Heelwork to music secretary information

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BeatMedia © / The Kennel Club

Being a heelwork to music competition secretary requires a huge amount of work and administration. This section provides all the information you need to assist with the task in hand.

Secretaries should be aware that changes and developments are made to the discipline throughout the year - any changes will be listed in media releases and on our website.

Register as a heelwork to music club

There are two ways to run heelwork to music competitions; the first is to register as a heelwork to music club, the second is to apply for listed status.

How to run your show

Setting up the competition
  • Decide on a date, a venue and the classes to be run
  • All competition dates must be applied for either in writing on club headed paper or by completing a competition date application form online which can be found in your club profile. 
  • Competition dates must be applied for up to six weeks before the show
  • The licence must be displayed at the competition
  • Book a suitable competition venue with adequate facilities including ring space, spectators' facilities, toilets and running water, refreshments, veterinary and medical arrangements, lighting and heating as appropriate, and parking. Audio equipment must be provided and, if necessary, a licence for playing music must be arranged. Timetable the official classes to be held, and any additional classes if desired
Selecting your judge

Identify suitably qualified and experienced judges for the number of classes and competitors anticipated. Two or three judges per class are required, one being the head judge. Judges should be invited in writing, and asked to accept in writing; the club should then confirm the appointment in writing to form a three-part contract.

Read more about judging heelwork to music.


The following guidance has been provided to competition organisers to help assist in carrying out a ballot.

  • Competition organisers should give careful consideration to the management of the number of classes to be scheduled and the timings involved in those classes
  • Where the overall entry numbers require a ballot, ideally competitors should be asked if they wish to voluntarily withdraw; if not, a random ballot should take place
  • Where the entry for an individual class has exceeded 25, the class should be split
  • If the society is not in a position to split a class, a random ballot should take place to reduce the entry to 25

In order to enable competition organisers to plan their schedules effectively, the following table shows the projected routine times for HTM and freestyle. This information is based on timings from five heelwork to music competitions.


Maximum routine time

Average time of each competitor – from placing props to clearing the ring and judging time

Time of class
with maximum 25 competitors, all competing

Starters HTM 

2.5 mins

4.175 mins  (4.0 minutes)

1 hr 44 mins

Novice HTM    

3.0 mins

4.84 mins    (5.0 minutes)

2 hrs 05 mins

Intermediate HTM

3.5 mins

5.58 mins    (5.5 minutes)

2 hrs 18 mins

Advanced HTM

4.0 mins

6.22 mins    (6.0 minutes)

2 hrs 30 minutes


Total time for 4 x classes and presentations 9 hrs 17 minutes


Maximum routine time

Average time of each competitor – from placing props to clearing the ring and judging time

Time of class
with maximum 25 competitors, all competing

Starters Freestyle

2.5 mins

5.19 mins    (5.0 minutes)

2 hrs 5 mins

Novice Freestyle

3.0 mins

5.05 mins    (5.0 minutes)

2 hrs 5 mins

Intermediate Freestyle

3.5 mins

5.75 mins    (5.75 minutes)

2 hrs 25 mins

Advanced Freestyle

4.0 mins

7.125 mins    (7.0 minutes)

2 hrs 55 minutes


Total time for 4 x classes and presentations 10 hrs 10 minutes

What administration should I do before the competition?
What are the final preparations?
  • On the day of the competition, ensure copies of the Heelwork to Music (L) Regulations, all entry forms, programmes, the competition licence, insurance certificate, awards, equipment and an incident book are taken to the competition
  • A copy of the official catalogue for each competition, containing a full and correct list of all entries, with all the awards correctly marked, must be retained by the organisations for at least one year from the date of the competition and must be forwarded to The Kennel Club if requested, together with any other documents
What should I do if I have to cancel my event/show?

It is important that the society and show services department is informed of a cancellation in writing by completing the cancellation of shows form as soon as this decision is made, giving the reason for the cancellation. It should not be assumed that because the licence application form is not returned to The Kennel Club by the due date, that the show will be removed from the show diary. 

If the cancellation is notified far enough in advance, this could free up a date for use by other clubs and societies, and in other instances it will prevent the office assuming the event is going ahead and therefore sending out unnecessary reminder letters for schedules and/or catalogues. 

Read further information about cancellation of events.

What administration should I do before the show?

Societies are required to consider government advice, including DEFRA, in place at the time when planning an event. It is also worth noting that often advice is different for different parts of the United Kingdom and this needs to be taken into account when planning the event both in relation to the venue and expected participants.

Do I need insurance cover?

One of the main concerns for societies is whether there will be adequate insurance cover. Kennel Club show regulations stipulate that insurance is required – otherwise the show licence is invalid. It is always best to check with the society’s own insurance provider in terms of the amount of and heads of cover. We have partnered with Pet Business Insurance (PBI) to provide specifically designed insurance cover for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability insurance at a competitive price. It is unlikely that any Covid-19-specific insurance will be available but general public liability will be available.

You can contact them on 01284 736874 or visit their website.

A society should make best efforts to ensure that the venue/ground is Covid-19 safe, in line with government advice available at the time (including risk assessments). This will then help in demonstrating that the society has discharged its duty of care to participants and visitors. It is not possible to guarantee a no Covid-19 risk scenario, and there will be an element of assumption of risk by the participant/visitor. The society’s job is to minimise that risk. As always in the context of health and safety, there should be clearly documented instructions and role descriptions defining the clear delegation of responsibilities for the range of health and safety issues at the event.

A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if an exhibitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.

Does the club need insurance cover?

Society committees must ensure that they have adequate cover for all the society's activities. The Kennel Club Insurance cover is specifically designed for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability and directors' and officers' liability insurance at a competitive price.

Heelwork to music specimen schedules

The heelwork to music regulations specify that competitions must issue a schedule which conforms to the current specimen schedule issued by The Kennel Club. The specimens are available below and are regularly updated to take account of changes to the regulations or policy. Competition secretaries are advised to download the most recent version of the specimen schedule before preparing any schedules.

Incidents at events

Anything that occurs at an event that is ‘out of the ordinary’ should be considered an incident and logged in the incident book even if those involved do not wish to take any action. This information must then be sent to The Kennel Club within 14 days of the event. Learn more about incidents at events.

Risk assessment

Every society must undertake its own individual risk assessment for every event.

Any particular measures or conditions that competitors need to be aware of prior to the event must be included within the schedule.

Please read the HTM Risk Assessment document here


Offcials' meals
Hospitality and catering arrangements for judges, officials and stewards should be reviewed in line with relevant Covid-19 and food safety guidelines. If meals are being served, appropriate PPE should be worn by those serving.

If a judge has been contracted for a future show/event and is no longer willing to officiate due to concerns relating to Covid-19, their age or health, the contract should be cancelled and a new judge appointed. It must be acknowledged that everyone’s circumstances are different and therefore The Kennel Club will not take any action against a judge not fulfilling their appointment in these circumstances.


Written guidance should be sought from the venue hirer regarding any special measures the show committee must undertake during their hiring period.

Rings may need to be spread out more than previously to allow space between the rings for free movement of people and to ensure that those in adjacent rings are not too close to each other.

Indoor venues may need to have more space around rings to ensure there is adequate space and a separate entrance and exit should be encouraged,

Is your proposed venue therefore large enough to accommodate the above and any other special requirements?

Schedule of events
It is not necessary for any activity to schedule a full range of classes and therefore societies should consider carefully which classes/stakes to schedule to ensure the event is of a manageable size, taking into consideration any additional health and safety requirements. A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if a competitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.
Veterinary cover
For those events that do not have on-site veterinary cover, liaison must be undertaken with the on-call veterinary practice to ensure it is able to provide the required cover.

Running a seminar for heelwork to music

The seminar and accompanying examination provide participants with a comprehensive introduction to the regulations and also the opportunity to discuss judging procedure and etiquette.

Each seminar is followed by an optional examination. The exam is nothing to fear; it uses a multiple-choice question format and the answers to all the questions will be covered in the preceding seminar. Seminars are primarily designed to help new and existing judges to ensure they are fully conversant with the regulations and their application in practice, but are open to competitors and others with an interest in learning the detail of the regulations and judging practice.

Things to know about setting up a seminar
  • Judging seminars are most usually hosted by registered clubs and societies, but any individual or group is welcome to organise and host a seminar
  • The seminar content must be presented by an officially appointed Kennel Club accredited trainer
  • Societies, individuals or groups organising a seminar should contact one of the accredited trainers (listed below) to invite them to conduct the seminar and arrange a suitable venue. They can then advertise the seminar to attract sufficient attendees. The organisers charge attendees reasonable fees at their discretion and should arrange for payment of the accredited trainer's expenses with the trainer. Trainers will usually bring relevant literature (such as regulation books, judges' guides and judges' record books) to the seminar for purchase by the candidates - in some cases the cost may be included in the seminar fee
  • Anyone who is holding a heelwork to music seminar this year is invited to email the details to our governance and education team so that the seminar can be listed on this page
Heelwork to music accredited trainers and presenters

Name and email


Phone number

Ms Ann DeRizzio

St Annes, Lancashire

01253 722923

Mrs Kath Hardman

Ilkeston, Derbyshire 

07759 909101

Mrs Pamela Ruscoe


01698 251897