretation of the music and theme was admirably portrayed and aided by a full matador costume. I love Sybil’s use of horns to roll the poor matador across the ground!

3rd -Lesley Neville and Bearded Collie Brambledale Blue Dewy, scoring 25.5, performing to “Chattanooga Choo Choo. A very good range of moves including impressive controlled jumping and interesting poses which were held, to good effect, rather than rushing on to the next move. There was an image of oneness between the dog, handler and music. An interesting, energetic and well choreographed performance.

4th - Kim Lyddon and PyreneanSheep dog Pippanabbey Lord Lyddon, scoring23.37, performing to “I Am a Cider Drinker”. This little dog is new to Advanced and produced a super action packed [if a little inebriated?!] performance. A bit of uncertainty at the beginning but soon settled to entertain us all. Good attention, team work, musicality and choreography.

When the two parts of this class were put together, the top scorers were –

Kath Hardman and Denby scoring 26.27

Cathy Bates and Sybil scoring 26.17.

Karen Sykes and Spring Surprise scoring 25.67.

Lesley Neville and Blue Dewy scoring 25.50

Anne Shuler and Splash scoring 25.10.

As Cathy already has a qualifier it was [subject to KC confirmation] Kath and Karen who earned their stripes today with Lesley and Anne hot on their heels. Congratulations and well done to all competitors in Advanced Freestyle.

Head judge - Lesley Brocklehurst.

Thank you for the invitation to judge 2 classes at this well organised show. Because of large entries, both were split into 2 parts so it was a busy day judging – the cushions were much appreciated!

Novice FS Part 1

Out of the 17 entries, there were 6 training rounds and 11 complete routines .

1st, Irene Walsh and WSD Oltamaine Jack, scoring 21.55. This performance for me scored the highest in all 3 sections, though some of the marks were very close in this class. It was also scored first by my co judge, Pat Parsons. Irene did not try to cram in too many moves and it was a slick and effective routine with Irene dressed in a smart black suit. The musical Interpretation of” Me and My Shadow” by Robbie Williams was good with moves well chosen to interpret the programme and its theme.

2nd, Linda Glover and WSD Twm Bach Twister, scoring 20.20 This was a competent routine in all areas. A good balance of ground covering moves and more static tricks using the whole ring space. “Honey I’m Good” was well interpreted with appropriate moves and had a good ending.

3rd,Pamela Ruscoe and crossbreed Ychydig Draig, scoring 19.65 A tiny dog which certainly had the advantage of cuteness! With Pamela as a burglar, this team entertained us with plenty of action and appropriately chosen moves for the theme and the music – “Somebody’s Watching Me”.

4th, Christina Oxtaby and DC Heaven’s Sent Shai, scoring 19.20 A good content range of moves but a tad OTT for my liking! Get the control and this dog will ‘fly’.

Another team which I really enjoyed was Bev Williamson and her lovely lab Sunshine Girl. The use of props and Bev’s costume were well chosen for the music “Whistle While You Work but the sheer exuberance of this dog and the team spirit were infectious!

A few general points for this class – I gave some very low marks, especially for Accuracy and Team Performance for frenetic and erratic uncontrolled work, missed and slow cue responses and huge and repeated signals from handlers. Those who scored below 16.5 from me were in my opinion not yet ready for the next level of competition. This was Freestyle and I was disappointed that some programmes had neither a theme nor told a story – now a requirement in the 2016 judging Criteria.

Novice FS Part 2

There were 3 training rounds, 2 dogs DNC and 12 completed their routines.

1st - Helen Dennis and BC Combyeanaway Pure Love. Scoring 20.95. A fast moving busy routine demonstrating a good range of moves and movement around the ring. Accuracy also good apart from trying to trip each other up at one point! I liked the musical interpretation of “Crazy Party Mix” and the fun props. My only concern is for the over exuberance of this young bitch which could so easily lead to barking.

2nd -Jill Forbes and BC Jackscrofter Tamarisk, scoring 20.90. Another Team demonstrating a competent range of moves, very controlled and flowing. Some large cues with the cane but also many cues were well integrated into the performance. “All I Do” by Michael Buble was well interpreted and timing, phrasing and rhythm were good.

3rd - Karen Gittoes and WSD Maginmoor Master Ollie, scoring 19.05. The sparkly top, red wig and two large boom boxes and microphone were impressive! Moves were well chosen for the music and theme “Spin me Round”. What a pity there was markable barking.

4th - Dylan Smith and G.S. Mittel Dylan’s Tedmanian Devil scoring 18.95. What an attentive little dog – super team work. This was a stylish performance with some impressive fast jumping and trotting beautifully in time with the music. Dylan made the sensible choice of doing a relatively short routine with this young dog. Great potential here.

The general comments I made for Part 1 also apply here. Also, do please try to have a definite start to your routine rather than a vague moving one and also an ending which is timed to match the end of the music, not before or after.

Well done to all FS Novice competitors, I enjoyed watching and marking your routines and wish you all fun and success for the rest of the year.

Lesley Brocklehurst - Head Judge
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