Heelwork to Music in the UK


This is a delightful show for everyone and is a wonderful start to the Christmas celebrations. It was a pleasure to judge.


Dressage is becoming more interesting as handlers are drawing on horse dressage moves to increase their content. The movements prescribed in the Progress Awards also give valuable guidance on the moves that, ideally, one would like to see, particularly in an advanced routine. The use of different paces and sufficient stretches of sideways and backing movements to demonstrate that the dog can hold a consistent pace adds interest to the presentation.

1st - Vee Richardson, with Langtrees Wildcard (WSD). Performing to Funky Town by Lipps Inc. Score 20.70.

This dog always looks beautiful on the move, with a very stylish trot. The choreography shows a good use of space and is very dynamic to watch, with smooth transitions between moves. Some very nice backing moves. Would like to see a bit more variety in gaits of the dog – the routine is predominantly at a trot.

2nd -Cathy Bates and Ruskath Lyrical Image (WSD) Performing to Next to me by Emili Sande. Score 20.20

There are some very interesting moves in this routine, including a lovely half pass coming the length of the hall to the left. Some of the ideas, such as the piaff on a pivot and a half pass zig zag were not quite there on this occasion. Most of the routine is at a forwards trot, with some nice patterns and a good mix between heelwork and free positions.

3rd -Nicky Maxwell and Ironlake Seferino (Large Munsterlander) Performing to Moulinet Polka by Andre Rieu. Score 18.75

This routine had the best content of the rounds on this day, with work in the walk, trot and canter – very impressive for a large dog in a confined space. Good use of patterns, with the choreography interesting and varied. Good stretches of sideways and backwards movements that were missing in some of the other rounds. Sadly Fiji was feeling a little talkative on this occasion, which lost him some marks.

4th -Donna Wallington and Pippie Squeak (Lakeland Terrier) Performing to Manhatten Playboy. Score 18.20

This routine has good potential but on this occasion Pip was not keeping a consistent pace throughout her moves.


A key skill that any dog needs to be able to do well in Dances is for their moves to be on voice cue, not dependent on hand signals, so that their handler can choreograph their hand/arm movements to the style of the chosen dance. A few stand-out routines demonstrated that this work had been done (sadly in one, the dog was feeling anxious and didn’t manage their part of the choreography) and were a pleasure to watch as the performances came alive.

1st -Cathie Imlach and Iteru Red Russett (WSD) Performing to Jai Ho, original Soundtrack Slumdog Millionaire. Score 25.00

This routine really stood out from the competition with Cathie moving well and using a variety of dance steps, including arm movements very much in keeping with the theme (Bollywood). Russett also held up her end of the partnership and was working well and attentively with a good variety of moves.

2nd -Esther Kent and Gosport Riva (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) Performing to Boot Scooting Boogie by Brook and Dunn. Score 22.05

A very recognisable line dance from this partnership was a huge pleasure to watch. Esther has worked very hard to reduce her hand signals on Riva’s moves so she can achieve very creditable choreography. A good variety of steps and moves from both, with some good synchronisation, and Esther keeping her rhythms and phraseology correct.

3rd - Lesley Tomlinson and Bertram de Worcester (Crossbreed) Performing to In the Mood by Glen Miller. Score 20.75

This was a real favourite of a routine with the music absolutely suiting the partnership and Christine having such obvious fun. Both partners were doing their share of dancing and there was a good use of synchronised moves and interplay between them. Great musicality, with Lesley holding the style and accurate on her rhythms and phraseology.

4th - Christine Clements and Mountlochan Chanonry Lad (Border Collie) Performing to Scotland the Brave by Tommy Scott. Score 19.95

This was a more limited routine from both partners, with the dog doing mainly heelwork and the handler a more limited use of dance steps. The routine uses the space well and is orientated so that the judges can see the moves. The dog was accurate for what he was asked to do.

Jan Debnam

Head Judge.
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