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Crufts 2022 

             

 

Below are two personal reports from Judges Kath Hardman and Kim Lyddon on judging Crufts this year, we thank them for their impute and special thanks to Richard Moss for his wonderful photography that captured the event perfectly.

 

Crufts Judges report by Kim Lyddon

Photographs courtesy of Richard Moss Furtography©

 

 

I was given the wonderful honour and privilege to judge Heelwork to Music for the first time at Crufts 2022.   More poignant after the disappointment of Crufts being cancelled the previous year due to Covid. Once again, we saw three great Heelwork to Music competitions taking place in the Crufts main arena as well as the Young Kennel Club finals which took place in their own arena situated in Hall 3.

 It was a great opportunity to experience our wonderful sport from behind the scenes and from the judge’s chair.   It was lovely to watch each routine close up and see the detail, effort and passion each of the competitors had put in to their performances.  

 The routines varied in terms of style, creativity and variety of moves each performed by dogs of various breeds both big and small.  I was excited to see how handlers choreographed their routines to include moves that showcased their dog’s skills and at the same time support their music choice by using the moves to illustrate their story or theme.  Here are some examples:

 

Crufts Heelwork to Music Finals

 This competition for me was a close contest between the top three teams. 

 

Nicci Hindson with Comebyanaway Wildest Dream 

 Nicci and her dog Elsa performed to ‘Fame’.  This was full of energy from both the handler and the dog.  They used the space available really well giving us the opportunity to see the dog holding position for extended periods, which gives an insight into how well the dog understands each position.  The musical interpretation was clear with the choice of heelwork positions moving in various directions to highlight changes in the music and to match the theme of their routine. Nicci remained in character throughout which added to the overall performance.  

    

 

 

  

Irene Walsh and Oltomaine Jack

 Irene chose  ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘God of Hellfire’ music for their routine.  The music in itself gave a clear insight to the theme however her costume made sure there was no mistake in us recognising what her theme was to be.  Her use of the positions and speed to highlight the music worked really well.  I also loved the way she used her transitions from one position to another to add an additional dramatic effect enhancing the overall performance

 


    

 

 

Anne Shuker with Freckle Frenzy

They performed to ‘Just a Gigalo’.  This was a great example of the quality of heelwork positions you can achieve with a smaller dog.  Freckle holds her positions beautifully as she moves across the floor.  She is a keen little dog and wonderful to watch.  Anne moves into each position smoothly and they maintain position for nice stretches of heelwork which was lovely to see.

 

 


  

Crufts UK Freestyle Final

 Another closely contested competition at the top.

 

Nicci Hindson with Comebyanaway Wildest Dream

 Performing to a ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life’, this was a fast paced routine matching the music chosen.   Nicci did well to control Elsa’s enthusiasm and speed to complete a wide variety of moves in a way to tell her story.  Elsa’s speed as she crept at distance to one of the props was impressive.  The props used reflected the story well and for those who know the story of Annie were very recognisable.   Nicci went on to compete in the Crufts International competition with this routine and it was great to see them perform even better than in the UK competition.

 

 

   

 

 

Anne Shuker with Freckle Frenzy

 This team performed to ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.  I loved the way Anne used moves to really tell the story and show off Freckles skills.  Freckle is such a character and the way the routine was cleverly choreographed really enabled that to come through. The way Freckle hid in the box and appears just put a smile on your face.  Then spinning with the hat on her face was lovely.   Anne remained in character throughout which also added to the overall performance.

 

 

 

Lucy Heath with Trip Hazzard 

 What another great team to watch.  Lucy chose ‘This is Halloween’ for her routine and it worked really well with her props.  Lucy’s choice and variety of moves were cleverly developed to show off little Trip and his skills such as having him running up her body, rebounding off the headstone and then there was the memorable final move as he put his head through a hole in the gravestone.

 

 

Crufts International Freestyle Final

 What an exciting and varied competition this was.  It was just wonderful to watch.

They were all super routines however here I would just like to highlight a couple each for different reasons.

 

Marianne Elise Methi from Norway with Very Vega

 Firstly, I would like to congratulate Marianne and Vega the winners of the Crufts International Freestyle 2022.  The team were the first to compete and what a wonderful way to start what was an exciting International Freestyle competition.  They set the benchmark for this highly competitive competition with their fun and engaging Aladdin routine.  You couldn’t mistake Marianne who was all in blue.  The story telling was really well executed with their choice of moves along with Marianne’s playing her character well added to their overall performance.  She had a wonderful connection with her dog which was lovely to watch.  They utilised the space really well with some wonderful distance moves such as sending her dog out round at great speed as well as at distance ahead of her.  Lovely to watch. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Creusot from France with D’Hendi od Dupiku

This was a stunning routine to watch particularly close up as I could see the quality and importantly the technical difficulty of some of the moves and sequences she included into her choreography.  These worked really well to tell her ballet dancer story.   The way she integrated her cues seamlessly into the choreography gave the sense of each move flowing effortlessly from one to another.   To get these moves and sequences to a point where they look easy and flowed so well showed real skill.  One particular example of this was the side pass the dog did at a distance with Alexandra facing away.  The dog maintained its position, speed and duration throughout this move.  Alexandra didn’t appear to even be tempted to look behind to check if her dog was doing the move which showed a real confidence and partnership with her dog.  

 

 

 

Jennifer Fraser from Canada with Stargates Shaken Sweet Tonic

 This team performed to Dolly Partons ‘Crackerjack’.  This was a great routine to watch.  Full of energy and I loved how creatively each move was used to very tell their story.   This routine was well thought out with every move representing part of the story.   We saw a variety of props used to illustrate individual elements within the song.  The handler took on the character of her story really well.  This along with the energy she brought to it made it a wonderful and exciting performance. 

 

 

 

 

New This Year

 This year was a special year not only because of Crufts coming back after covid but also because it was the first-year judges were asked to give interviews during the competition.

 Although initially a bit daunting it was actually a great opportunity to let the audience, particularly those not actively in the sport understand a bit more about what the judges are looking for.   It also meant more television time for our Heelwork to Music raising its profile.  Hopefully this will also have inspired and encouraged more people to have a go and experience the fun of participating in Heelwork to Music.

 

 

 

 

Crufts - Judges report by Kath Hardman

Photographs courtesy of Richard Moss Furtography©

 

                                                                           Judges Kath Hardman, Vee  Richardson & Kim Lyddon

 

Crufts Heelwork To Music 2022   Kath Hardman 

Thank goodness Crufts 2022 could take place as scheduled this year.  After the worry of the Covid Pandemic which started affecting us in during Crufts in March 2020, we now began to realise that the World was coming out of a very dark time.

This year I was to be working with Ann DeRizzio’s Team on the HTM displays within the Canine Activities area in Hall 3.  The team had met several times in Wigan and via Zoom to get together and rehearse and develop every members’ own routines with Ann making sure all could be involved in the Group Performances showing a good range of abilities in the Activities ring twice a day.  However, this was not meant for me this year.

Due to the ever changing rules for travelling between countries and the never ending cases of Covid within the UK, a reserve judge had been requested in December 2021 to be on standby in case any of the three HTM Judges had to withdraw at short notice. 

The judges had been named for 2022 as follows:
Virginia Garner-Richardson  (Head Judge)
Kim Lyddon
And Johanna Allanach from Denmark.  
Sadly on the Wednesday prior to the competition starting on Thursday 10th March, Johanna was unable to travel, therefore, as the named reserve judge, I was called upon.

Was there much extra preparation for me to do?  Actually no!   I had printed my judges scoring paperwork that morning (just in case) and I had already prepared one outfit to carry with me each day I was attending.  I had two more outfits to find but having judged at Crufts in 2006, 2012 and 2020 – I scanned my wardrobe and luckily Covid had been kind to me on the weight and two jackets I wore in 2012 were brought out back into use!

There had been no qualifying competitions for Crufts 2021 or 2022 due to the Pandemic and a decision was made by the Crufts Committee that ten Semi Finalists from the 2020 Qualifiers would be invited to compete this year in both Heelwork To Music and Freestyle.  Invitations were sent out in the order handler and dog teams had been placed at the semis held in Ryton, January 2020.   If any handler and/or dog were unable to compete at Crufts, then the next competitor in line would be invited.   For quite a number of handlers, this would be their very first appearance to compete in the Main Arena at Crufts.

This was my fourth judging appointment at Crufts for the three days Heelwork to Music Competitions (Thursday Freestyle, Friday Heelwork To Music and Saturday The International Freestyle plus the Young Kennel Club Competitions to be held Thursday in the YKC Ring Hall 3.  It is such a privilege and honour to be announced, seated and looked after actually inside the Main Arena Ring.   A fabulous view of all the competitors with no distractions helps to keep the judges all focussed on the task in hand.

I set off to the NEC that morning, meeting backstage with my fellow judges who were Dr Virginia Garner-Richardson (Head Judge) and Kim Lyddon.  
Competitors had started to be informed of their invitation to compete at the end of 2021, but, unfortunately as the months passed other handlers found the need to withdraw and a couple of handlers had actually only been invited to take part on Monday 7th March when one of the competitor’s dog came in season.

When writing about the routines there is an added complication after judging and that is due to the placings being decided on the average scores of all the three judges, therefore, the order the competitors finished is not necessarily the order of each individual judge.  

 

THURSDAY Freestyle Competition

 

 

The Ring Party was busy dealing with the competitors in readiness for the competition and we judges sat away from the preparations but ready to be announced by the commentator.  

Once again, Richard Curtis would be in a studio ready to give his fabulous live commentary on all routines in this event which is very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to on the YouTube Live Stream.

There were ten competitors in the Freestyle Competition.

Ann DeRizzio had the unenviable task of being drawn first in the running order after only finding out on the Monday that she would be competing that Thursday! 
She entered the ring with her partner Border Collie Phoenix looking fully confident, smiling and waving as she was introduced.
Ann and Stillmoor Red Sky At Night performed to “Be A Clown and Smile by Judy Garland” which was a great choice of music to raise everyone’s spirits after the past two years events.   Ann was dressed very smartly as a clown with baggy trousers with bold red stripes, an array of hats, a “clown” T Shirt and most importantly Ann wore a smile on her face throughout, looking very relaxed and happy to be there with her partner Phoenix.   Great teamwork.    Several props were placed in the Arena which were all used when needed to help illustrate the music.
This was a lovely routine and the team covered the ring with ease, the routine giving everyone watching a smile. 

Second into the ring was Emma Pirrie with her Working Sheepdog, Yolanda The Panda working to “Like The Living Dead”.  Emma set the scene with two Head Stones which were constantly used in different ways in this routine.
This music was a superb track chosen by Emma as it included some very clear phrasing.
Emma dressed in super long black and red striped trousers and hat complete with hatband depicting skulls and bones and a bright red feather and with a further prop of a stick used in many ways. 
Well done Emma and Yola.

Next to take to this super stage was Jenny Witt with her Crossbreed Lavendar Lillipip, a tiny dog with a large presence.  They worked to a Pokémon Medley.
The props were well used in this routine and there were excellent freestyle moves especially included for a small dog like Sophie.
Jenny and Sophie both looked like they enjoyed their time in the main Ring.

Following on from Jenny was Lucy Heath with her small crossbreed Trip Hazard.
They performed to “This is Halloween” with Lucy wearing the clothes for a Zombie and with special contact lenses which certainly added to the effect of the costume.
Lucy skilfully included a fabulous variety of “small dog” moves into their routine. 
Loved the bit where Trip poked his head out of the prop – very clever and definitely gave the “ah” factor!
A clever routine with very catchy music finally taking 3rd Place - congratulations.

There were several competitors new to the Main Arena, and amongst those was Susan Wolf with her English Springer Spaniel, Ghillie.
Susan incorporated quite a few props into their routine including a box, scroll and a sword and all were used to good value.  Susan was dressed as a pirate as they performed to “Pirates of the Caribbean”.   Ghillie did take a short trip off course to visit me at the Judge’s table but soon returned to Susan and seemed to step up a gear as the routine improved speed from then on.  Maybe both were feeling a little more relaxed.

Our next competitor set out just one prop of a tree stump for their routine performed to “Colours of the Wind”.  Kristine Hodgson and her Border Collie Astra Sieva worked well with some very emotional poses included in the choreography.
The routine showed good teamwork and storytelling between Kristine and Ziva.
Well done.

Carole Dodson and her Border Collie Kinaway Doctor Porter were next into the ring which had been set up as a workshop belonging to Giuseppe Pinocchio.
When Carol started the routine with Brooklyn lying down inside a box, it became quite apparent that Brooklyn was portraying the building of the puppet - Pinocchio.
Carole needed to refer to her heavy book of instruction to build Pinocchio as the first building attempt wasn’t successful.
A very clever idea for the routine.

Eighth into the arena came Jill Davis and her Border Collie, Demelza of Glidersway.
Dressed in camouflaged desert trousers, Jill and Demelza performed to the music “Medal of Honor”.
There were a few props setting the scene, including a grenade and a disposal bucket for the grenade which Demelza found and placed it carefully in and a podium.  Plus Demelza found the flag to wave the “all Clear” which Jill had thoughtfully used the Ukraine Flag showing support for their cause.
This routine was super with a good balance of moves depicting the story.

The penultimate competitor was Nicci Hindson and her Border Collie, Comebyanaway Wildest Dream.
Nicci and Elsa worked to the music “Hard Knock Life” and featured several props including a bad, two buckets, a floor cloth!
Dressed as an orphan from the Musical “Annie” Nicci and Elsa attacked the routine from the very first note, tumbling from the bed and Elsa jumping over the rolling Nicci.  This routine was packed with moves, some of which happened so fast it was hard to spot them all.
This team scored well from each judge awarding them first place, which then took them into the International Freestyle Final to be held on the Saturday.
Congratulations to you both!

The final competitors in the class were Anne Shuker with her delightful rescued Crossbreed Freckle Frenzy.  Freckles tail never stopped wagging throughout the routine which was performed to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Anne wore a magnificent Midnight Blue Sorcerer’s outfit and Freckle took the part of the Apprentice, newly delivered in a box.
The routine told a great story of Anne trying magic with the apprentice – only for the tables to turn and Freckle becoming her master!  Freckle was then dispatched to the returns department.
Well done Anne and Freckle and finishing in second place.

 

RESULTS
1st Nicci Hindson with Comebyanaway Wildest Dream (Elsa)  26.00
2nd  Anne Shuker with Freckle Frenzie  (Freckle)   25.20
3rd Lucy Heath with Trip Hazard (Trip)   24.20


Fabulous day for judging and a great contrast of Freestyle routines.

 

 

 

Friday – Heelwork To Music Competition


Day two of judging at Crufts – what would the competitors be bringing us today?
I met my fellow judges, Virginia Garner-Richardson and Kim Lyddon again backstage of the Main Arena – competitors were dressing, preparing themselves and their dogs, gathering themselves together in order to show the results their very hard work, not only to those in the audience, but, to those all over the world as this event was live streamed via YouTube.

Because there was no Semi Final held – the routines would all be brand new to us which gives a great feeling of anticipation of the event.

Naomi Evans with her Border Collie Stillmoor Cloudy Sunset was the first team of the day too walk out onto the green carpet.
For their first competition at Crufts, Naomi and Rogue worked to a beautiful piece of music “You Will Be Found”    This routine started very slowly but Rogue held the positions well and Rogue was so happy through this routine, fully focussed on Naomi and tail wagging showing great willingness.  
This was a very well executed routine with lots of positions used.    Rogue was keen to please throughout with Naomi using some super links on the changes of positions with some huge jumps and landing in a very controlled manner.

Second into the ring was Helen Boyd with her German Short Haired Pointer, Indijazz Showstopper
This was to be both Cedar’s first and last performance at the Crufts HTM Competition.   Lovely to see this beautiful breed in the Heelwork To Music Competition working to “One Last Dance” to mark Cedar’s retirement.
Helen entered the arena in a Black Coat which was soon removed to reveal a beautiful red dress which added to the feeling of this music and routine.
The routine was well interpreted with Cedar looking very serious taking the part of Helen’s dance partner, but he couldn’t conceal his tail wagging.
A very emotional routine and a fitting loving hug between Cedar and Helen as a final pose.

Next to take part in the competition was Linda Webster with her Working Sheepdog Rob & Sykes Lottie.  Linda and Lottie worked to a lovely medley of music from “The Sound of Music”
Again this was this team’s first appearance in this Main Ring at Crufts and Linda you must be so proud of what you have achieved.
Linda made use of the entire main Arena with a very well planned routine and this super medley of music which really suited both her and Lottie with some good use of the changes of speed in the music maintaining good posture throughout.   A lovely interesting routine.   

The next team to compete was Irene Walsh and her Border Collie Oltomaine Jack.
Irene had chosen two pieces of music for this routine “Highway to Hell” and “God of Hellfire” and what an entrance to the Main Arena they made!  Irene dressed from the top of her head to the floor in black which actually totally covered her face with Jack calmly walking beside her.
This was a great routine and by using the two pieces of music, the mood could be changed from one to the other.
When Irene removed her head covering and cape – this revealed her make-up which had been expertly applied so she became the Devil with horns and a dark wig, plus top depicting muscles. 
For the start of the routine Jack couldn’t see her face and for the second part – it certainly didn’t look like his handler!
Well done Jack!   -  and Irene!   placed 2nd

Following Irene was  Nicci Hindson and her Border Collie Comebyanaway Wildest Dream.
Nicci had chosen the music “Fame” for this routine which definitely suited this action packed pair.
Elsa certainly doesn’t hang around waiting for cues from Nicci – she burst into action in this routine from the start when they walked backwards together.
Nicci wore shorts, leg warmers and a Gym Top whilst she and Elsa “worked out” together.
This pair had lots of fun with their nonstop energy from the beginning to the very last note.
Congratulations to Nicci and Elsa on winning the competition.

Sandra Hallam with her Bernese Mountain Dog Arvella Sparkles at Oldberne was the next team to take centre stage. 
Sandra and Fiz both entered the ring with smiles on their faces – which stayed there until the last note of the music.  Sandra was beautifully costumed as a Pearly Queen as they worked to “The Cockney Medley” and with a barrel centre piece which was an effectively used prop in different ways.   The barrel was carefully used in some of the transitions between positions.
Carefully choreographed, Fiz and Sandra covered the ring in interesting patterns and always keeping to the rhythm and phrasing of this very catchy music.

Following on from Sandra was Anne Shuker with her Crossbreed Freckle Frenzie.  Anne looking super sharp in a red suit and matching trilby – Anne and Freckle performed to “Just a Gigalo”.
Freckle may only be small but her presence in the ring is huge, with her focus never leaving Anne’s face and her tail wagging through the sheer enjoyment of performing!
Great musical interpretation to this very catchy piece of music making it very interesting to watch and keeping to the strong beat throughout.
A delightful performance gaining them 3rd place today.

The penultimate competitor was Christina Oxtoby with her Border Collie Legacy’s Heaven Sent Shai.
Christina and Shai performed to a very strong piece of music, “Rhapsody in Blue” whilst they depicted tourists arriving in New York, finding places to visit on their map.   Their entrance to New York was made through their prop which was a gateway from the Subway.
Christina fought to work out directions to go using the tourist’s paper map she held throughout the routine and Shai was extremely happy during the entire performance, a captivating routine where the audience would wonder where the map would lead to.  The Answer was the Statue of Liberty.
Well done to you both.

The final competitors were Helen Boyd and her Border Collie Stillmoor Silk N Satin
Beautiful figure hugging outfit for Helen with feathers along her arms and shoulders – as they performed to “Icarus”.  Helen and Raven were the last pairing to take to the ring but they both took to the stage looking relaxed and happy to be there.   This routine flowed really well with minimal transitions to change heelwork positions.
Good teamwork and the use of non-invasive cues as they covered the main area with ease with some super long stretches of heelwork
This was to be Helen’s second dog to retire after today making this their first and last performance at Crufts.
Happy retirement Raven.

The Results

1st Nicci Hindson with Comebyanawy Wildest Dream   25.00
2nd  Irene Walsh with Oltomaine Jack   24.77
3rd  Anne Shuker with Freckle Frenzie   24.63

 

 

 

Saturday  Crufts International Freestyle Competition

There is always a huge crowd in the Main Arena for this very special competition and this year was no exception.   The audience were asked to make sure no empty seats on their rows and to move along to let the waiting crowds in.   This was a very strange to hear after 2 years of keeping 2m away from anyone!   But the crowd moved along to let those waiting find a seat.  

Drawn first was Atila Rodrigues De Oliveira with his dog Panda from Brazil, but sadly they withdrew soon after the running orders were drawn

The first competitor to enter the arena was Marianne Elise Methi and her dog Very Vega, a Border Collie representing Norway.   Marianne was covered in Blue Make-up and costumed as Aladdin, with a very small Genie’s Lamp delightfully lit in the centre of the ring.
This team told the story of Aladdin with Vega instantly reacting to all the cues subtly given by Marianne.
Vega covered the ground at speed when needed and carefully planted his feet when slower moves were required and the routine contained a lot of well controlled distance moves especially those facing away from Marianne.  The end pose was eye catching too as on that last beat both Vega and Marianne turned their heads away from looking at each other to look straight at the Head Judge.
This was a very clever routine which gained them First Place.

The second team to enter the ring was representing France, this was Alexandra Creusot with her Border Collie D’Hendi od Dupiku.   In contrast to the first routine, this was a love story with some beautiful static poses held by Hendi and some superb slow movements – a routine packed with moves.
Alexandra wore a lovely costume which flowed as they travelled around the ring – together and then apart telling a beautiful story between them.
Well done Alexandra and Hendi

The Handler from Denmark was next into the ring.  This was Louise Vig with her Australian Shepherd dog Khetashio Increasing Value.   Dressed as a pirate with a hook as a hand, Louise made her way through the story and her dog, Chérie killed the prop crocodile that they had been looking for as it had taken the pirate’s hand!    All to the appropriate music “Revenge is Going to Be Mine”.
The routine contained quite a lot of slow work and creative poses including the dog’s hind paws on the handler’s feet.  It is always good to see something imaginative.
Well done Louise and Chérie.

We all welcomed Karin Baumann from Switzerland into the ring next with her Chihuahua, Joya Baumann.  The scene was set with three swans – two white and one black – and with Karin wearing a ballet dress.
Very graceful and obviously a well-schooled ballet dancer, Karin performed with her small “dance partner” to Swan Lake.  Moving in between and onto the swans and performing delightful small dog moves, they won the hearts of the audience.
Well done to you both.

Nicci Hindson and her Border Collie Comebyanaway Wildest Dream won the UK Freestyle on Thursday, giving them their place to represent UK today.
This would be their 5th performance in three days and Nicci and Elsa didn’t lose any of the speed first seen on Thursday.   No one could blink in case they missed anything!
Working to “It’s A Hard Knock Life” this team tumbled out of bed almost on a Roller Coaster of moves. Nicci worked as hard as Elsa to keep up with each other, with a bed and 2 buckets as the main props.  The audience loved it when Elsa looked as though she had her head stuck in the bottom of the smaller bucket.
Well done Nicci and Elsa.

Over half way through this class now and it was the turn of Cora Czermak with her Papillon Angel Steps who were the representatives of Germany.
Their chosen music was “Puff The Magic Dragon” which really suited the movements of both Cora and Steps.
Again another small dog but full of presence in this huge ring and some great “small dog” moves to make this a very entertaining routine.
Very nicely handled by Cora – a lovely routine.

The next competitor to enter the ring was the representative of Hungary.    Adrienn Bardos and her Beagle, Mia The Dancing Queen.  Adrienn had chosen the music “A Whole New World”.   Props included a small pink “tent” palace and a large inflated snake.
This was a simple routine which filled the ring quite well.  The props set the scene as Adrienne and Mia worked their way around the arena – Mia worked with enthusiasm throughout – her focus was constantly on Adrienne, such an achievement for her to have trained this breed of dog!

The representative from Belgium, Lutgarde De Block  with her Border Collie Fire N Ice vom alten Morgenstern were the next team to work in this great competition.
They had chosen the music “You Raise Me Up” to perform this very emotional routine.
Niesje started at a distance from the handler and carried out a number of moves with accuracy before joining up with Lutgarde who was in mourning for her father.  The music “You Lift Me Up” was very apt in lifting her spirits and beginning to start life again.
Well done to you both.

The penultimate routine of the day – we welcomed Jennifer Fraser who had travelled from Canada with her Australian Shepherd dog, Stargates Shaken Sweet Tonic and they performed to Dolly Parton’s Cracker Jack.  Daiquiri looked as pleased as Jennifer to be in this superb arena to perform their routine.
There was some stage setting with a bed, dog bowl and a tree which took us through the lyrics of this song.   This was a very neat and tidy routine with some obviously cued barking which was allowed as it started on command and stopped as soon as the command was withdrawn.   Wearing denim dungarees, Jennifer was very agile and expressive and Daiquiri was equally exuberant.
This routine scored the same mark as the eventual winner, however, when there is a tie in scores in Freestyle, the highest Musical Interpretation mark is taken.  This gave Jennifer and Daiquiri second place.

The final routine of the day was presented to us by Marta Andersson  and her Kelpie  Cefeus Zharles-Ingvar II  who were representing Sweden.
This routine was performed to “A Snake Charmer’s Medley” where Ingvar played the part of the snake being charmed out of the basket.
Some great core strength shown by this dog moving from a down to sit to a beg and then hind legs with this action then being reversed.
Ingvar performed some super jumps which looked so effortless but they were well timed to the music.  Marta gave very subtle cues to Ingvar who very rarely faced the handler.
A lovely routine with a handler who moved calmly and smiling throughout.

Thank you to all the countries who took part in this very special competition.   Covid has taken its toll on a lot of people and dogs and Crufts 2020 was possibly the last dog activity time for a lot of people, until this Crufts 2022 which actually felt that life can start returning to some normality.

 

 

RESULTS


1st Marianne Elise Methi with Very Vega
2nd Jennifer Fraser with Stargates Shaken Sweet Tonic
3rd Nicci Hindson and her Border Collie Comebyanaway Wildest Dream

 

Crufts 2022   The Young Kennel Club    Heelwork To Music

I am hoping that the low entry to the YKC Heelwork To Music classes was due to the restrictions placed during Covid times and I am really interested to see more interest in this great Young Kennel Club Event in 2023. 

Heelwork To Music
Just 3 levels represented and all were in the age bracket 18 to 24 years old.  Let us try and gather enthusiasm for this sport and start attracting the youth of today in readiness for Crufts 2023.

Three competitors in Starters HTM – Tara Fisher, Paige Jepson and Ella Garwood.  All three competitors are experienced in competing at this huge event and tried hard to show their capabilities with a super crowd of onlookers at a prime time for exhibiting the sport.

Just one competitor in Novice HTM and with two dogs meaning Jenny Witt with Sakurastar Sunset and Marvellous Eternal Flame competed against herself.

And finally Emma Pirrie was the lone competitor in Intermediate HTM.  As long as Yola didn’t commit any eliminating rules – the First place was hers and of course Yolanda The Panda is a well-trained dog who won the class with no problems.

Freestyle
Three levels represented in this Freestyle Competition – Starters, Novice and Advanced – no Intermediate competitors.   Again hopefully by Crufts 2023, some of these handlers will have progressed into a higher level and again I would hope that a lower age group could be represented.
All entries in Freestyle were again in the 18 – 24 age group.

Five entries in this Starters FS level had been accepted, but, unfortunately one did not compete.   Another dog soon left the ring leading to elimination, which left just three handlers to compete.  Emily Shewell, Tara Fisher and Jess Powling who all managed to put together some interesting routines with their dogs.

Two entries in the Novice FS class, Ella Garwood was the only handler but with 2 different dogs.   Another case of competing against herself!   One routine quite well polished (but I had judged this routine in 2020 so plenty of time to make it perfect) and the other had quite a few loose ends which need tidying up for the 2022 season.

The judging finished with the Advanced FS Class, with two very capable handlers entered with three entries as Jenny Witt once again competed with two dogs.   Emma Pirrie and Jenny Witt had both performed in the Main Arena today with their routines, I felt these routines flowed a lot better in the YKC ring – maybe nerves had settled

The competitions ran very well, the Chairman of the Kennel Club was present throughout to present each placed handler with a goody bag from the Sponsors.   He did say he enjoyed it so much, that one routine in particular should have been performed in the Main Ring.  It is good that he has shown an interest in this sport and now it is our responsibility to encourage more young people to enter more competitions with the goal of reaching Crufts 2023.

My question is now, how do we attract young people to the sport – all the above YKC Classes were the age group 18 to 24 yrs, when these handlers move onwards – will there be any young people to follow?

Over view
Well done to all the competitors over three very busy days.   It was hard for these competitors and dogs to start competing at the most prestigious event of the year after – for some – two years of trying to keep safe from the different variants of Covid.
I thought the choice of music for each team was great and it was good to see how the music was individually interpreted.   I would like to see more innovation in moves – maybe linking moves together in a way never seen before; it would be good to see handlers using their imagination in developing new and safe dogs’ moves to reflect the music/phrasing/punctuations.    I would also like to have seen handlers not touching or actually holding on to their dogs to complete moves.  And furthermore, I did note how many times I had placed a question mark on my live score sheet where a move or pose had been carried out but I had to ask “why” as it really didn’t fit with the music, lyrics or theme but had probably been included because the dog could do the behaviour.

All in all, the competition was superb – the arena seating soon filled for fans of HTM/FS to take their places to watch these superb performances.

Sorry I eventually had to drop from Ann’s Canine Activities Team – the preparation for the event really helped people get back into the open world and start having the fun HTM/FS Brings to our lives.  This is a huge part of Crufts which includes a demonstration within the Main Arena – handlers of all levels should try and apply for the team in the forthcoming years – all levels are welcomed, but make sure if you apply that your dog can withstand the long and busy days, has the ability to perform with you and be calm in close proximity of others.


Sorry Johanna Allanach couldn’t travel to Crufts and yes she is well. But thank you to Crufts for allowing me to judge this fabulous event.

 

Thank you Kath for this full report it is greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 News:One of the Crufts judges Johanna Allanach sadly had to withdraw from the appointment she was replaced by reserve judge Kath Hardman.

 

 

 

 

 

Crufts Judges for 2022  are: Vee Richardson, Kim Lyddon and Johanna Allanach

 

 

Sadly Crufts 2021 was cancelled as were most HTM premier shows. Therefore for Crufts 2022 the Kennel Club decided that the the ten highest placing competitors from the Crufts Semi finals in 2020  ( who are available) will compete in the 2022 competition.

 

They are:

 

Heelwork to Music in running order

 

1. Helen Dennis - Comebyanaway Pure Love - Border Collie - sadly had to withdraw replaced by reserve Naomi Evans

2. Helen Boyd  - Indijazz showstopper - German Short Haired Pointer

3. Linda Webster - Rob & Skyes Lottie - Working Sheepdog 

4.Irene Walsh - Oltomaine Jack - Border Collie

5. Nicci Hindson - Comebyanaway Wildest Dream - Border Collie

6. Sandra Hallam - Arvella sparkles at Oldberne - Bernese Mountain dog

7. Ann Shuker - Freckle Frenzy - crossbreed

8. Christina Oxtoby - Legacy's Heaven Sent Shai - Border Collie

9. Carole Dodson - Borderdance Dream Legend from Kinaway - Border Collie

10. Helen Boyd - Stillmoor Silk N Satin - Border Collie

 

Reserve -  Naomi Evan - Stillmoor Cloudy Sunset - Border Collie

 

 

Freestyle in running order

 

1. Helen Dennis - Comebyanaway Pule Love - Border Collie - Sadly had to withdraw replaced by reserve Ann Derizzio

2. Emma Pirrie - Yolanda the Panda - Working Sheepdog

3. Jenny Witt - Lavender Lillipip - Crossbreed

4. Lucy Heath - Trip Hazard - Crossbreed

5. Susan Wolf - Exmoor Dark Sky - English Springer Spaniel

6. Kristine Hodgson - Astra Sieva - Border Collie

7. Carole Dodson - Kinaway doctor Porter - Border collie

8. Jill Davis - Demelza at Gildersway - Border Collie

9. Nicci Hindson - Comebyanaway Wildest Dream - Border Collie

10. Anne Shuker - Freckle Frenzy - Crossbreed 

 

Reserve Ann DeRizzio - Stillmoor Red Sky at Night - Border Collie

 

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