Heelwork to Music in the UK

UK HTM July 2015

Thanks for the invitation to judge this class. It was a well run, enjoyable friendly show. Only 8 completed their routines and there were 3 training rounds.

1st -Cathy Bates and WSD Ruskath Lyrical Image, 23.45. This team floated gracefully around the ring demonstrating a good range of positions, directions and paces. Cathy, Queen of distance work [!] integrated some technical FS moves as an introduction and again in the middle where they did some circling in opposition to each other. Mostly good accuracy [just lost it in backing] and a variety of handler footsteps added interest and enjoyment.

2nd - Kay Laurence and WSD Genabacab Light Merlot, 23.35. Another flowing routine using the drama of Incantation by Cirque du Soleil superbly. Refreshingly different from most Heelwork routines with well trained patterns of heelwork including a variety of turns, pivots swivels and circles, interpreting the mood of the music, its timing and phrasing. Appropriate brief pauses added to the drama. Mostly very accurate, just a couple of moments of uncertainty. Time kept close positions with 100% focus as we should expect at this level of competition.

3rd -Martin Briggs and BC Wildsea Dash of Hope, 22.15. I was impressed by Martin’s quiet, controlled and calm handling, so appropriate for the gently flowing music, capturing its mood well. Good timing, use of space, and balance of HW positions and paces, in a range of patterns across the floor. Dash knows his positions well, needing neither loud cues nor hand signals. This team is really gaining confidence and showing they are capable of a sound Advanced routine.

4th -Ann de Rizzio and BC Stillmoor Red Sky at Night, 22.15.As always Ann made an effort to be appropriately attired for the theme, complete with magnificent hat! Phoenix, a sensitive 3 year old took some time to settle down, [loss of drive and head bobbing] but he was sympathetically handled to encourage confidence. Accuracy needs a bit of polish on today’s performance, especially the backing and sideways moves. This team moved well to the music with a few FS moves used to help interpretation.

Just a few general comments: I am not a judge who thinks hands/arms should always be out of the way in Advanced – for me they should be appropriate for the music/ theme/ style, and not waved around unnecessarily. However, I do not like to see patting of the leg and twiddly fingers at this level. There are times when the music dictates a “step – together - stop” movement when sidestepping or backing. Flowing music requires a rhythmical, continuous movement and this we did not always see. The dog should maintain a heelwork position when pivoting. If the ‘bum’ is out at 45 or 90 degrees then either the handler is moving too fast or the dog has its attention elsewhere!

Well done to all competitors – some fabulous moments from you all including the 3 training rounds.

Judges – Lesley Brocklehurst and Jenny Deakin.

Novice Heelwork To Music

Lead Judge Kim Lyddon

Thank you to Jenny Deakin for inviting me to judge one of the largest classes of the day Novice HTM.

There were 23 entries of which 15 competed on the day.

1st Place – Jeanette Fyfe with Garrellglen Spring Dancer - 24.25

This routine flowed beautifully with Jeanette’s young dog holding his positions well. The music choice suited them both and the quality of the transitions into each position made this a really nice stand out performance. Congratulations.

2nd Place – Lisa Mappin with Boardermans Legs Eleven – 21.55

Very nice heelwork from this team. The music suited them and they made good used of the ring. Lisa had picked out the phrasing and timing of the music well. Apart from a couple of small distractions it was a well planned and executed performance. Well done.

3rd Place – Meryll Haigh with Trevellis Pure Heaven – 19.95

Nice routine from Meryll with varied content on both sides. Lost a bit of accuracy as the routine progressed, however, she had some nice transitions choreographed into this routine. Well done.

4th Place - Emma Yardley with Stillmoor Flynner Flyde – 19.90

A good varied heelwork routine from this team. Emma and her dog made good use of the ring. Emma’s choice of music and costume gave her a routine a clear theme. Well done.

It was a large class, however, the range of skill level was noticeable. From judging this class I would like to share a couple of observations and suggestions, which I hope will help competitors as they progress:

Quite a few handlers attempted to put in too many positions such as positions 7 & 8 (‘behind the handler’) and reversing in positions 3 & 4 (Left and Right). Although I understand the ambition I felt many of these were weak and therefore led to lost points for accuracy. At this level it would be better to include fewer positions that are executed well.

Finally be careful when using a hand target as there were a number of occasions where the dog made contact with the handlers hand – leading to issues of handling in the ring.

I hope you find this useful.

Thanks again to Jenny and her team at UKHTM for a great day and super competition.
 Novice Freestyle

Head judge: Bev Boughton Co-judge: Kim Lyddon 

Thank you to UKHTM for this invitation to judge what turned out to be quite a large class with few training rounds. It was a good opportunity to see the variety of ways people interpret their music. We saw many rounds of a good standard. However, some teams didn’t show the widest range of moves, whereas the routines that stood out had precision as well as variety. We felt the best rounds showed a clear theme, and the handlers made it obvious to the judges why their props were relevant. 

1st - Naomi Evans with her Border Collie Stillmoor Cloudy Sunset (24.1). Naomi showed us a well-planned routine that incorporated both varied and difficult moves, and her cues were impressively subtle. Loved the Mary Ray book used as a prop! 

2nd -Marian Green with Gaytonwood Dixie (23.9). This nicely choreographed routine showed us a keen Goldie who demonstrated a lovely trot in the routine’s element of heelwork. The rhythm and pace matched the music well and really suited the team.

3rd - Kay Laurence with Border Collie Genabacab Light Merlot (23.2). A dramatic piece of music showcased some difficult distance work which was well executed. Handler and dog worked beautifully as a team with good ring presence and the moves matched the musical phrasing well. 

4th - Lisa Mappin with her English Springer Spaniel Sir George of the Wood (22.55). George worked with consistent attention in this well-themed routine. We saw a good range of moves – including an accomplished distant reverse round a prop!

Intermediate HTM

Thanking for asking me to judge at this show. Firstly some general comments from my co-judge, Penny Draper and myself. At the intermediate level, we would be expecting more variety in pace, positions and direction in the floor patterns offered. Many of the dogs became distracted on this very hot day.

1st. Helen Boyd with Indijazz Showstopper, GSP, performing to Kyrie Eleison by Anita Skorgan. A lovely flowing routine with good musical interpretation, which really suited handler and dog. 20.55 

2nd. Naomi Evans with Stillmoor Cloudy Sunset, BC, performing to Just the way you are by Bruno Mars. A nice routine once the dog settled but was not so accurate, even when he got in his stride. 

3rd.20.2 Diane Jones with Ivenza’s Little Dancer, Miniature Poodle, performimg to Liberty Bell by USA Marine Band. A well constructed routine with the dog ringing the bell in time with the music. He obviously loves doing this.19.7.

4th. Helen Boyd with Lujenta Jessie Jay, Bernese Mountain Dog, performimg to Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band. Nice accurate routine with a few distractions. Good attention in between. Good musical interpretation. 19.6.

Jeanette Fyfe Head Judge
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