Heelwork to Music in the UK

Strictly canine htm show

Advanced HTM

Thank you to Nicci for the invitation to judge at this show, there was a nice relaxed atmosphere throughout the day and luckily the wet weather stayed away until after the competition had finished.

There were eventually only six competitive rounds in the class as there were many training rounds. The standard was mixed with heelwork positions not always cleanly executed.

1st. Cathy Bates and Ruskath lyrical image

I can see why this team have been consistently in the places this year at shows as they produce a competent performance. At times head and body position was not quite as precise as I would like to see and at times Sybil didn’t always look engaged in the task. Nice music which suited the team, I would have like to have seen a little more varied content

2nd. Lesley Neville Brambledale blue dewy

A happy team who always look like they are enjoying the task although sometimes perhaps this enjoyment means Dewy can get a little forward or wide in positions. A flowing routine which used the music well

3rd. Paul Ballard with Indiana joy of april

An improvement in the standard of heelwork in some of the positions since I last judged this team. Important to practice the handler movements needed within the routine so that the dog still holds positions when the handler is moving arms etc about.

4th. Angela Briggs and Wandering coast to coast

Again an improvement in some of the htm positions since I last judged although some still need tinkering with so that the dog is not leaning on or forward of the required position. Angela looked impressive in her general’s outfit which suited the music although I was not sure of the story so perhaps this needs to be made clearer

5th.Linda webster and Isabella Gal

Bella didn’t always look engaged in the task during the routine, there were some nice sequences to the music but perhaps the rhythm/speed of the music could be reflected more at some points.

6th. Iris Maxfield and Just call me rolo

Lots of work needed here to bring the heelwork upto the standard required in this class, I would like to see more drive and attitude from Rolo and a higher degree of content.

Head Judge Richard Curtis
 Head Judges Report Strictly Canine HTM June 2016 by Kath Hardman

A one day competition at Newark Showground in one of the Crocker Buildings – giving plenty of space for a good sized ring, warm up area and seating for the audience.

I judged two classes at this competition and both times my fellow judge was Lucy Creek.

Intermediate HTM – a small class of just 9 competitors of which only 6 competed, 2 training rounds - one was planned from the outset and was very clear what the handler was wanting to achieve – and the other was turned into a training round during the routine plus one handler did not compete.

The overall standard really was an eye opener – with only a couple of routines hitting the award points. Nothing should detract from the winner Helen Dennis and her young dog Comebyandaway Pure Love – a super, smart, little dog whose paws kept perfect time with the beat of the music. With more content this would have scored much higher. In Heelwork To Music the dog should be keeping a constant position – not crabbing or swinging out and there should be the same distance between the dog’s shoulder and the handler’s leg in whatever position the dog is being worked and because of the lack of focus, many dogs soon lost their correct position which I found quite surprising since this was the Intermediate Class. It did seem to me that many of the routines presented to us, were not well structured or planned, which if they had been, would then help gain points with the teamwork and flow elements of the scoring criteria. Maybe a revisit to the new Judge’s Criteria would help people put together a routine which could then be judged against these points.

Novice Freestyle – a much larger class of 21 entries – but again just 6 competitors completed routines. 7 were trained, 7 did not compete and 1 withdrew.

The first place (Lesley Neville and Brambledale Brown Tedi) and second place (Jackie Clarke (Nice Tri Ted) were both well constructed routines which flowed well, had varied content, good ring coverage and a nice variety of moves around their props. Again in this class I felt that more planning would have helped the lower placed competitors as there was quite an amount of repetition of moves. If using a prop or multiple props you need to ensure that they are well integrated into the routine – try and ensure each prop is used more than once to show it’s not there just to give you the opportunity to show a particular move by your dog and ask yourself, “could I do this routine without the prop?” – as if so, then it is not necessarily a good addition to the routine! Look at the new Judging Criteria – and check it against your routine and try and ensure that you can tick all the boxes.

Thank you to Strictly Canine HTM, to Nicci Hindson, Competition Organiser and all the helpers, DJ Pete and Scorer Chris de Jong, without whom, the competition would not have happened.
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