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The Tenth Anniversary National Heelwork To Music Competition

By Lynn Crook

The tenth anniversary on the Rugby show was as good as it was promised to be. Everyone had worked so hard at their routines and the Rugby DTC ran the show as efficiently as always. By the afternoon classes, the hall was packed with spectators, which always adds to the atmosphere. The 'Royal Box' was occupied by various members of the KC who had come to watch.

The first place for Novice Heelwork was hotly contested, so hotly that it was a draw. The judges conferred and before checking their individual scores decided that the head judge's marks would be the ones taken for the winning routine. Jackie de Jong was awarded first place and Carol Wallace was second. Jackie has worked wonders motivating her dog, Jessie and Carol’s dog hasn't been competing very long. Both routines were fun to watch. June Brittan was third with her BC dancing to 'Cheek to Cheek'. Five of the fifteen handlers did not compete.

Novice Freestyle was split in two parts and the first part was won by Richard Curtis with his young dog Disco. A great entertaining routine with a really happy dog. Second was Nicky Joyce with a lovely routine to Holiday, some really good moves in it and such a keen, accurate dog. Marleen was third with her Bernese Mountain Dog, what a joy to see a keen large dog having such fun, There were so many memorable routines, Lorraine Peace and her wsd performing to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang complete with a car, Val Berry working her wsd to the Dying Swan, Stevie Boyal and her lab working to music from Oliver and looking the part! Only one of the fifteen scheduled routines was absent.

Novice Freestyle Part two brought more excitement with Corrine stripping off her nun’s outfit and dancing with her JRT to the music 'Hail Holy Queen' Having seen it before I knew what was coming and watched the audience rather than the performance----I wish I had had a camera! She won with Val Perkins 'Ski Sunday' a close second. Val’s Kelpie skateboarded, slalomed and ski jumped from the top of a children’s slide, he loved every minute of it. Laura Reynolds and her lovely lurcher was third, the dog has an amazing action and jumps like a stag! Great mixture of breeds in this class including two standard poodles and one mini, a pom and a Grand Bassett Griffin Vandeen. All fourteen of those entered competed.

Intermediate Heelwork To Music lost two of the eight entries but was still a strong field. There doesn't seem to be any agreement yet on what should or should not constitute a heelwork routine and this did show up very much in this class. Nicky Joyce and her wsd were the clear winners with a fantastic routine to 'Moonlight Shadow'. It was so well put together and performed it made it look simple-and we all know it isn't! Corinne and her JRT came second with 'Send on the Clowns' and Marleen was third.

Freestyle managed to lose four of the eight entries. The standard is amazingly high now and Lesley Brocklehurst won with her young wsd performing to Funeral March of a Marionette, Kath Hardman was second with her young dog with a smooth rendition of 'Down by the Lazy River, Hannah Crook with Tassel was third and Linda Toplis fourth with her Rottie. Lesley and Kath’s dogs both had the audience gasping with their amazing jumps.

Advanced heelwork brought a treat in Tina Humphrey’s routine to 'I Giorni', the audience was spellbound and you could have heard a pin drop as Tina and Chandi did a true dressage routine with collected and extended trotting and cantering on both legs and well as changing legs. She won convincingly. Second was Mary Ray with a routine she first performed ten years ago at the show, with the same dog as well. Third was Sarah Cowen with her goldie. For me this was my favourite class with Karen Sykes doing every heelwork position with Fly and doing them all so well and Anne De Rizzio with Ccino looking just like the lion from The Lion King and heelworking so well round the ring.

Advanced freestyle was a rehearsal for Crufts although it was minus Richard Curtis. Claudine Darlington's dog Jamie became ill at the show and couldn't go in either and also unfortunately missed Crufts. Again Tina had the audience spellbound as she performed a humorous routine to the 'Horse of the Year' music, this time involving a jump. Second was Kath Hardman with an aging Ginnie dancing to some of 'Classical Graffiti' by The Planets. Lesley Neville and Angus were third with the 'Chatanooga Cho Cho'. All the routines were so good to watch and it was good to be there and enjoy them all.

Knowing what hard work it is to produce anything at all makes it even more impressive to see what people have achieved. Personal favourites have to be my training partners Pat Richards and Hannah Crook------who also happens to be a close relative (G)! Pat’s routine with Ross to 'You'll Never Walk Alone' makes me want to cry when I see it and Hannah’s spirited 'Hard Knock Life' is such fun. I thought Nicky Joyce’s two routines were terrific and such of content fitting perfectly with the music and I’m looking forward to seeing both routines again. Karen Sykes heelwork routine which was so entertaining, Anne's Lion King, Joan Taylor’s Norah Batty with her mini poodle, Kath and Ginnie and of course Tina’s routines.

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