Heelwork to Music in the UK


Class 6, Advanced F.S.

1st , Mary Ann Nestor and BC Bryning Vanquish, performing to Top Hat and White Tails. 24.56. A different and unusual interpretation of this music, demonstrating creativity and excellent use of vertical space. Complete with top hat, tails, scarf, cane and two large top hat floor props, all wholly applicable to the interpretation and well integrated into the performance. This was varied and flowed well with the dog focussed and working willingly with commitment. Timing and phrasing were good and there was excellent use of musical nuances. There were a few overt hand/arm signals and I would have liked to see a little more use of the ring area but otherwise this ticked all the boxes and was an interesting and highly competent performance demonstrating a strong partnership.

2nd,Emily High and Herumen Mountain Imp, a Papillon, performing to Mission Impossible. 24.0. An excellent action packed performance from this delightful little pap. and accomplished young handler, interpreting the music and theme very well. Both Emily’s costume and the prop were appropriate and aided the interpretation. I loved the half creep forward with halts, perfectly in time with the music, the different styles of jumping and the moves in, around and on the case. Sadly he found the floor rather interesting a few times, but for which this could have been the winning team! A lovely partnership, accomplishing the “mission” admirably!

3rd, Kath Hardman and BC Stillmoor Extra Special, performing to Top Hat Medley. 23.90. Excellent variety of moves; tricks and ground covering FS and heelwork moves, using the ring space fully. An interesting range of transitions for both and nifty footwork from Kath. A classic hat stand for the era and very smart appropriate costume complete with top hat, cane and scarf, the latter effectively used for jumping. There was a slight loss of focus and accuracy and some barking which was a great shame as the marks were all close. Very good musical interpretation with moves well chosen to demonstrate the theme of this programme which was energetic and fun to watch.

4th, Ann De Rizzio and BC Stillmoor Red Sky at Night, perfotming to the Blue Danube. 23.20. Strauss would be proud of this flowing interpretation of his music! Ann was smartly dressed in a black suit with treble clef embroidery. The baton, music book, music stand and chair, were all used well and relevant to the theme. Phoenix performed a good range of moves/movements willingly and with good focus, however he did look as if he wanted to stop for a scratch or perhaps he had a twig in his trousers, distracting him momentarily a few times. The musical interpretation, its timing and phrasing were competently addressed making this a very enjoyable relaxed and gentle performance.
The rest of the class:

 Dylan Smith with BC Corriedhu Chase – what can I say?! Such energy and creativity! It was accuracy or more precisely the dog’s enthusiasm - sheer ‘joie de vivre’ which let you down today but so much better than a bored lethargic dog. This is a partnership going from strength to strength. Well done.

 Jeanette Fyfe and her stylish golden retriever performed a routine without ‘tricks’, flowing round the ring whilst transcribing a variety of patterns and different directions of movement. It was mainly trotting in free positions in time with the music ie musical dressage. Some people [and judges] do not give this the same kudos as more trick based routines, but any kind of move/movement which is not in a heelwork position is FREESTYLE. The problem is that a dog can fit 3 or 4 “tricks” into say 16 beats of the music, whereas it takes the same time for a dog, especially a large one, to complete a circle whilst trotting rhythmically in time with the music. So one can guess which dog might well rack up the higher score even though the skill level is actually no greater.

Diane Jones and her “smarty pants” standard poodle was another competitor doing some stylish dressage along with other moves and tricks. For me this performance demonstrated a wide range of different and relevant movements, good use of props and interpretation of the theme. I loved Kenmilfore Aniseed’s sense of timing with head held high, trotting round in perfect time with the music. Such panache!

Pamela Ruscoe and her “Cheeky” collie cross had a wide range of props, some appearing from nowhere and all relevant to Magic Moments. Holding props without dropping them is always tricky especially in a competition environment. Even with a retriever I chicken out of attempting this!!!

What a lovely little class to judge at the end of a long tiring day. I hear negativity sometimes from people about standards in HTM and hope they were watching this class. Well done to you all – super happy dogs, and handlers who have addressed the new Judging criteria and put in the time and effort to ‘entertain ‘us all. Thank you Rugby DTC for inviting me to judge today.

Head Judge  -Lesley Brocklehurst.
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