Heelwork to Music (HTM) is a relatively recent competitive activity in which participants devise routines of up to four minutes, set to music, and perform the routines with their dog. HTM is divided into two categories - Heelwork to Music and Freestyle - and most shows stage official classes in both categories.
Heelwork to Music derived originally from the set exercises forming the heelwork component of competitive Obedience, with a musical backing, but it quickly grew into a much more demanding and creative discipline. The introduction of Freestyle - routines interpreting the music in which predefined heelwork movements form only a third or less of the total - added still further to the growing appeal of the sport.
Heelwork to Music has a wide range of facts, from a creative 'play' environment where pet owners develop a bond with their dogs, to opportunities for more competitive training and competition, to an enthralling and moving spectator event. At its best an HTM routine can be quite breath-taking - as anyone who has witnessed the 'Best in Show' evening at Crufts in recent years must be aware.