Meet some of the 2017 HTM & FS handlers
Susan Dooney and Murphy - HTM
Where does the time go?…….I can’t quite believe that Murphy will be 11 years old this September.
He remains a very active and continues to train and compete in both Heelwork to Music and Flyball. Murphy also loves attending his weekly hydrotherapy treadmill session but he is probably at his happiest when he is up on the fells in the Lake District.
This will be the 3 time that we have successfully qualified for the Crufts HTM finals.
Good Luck to all those who are competing or demonstrating over the four days of Crufts 2017
Kath Hardman and Denby - HTM
Kath Hardman has been involved in HTM since 2001 and Denby (Stillmoor Extra Special) is her fifth dog to be successfully competing in both Advanced HTM and Freestyle.
Kath is very proud to say she is a previous winner of Crufts Freestyle, the Crufts International Competition and the FCI HTM World Championship and has performed at Crufts many times with multiple dogs.
This is the second time Kath has performed at Crufts with her Border Collie Denby, Stillmoor Extra Special who will be 6 years old one week before the competition. Their partnership is developing nicely, helped by two years on the Obedience circuit and he is now as Extra Special as his name denotes!
The music they are using is a compilation from the Italian Original Soundtrack of Pinocchio – Kath is Giuseppe and Denby is Pinocchio!
Photographer credit to Janet MacPherson
Lucy Creek and Skiffle - Freestyle and HTM
Skiffle, Harriot Skiffle King and his dancing partner Lucy Creek
Skiffle is a 7yr old border collie. This year he will be in both the heelwork to music and freestyle finals. He is definitely a working dog and always likes to be busy. He really enjoys training, you only have to touch his training bag and he starts running to and from the door manically wagging his tail. In his downtime he also enjoys watching television, especially anything with wildlife on (real or animated!). He is a very loving dog who adores people and would happily work for anyone for a cuddle and play with his toy. He is also the 'mummy' dog of our household. He goes around every morning, licking the other dogs faces and checking them over (which Maple and Teasel love and Spider has learnt to grin and bare it, as it's over quicker if you just let Skiffle get on with it).
We can't wait to be able to perform our routines in the big ring at Crufts this year. I hope you all will enjoy watching them as much as I know we (Skiffle especially) will enjoy performing them.
Ann Lowe and Balliol - Freestyle and HTM
Annette Lowe and Kinaway Mystic Spires HTM A Ex Fs I Ex (Balliol)
Here we go again, our second visit to Crufts. In 2015 Balliol and I competed in the Heelwork competition but this year we have managed to qualify for heelwork and freestyle.
Balliol is a four-year-old Border Collie. He came to live with us in Matlock, Derbyshire at 9 weeks old and soon made strong links with all the family, human and canine. He is the third dog that I have partnered in heelwork to music/freestyle, the others were Flash (born March 2002 and still going) and Danny (2007-2012). Balliol has been great to work with, helping me to achieve every target that I have set since we started competing.
I have to thank the person who has contributed most to us returning to Crufts, Karen Sykes. It has been a huge pleasure and privilege to train with her and Midge, especially in terms of improving our heelwork.
When it comes to work, Balliol is always ready to go. When not working, he is firmly of the opinion that he should be allowed to sit in the best armchair in the room – this is a constant point of debate.
I am sure that Balliol and I will enjoy ourselves performing in the big ring; I hope everyone watching enjoys our performance too.
(Photo courtesy of Allan Brown)
Mary Ann Nester and Bryning Vanquish (Tico) - Freestyle
I came over from the States in the 70s and now live in Devon. My greatest pleasure is walking and playing with my five dogs and I can't imagine life without them. This will be my first time competing in the Heelwork to Music Freestyle Finals and I will be dancing with my best buddy, Tico Collie. Neither of us can quite believe it! We are still in shock!!!
My dog training background is mainly agility. My miniature poodles were finalist at Crufts and Olympia and represented Great Britain at the FCI World Agility Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. I always thought if I was ever lucky enough to qualify again to compete at Crufts, it would be with a poodle and there would be jumps, weaves and A-frame in the ring.
Teaching my dogs tricks to switch on their muscles and brains has always been part of my agility warm up. Crossing over and joining the heelwork to music community has taken time but been worthwhile. I've made some fabulous friends, had great fun and met amazing dogs! And, I have been so lucky and privileged to be taught by the people I respect and admire. I can't thank them enough for their generosity, understanding and patience. I know Tico and I have been challenging students and have more to learn!
Tico is the dog I bought to celebrate my retirement. My boy is a striking blue and white collie with enormous ears and tongue. He is approaching eight and is a speed junkie who is able to go from nought to sixty in a split second. I am over sixty and like to eat cake. If I want to keep up with him, I've just had to eat faster!
Tico and I are looking forward to entertaining the crowds at Crufts and we wish everyone competing there lots of luck and lots of fun.
Karen Sykes and Midge - Freestyle and HTM
(Kingsfarm Spring Surprise)
This year Karen is delighted to be back at Crufts with her 3 dog to become a Crufts finalist. Karen has competed at the Crufts Finals every year since they were first held, except for the last 2 years and she is itching to get back onto that famous green carpet.
This year is the debut of her young dog, Midge who is just 3 years old. Midge has some big paw prints to follow in as Karen’s previous dogs; Kes and Fly have left a legacy of success behind them which include winning Crufts in 2008 and The Open European Championships in 2011.
Midge is a great character, full of confidence and fun. She is a lovely, calm house dog but always ready for anything, especially when the training bag appears. Karen has been careful to shape her training slowly and carefully to provide the greatest chance of a long and happy dancing career together.
Just being at Crufts with Midge is an amazing achievement and to have qualified to compete in both Heelwork to Music and Freestyle at her very first attempt is beyond their dreams. Their aim is to enjoy their time in the ring and make their first Crufts appearance together a fun and positive experience.
Karen would like to thank Jo Hill, Annette Lowe and Allan Brown for their invaluable help and support and to wish all her fellow competitors lots of luck and a wonderful experience in the ring.
Caroline Garrett and Fawkes - HTM
Fawkes is a 7 year old border collie who lives with his buddy, Rose, and I in West Sussex. Having had a busy and successful 2015/16 season in obedience and heelwork to music, for us, 2016/17 turned out to be much quieter on the competition front for many reasons. The Crufts semi finals in January was our first HTM competition since our win at Crufts 2016, having chosen to focus on working Rose during the summer season. We certainly felt a little rusty and so we were really chuffed to make it through to the Crufts finals. For the first time in our 3 year Crufts experience we are thankful to have the six weeks between the semis and Crufts to prepare. We are very excited about returning to Crufts this year and hope to thoroughly enjoy our experience.
Freestyle competitors - Running order
Mary Ann Nester
Heelwork to Music Competitors - Running order
International Freestyle competitors - Running order
Scotland - Penny Mansfield
Belgium - Kristine Goosen
Holland - Grietje Wagenaar
Italy - Lusy Imbergerova
France - Alexandra Greusot
Argentina - Marisol Rey
Denmark Emmy Simmonsen
Austria - Lukas Pratscher
England _ TBC
Norway - Hanne Bache-Mathiesen
Japan - Lucie Plevova
German - Dr Uta Opel
Sweden - Nina Roegnaer
Switzerland - Monika Gehrig
Czech Republic - Vanda Gregorova