Heelwork to Music in the UK

 21 & 22 MAY, 2016.


It was good that all 3 judges [Vee Richardson, Jenny Deakin and myself] were in complete agreement on the placing of the first 3 competitors and pretty close thereafter as well!

1st -Lucy Creek and BC Harriot Skiffle King, performing to Out of Space, scoring 26.00. A very clear decisive start and finish, wide range of heelwork positions, directions and speeds, all woven together in an interesting and exciting way. Lucy really acted out her part with well integrated arm and body movements and cues, but was also prepared to give Skiffle an extra bit of help once or twice, to maintain the accuracy. Clever and entertaining musical interpretation and choreography. This really did tick all the boxes.

2nd -Kay Laurence and ASD Genabacab Light Merlot, performing to Cloud Atlas, scoring 25.03. Time works in a committed close position in heelwork, showing a very good range of movements using the ring space fully. Transitional moves between positions were simple and smooth and the close ‘partnership’ shone through. Interpretation of the music was excellent, starting slowly, flowing effortlessly and smoothly round the ring in interesting patterns and building up speed with the nuances of the music to an explosion of energy as the music climaxed.

3rd - Jeanette Fyfe and Golden Ret. Enlivya Angel Nathaniel, performing to From Here to the Moon, scoring 22.83. Another well controlled and gently flowing and varied performance with good smooth transitions. Some interesting sequences but accuracy and Jeanette’s twiddly fingers need some homework! Lovely music for this dog’s natural rhythmic movement. Interpretation was good.

4th -Linda Webster and WSD Isabella Gal performing to Dead Silence Theme, scoring 21.03. There was a good range of heelwork positions, some showing movement in all directions, a few FS moves to help punctuate the music and some neat links between positions. It flowed and used the space well. The heelwork needs to be a bit tighter and the patting hands must go! Well done.

I was surprised at this level of competition that there were some indecisive starts and finishes which were not timed with the music. Some interesting work from all dogs but holding a consistent position was problematic for some, often I felt because there were too many position changes and not enough time given for the dog to settle into its rhythm.


1st -Cathy Bates and with WSD Ruskath Lyrical Image, performing to Up Town Funk and scoring 24.43. Sybil showed movement in all directions within 4 positions, including some little boxes and also some FS moves including clever forward and backwards movements. Accuracy was mostly very good apart from a bit of backing and sideways when she angled out. Timing, rhythm and phrasing were very competent but I felt more could be made of the Funky theme - it was a little too controlled. Amazing gold lame trousers!!

2nd -Joanna Mayston and WSD Mists of Tawny, performing to Up is Down, scoring 24.40. All 8 positions were used with directional work in several, and some appropriate FS moves for this theme. There was a little lagging before Joanna stepped on her dog but she quickly recovered. Good interpretation, timing and use of the musical nuances. I believe this might have been the “swan song” for this routine which has taken them to Crufts this year.

3rd -Lesley Neville and Bearded Collie Brambledale Blus Dewy, performing to What Have We Got, scoring 22.87. Very good content range but let down by some ‘iffy’ position links where the dog was a bit muddled and unsure. Musical timing, rhythm and phrasing and the structure of the routine were all very competent as was the dog’s commitment and the partnership between dog and handler. An enjoyable and interesting performance.

4th - Kristine Hodgson and BC Detania Divine Charm Performing to Pirates of the Caribbean, scoring 22.23. A good range of positions, directions and speed, and some appropriate freestyle for this theme. Accuracy mostly quite good but too far ahead in positions 5 and 6 which she obviously loves! Very good musical interpretation and creative use of space and positioning. Kristine’s excellent pirate costume added a little icing too.

The same general comments for part 1 also apply to this class. There were some clever ideas and interesting routines and on the whole the dogs had good attention and were committed in their work.

When the 2 parts were combined, the final results were ;

Lucy Creek - 26.0

Kay Laurence – 25.03,

Cathy Bates – 24.43,

Joanna Mayston – 24.40

As Lucy and Cathy already have a qualifier in Heelwork, subject to confirmation by the KC the accolade today will go to Kay and Joanna. Congratulations .

Head Judge Lesley Brocklehurst


1st -Nicci Hindson and WSD Ravenstar Scarlet Dancer, scoring 20.7. A good attempt was made to address the requirements of this class with the team demonstrating movements in a range of heel and FS positions, directions and speeds. Accuracy was compromised by the skirt, causing head bobbing – I should ditch that Nicci! The timing was pretty good overall.

2nd -Lisa Mappin ESSpaniel, Sir George of the Wood ,scoring 19.75. Superb trotting, perfectly in time with the music, all targeted out to the side. Sadly there was no other content – hence my marks were very low.

3rd -Louise Ballard and BC Stillmore Secret Fable scoring 19.05. A slow walk, trotting and a canter were all included, heelwork and free movement, some backing and side stepping. The rhythm was spoilt by ducking and diving as she tried to grab Louis’s trousers!

4th - Andrea Champ and Sunshine Happy Valley, scoring 18.8. This little terrier X walked trotted and cantered in interesting patterns, using the whole ring space. It was mostly in time with the music losing rhythm occasionally. Side stepping and backing were attempted but not very successfully.

5th - Lisa Mappin and GS Pointer Boardermans Legs Eleven scoring 17.05. Super long stepping pointer but again, I awarded low mark for a lack of content other than the trotting out on a target hand.

6th - Pamela Ruscoe and x breed Ychydig Draig scoring 17.00.Interesting patterns of movement, mainly in free positions and mostly maintaining good timing with the music. A tiny dog with a very fast trotting action! However Sharp turns interrupted the rhythm.

Whenever the PnM additional classes are held, the special Judging Criteria for these classes are included in the schedule, and also available from the PnM web site. It clearly states for Musical Dressage that all movement should reflect the musical timing and that a range of heel and free positions, directions of movement and speeds should be included. In other words, Dressage is not just trotting round the ring in time with the music. Backing, side stepping and moving at different speeds are all a challenge but I would expect these variations in a Novice class. It adds to the “difficulty “element and so should be rewarded.

Lesley Brocklehurst
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