Heelwork to Music (HTM)

Kennel Club Regulations applicable: L

 

Heelwork to Music competitions are for the purpose of giving handlers an opportunity to demonstrate skilful movements by their dog and to perform heelwork and freestyle movements in a combined manner that interprets the chosen music and reflects the dog and handler working as a team. Additionally, such competitions should have spectator appeal and allow reasonable audience response where appropriate, even when the dog is working.

 

The History of Heelwork to Music

 

We owe the being of heelwork to music in the United Kingdom to a group of close-knit people.  It all started in 1990 when John Gilbert asked Mary Ray to give an insight into her training and success in the guise of “An Audience with Mary Ray”.  John acted as the interviewer whilst Mary answered his questions into her training methods particularly relating to competition obedience.  During the event Mary was asked to give two heelwork demonstrations; one with her superb red and white collie “Red Hot Toddy” and the other with her elegant Tervueren, “Roxy”.  To spice things up John decided to play music whilst Mary worked her dogs.  Toddy was worked to “Eye of the Tiger” and Roxy was worked to “Take My Breathe Away”.  Even Mary admits that night she didn’t particularly work the dogs in time to the music but from there the idea of heelwork to music was born.  Mary repeated this audience with John again in 1992 and that year she was also asked to give a demonstration at Crufts.  This led to Mary being asked to give more and more demonstrations at very prestigious events including the Pedigree Chum Champion Stakes and the more demonstrations she performed the better she became at making the heelwork moves fit the music. 

 

By 1996, although Mary was still being asked to give plenty of demonstrations, heelwork to music as a sport was not developing so it was Mary’s friend, Peter Lewis, who suggested that it should become a competitive event.  This is where the first problem was met.  Peter applied to the Kennel Club for permission to hold a “special event”.  The organisers knew that they could not apply for a show licence as it was a canine sport that was unrecognised by the Kennel Club and therefore they could not obtain “special permission” either because, as stated by the Kennel Club at the time, they could not give permission for something to happen when it is not a sport within their jurisdiction.  So the first six annual events held at Coventry and hosted by Rugby Dog Training Club were classed as “demonstrations”.  This proved the turning point for the sport and the interest increased.

The first year the demonstration took place 40 handlers performed routines which mainly contained as it read on the label, heelwork moves to music however, some also took Mary’s lead and included additional moves in their routines such as leg weaving and the dog jumping over the handlers.  By the second year, which is when I first began in this sport, I clearly remember the routines had taken a turn from mainly heelwork to more and more additional moves which we today call freestyle moves.  As the years progressed it became apparent that the sport was splitting between those of us that performed “heelwork to music” and moves taken from our obedience training and those whose routines mainly contained freestyle moves.  The Coventry show organisers also recognised this and around the turn of the Millennium spilt the routines into two divisions; heelwork to music and freestyle.  This made for a better competition even though the sport was still not recognised by the Kennel Club and was still regarded as a “demonstration” event.

 

In 2002 the Kennel Club formally recognised Heelwork to Music as a competitive sport; in 2005 the advanced handlers who had entered the Coventry competition were asked to also compete at Crufts and in 2006 the top five heelwork to music dogs and the top ten freestyle dogs were invited to compete at the first ever Crufts Heelwork to Music competitions the United Kingdom had ever seen. 2007 saw the top 10 Advanced Heelwork to Music and the top 10 Advanced Freestyle handlers battling it out at Crufts in the Main Arena.

(The above text is an extract from “The Starters Guide to Dog Dancing with Gina Pink” published by Dog Sports UK.)

 

 

HTM, Freestyle and International Freestyle Crufts Winners
2005 - 2020

 

2005

Judges:    Peter Lewis, Lesley Brocklehurst and Attila Szukalec

Freestyle:                Tina Humphrey with Bluecrofft My Blue Heaven

 

2006

Judges:    Kath Hardman, Lynda Edmondson and Kay Laurence

HTM:                       Lesley Brocklehurst with Borderlair Cinnamon Twist

Freestyle:                Richard Curtis Rysalka Moon Disco

 

2007

Judges:    Richard Curtis, Annie Clayton and Karen Sykes

Int. Freestyle:         England | Lesley Neville with Choxxstart Dream Angus

Freestyle:                Lesley Neville with Choxxstart Dream Angus

HTM:                       Gina Pink with Our Magic Combination

 

2008 

Judges:    Lesley Neville, Kay Laurence and Jackie Clarke

Int. Freestyle:         England | Kath Hardman with September Spice

Freestyle:                Kath Hardman with September Spice

HTM:                       Karen Sykes with Iatka Spring Spangle

 

2009 

Judges:    Carol Wallace, Carole Dodson (Head Judge) and Paula Ackary

Int Freestyle           England | Tina Humphrey with Bluecroft My Blue Heaven

Freestyle:                Tina Humphrey with Bluecroft My Blue Heaven

HTM:                       Tina Humphrey with Bluecroft My Blue Heaven

 

2010

Judges:    Gina Pink (Head Judge), Ann DeRizzio and Heather Smith

Int. Freestyle:         Czech Republic | Alena SmolÍková with Dapper Dame Black Chevers

Freestyle:                Richard Curtis with Dance Floor Diva

HTM:                       Carole Dodson with Kinaway Doctor Watson

 

2011

Judges:    Alison Davidson, Lesley Brocklehurst (Head Judge) and Lynda Edmondson

Int. Freestyle:         England | Richard Curtis with Dance Floor Diva

Freestyle:                Richard Curtis with Dance Floor Diva

HTM:                       Carole Dodson with Kinaway Doctor Watson

 

2012  

Judges:    Michelle Dodson, Richard Curtis (Head Judge) and Kath Hardman

Int. Freestyle:         France | Thierry Thomas with Ubac Du Mas De La Rabeyrine

Freestyle:                Sue Betteridge & Glenalpine Katie

HTM:                       Heather Smith & Moonlight Magic Dancer

 

2013  

Judges:    Carol Mortimer, Annette Lowe (Head Judge) and Brigitte van Gestel (The Netherlands)

Int. Freestyle:         Belgium | Jules O'Dwyer with Fjurdyhoeve Flynn

Freestyle:                Sue Betteridge & Glenalpine Katie

HTM:                       Heather Smith & Moonlight Magic Dancer

 

2014 

Judges:    Helen Taylor (Head Judge), Penny Draper, Virginia Richardson

Int. Freestyle:          England | Richard Curtis with Syka Delic Darnser

Freestyle:                Richard Curtis with Syka Delic Darnser

HTM:                       Heather Smith with Moonlight Magic Dancer

 

2015  

Judges:    Gina Pink (Head Judge) Ann DeRizzio, Claudia Moser (Switzerland)

Int. Freestyle:         The Slovak Republic | Monika Olsovska with Arsinoe Z Rise Wa

Freestyle:                Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

HTM :                      Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

 

2016  

Judges:    Carole Dodson (Head Judge), Jeanette Fyfe and Mary Muxworthy

Int. Freestyle:         England | Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

Freestyle:                Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

HTM:                       Caroline Garrett with Wildsea Phoenix of Fire

 

2017

Judges:    Heather Smith (Head Judge), Carol Wallace and Karolina Hasselroth  (Finland)

Int. Freestyle:         Japan | Lucie Plevova with Power Jump Aibara

Freestyle:                Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

HTM:                       Caroline Garrett with Wildsea Phoenix of Fire

 

2018

Judges:    Jenny Deakin (Head Judge), Michelle Hubbard and Jules O'Dwyer (Belgium)

Int. Freestyle:         Japan | Lucie Plevova with Power Jump Aibara

Freestyle:                Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

HTM:                       Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

 

2019

Judges:    Pat Parsons, Richard Curtis (Head Judge) and Vanda Gregorová (CZ)

Int. Freestyle          United Kingdom | Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

Freestyle:                Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

HTM:                       Lucy Creek with Harriot Skiffle King

 

2020  

Judges:    Kath Hardman (Head Judge), Pamela Ruscoe and Dawn Hill (Belgium)

Int. Freestyle:         Belgium | Elke Boxoen with Just Jump Jessy

Freestyle:                Nicci Hindson with Comebyanaway Wildest Dream

HTM:                       Caroline Garrett with Wildsea Phoenix of Fire

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