The members of Heelwork to Music Team GB flew the flag for their country with great effect when they came first in both team competitions at the Open European Championships in Belgium over the weekend of 25th – 27th August.
Team manager Kath Hardman said: “This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of Open European Championships for Great Britain as Heelwork to Music Team GB not only won the Heelwork To Music Championship for a second time, but also the Freestyle Championship for the first time, to complete a first ever double for the team.”
As well as coming first in both team competitions, all four members of the heelwork to music team were placed in the top 12 out of 51 competitors, from 14 countries across Europe. Lucy Creek from Warwickshire with Skiffle (Border Collie) finished in 3rd place, Caroline Garrett from West Sussex with Fawkes (Border Collie) in 7th, Kath Hardman from Derbyshire with Denby (Border Collie) in 8th place and Karen Sykes also from Derbyshire with Midge (Working Sheepdog) in 12th place. Heelwork to Music reserve, Lucy Heath from Lincolnshire with Indie (Border Collie), was able to present her routine as a demonstration during a break at the event.
In the Freestyle Championship there were 54 competitors from 17 countries. Lucy Creek and Skiffle finished in 2nd place, Kim Lyddon from Cheshire with Tyler (Border Collie) in 9th place, Karen Sykes and Midge in 16th place. The final member of the team was Kath Hardman with Denby and the reserve was Lucy Creek with her Beagle, Teasel.
Kath commented: “I knew the selected team would be strong and I am extremely proud of the results in the team events and also in the individual performances. Lucy Creek and Skiffle achieved a fabulous second place in freestyle and a third place in heelwork and should be congratulated for contributing such high scores to the team results.
“The team worked well together fully supporting each team member. Our grateful thanks go to the heelwork to music community back home along with the team’s travelling supporters for their enthusiasm, fundraising and support. Our success would not have been possible without the financial support of our major sponsors, CSJ Foods, the Company of Animals, the Puppy School, Canine Freestyle GB and Dog World.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “These are tremendous results for Heelwork to Music Team GB. To win one of the categories was wonderful, but to win in both fields surpassed everyone’s expectations. This just goes to prove what training, skill and dedication can achieve. The Kennel Club sends its very warmest congratulations to the entire team. Well done, everyone.”
Plans are being made to enter a team into the World Heelwork to Music and Freestyle Championships in the Netherlands from 9th – 12th August 2018 and the Open European Heelwork to Music and Freestyle Championships in Switzerland from 12th – 14th October 2018. Applications are therefore invited from competitors wishing to be considered for Heelwork to Music Team GB. Handlers wishing to be considered should request an application form by email or telephone 01296 318540. The deadline is Friday 13th October 2017.