Team members of Great Britain introduce themselves:
Jackie de Jong (HTM and Freestyle)
My name is Jackie de Jong and my dog is Jackie’s Indi HTM I Ex, FS I Ex. Pet name Indi.
Indi came into my life when I was anticipating having quite a long time off work due to ill health, Chris decided that I needed a puppy to help me through this period of my life.
Indi turned out to be a bit of a supercharged collie! He certainly kept me on my toes and made me keep going every day. Indi is ISDS registered but surprisingly afraid of sheep! Fortunately he does love his dancing.
My illness prevented me from continuing my career as a PA but as that door closed another opened as it allowed me to turn my love of observing dogs and their behaviour into a business (www.k9training.me.uk) where I now teach HTM and work with dogs with behavioural problems.
I also have three other dogs. Jessie, a Collie cross, has been my constant companion over the last 13 years. She taught me a lot about dancing and took me to Crufts to demonstrate HTM in 2007. Jessie has also helped me so much in my behavioural work too.
Millie a Patterdale/Jack Russell who is 12ish (she is a rescue) whose job at home is being the house alarm!
Ziva, at just one year old, is Indi’s niece, who is loving her training and will soon be blossoming in this sport too.
Indi has just qualified for the semi finals for Crufts in 2014 – I am so very proud of him.
Both Indi and I are thrilled to have been selected as part of Team GB for the Open European Championships 2013 and I will be competing with Indi in both the Heelwork To Music and the Freestyle Championships. We wish all my fellow team members and all OEC competitors GOOD LUCK!!!
Kath Hardman (HTM and Freestyle)
I have been competing in this sport since 1999 and have been so lucky to have had five “Dancing Dogs”. Ginnie was 7 yrs old and suffering from epilepsy before I started the sport so we learnt things together at a very comfortable pace. She was a very successful competition dog in GB competing at Crufts at 14yrs of age and being placed joint first! Tipp was my second dancing dog and he came to me at 18 months old with problems of neglect, abuse and brain damage, but we worked patiently together and he too qualified to work at Crufts for 3 yrs. I currently work my three dogs 11 yrs old Spice Crossbreed, 8 yrs old Amber Border Collie and my young Border Collie Denby.
All three dogs are qualified to work in the Advanced Classes in both HTM and Freestyle.
I have been involved with HTM since 1996; for the first three years I was a spectator due to heavy work commitments, but I have regularly competed and judged since 1999. In 2002 I was a founder member of Canine Freestyle GB and I became involved in the original GB Kennel Club Regulations in 2001 when they were issued to all interested parties. Success in competition with all my five dogs has attracted invitations to train and judge overseas which has given me a better insight into other Countries’ Rules and Regulations. Obviously the GB Regulations are still developing as awareness of the sport increases. I have been involved in the Kennel Club of Great Britain HTM Working Party since its inception in June 2005 and in 2007 I was nominated to become a member of the Kennel Club Activities Sub-Committee (ASC) Judges Working Party to set in motion the Judges training seminars and I am now a Regulations and Judging Procedure Accredited Trainer. I believe it is of paramount importance and of benefit for everyone involved in HTM to increase their personal awareness, knowledge and understanding of the Regulations in order to compete to the best of their ability.
Highlights of my HTM and Freestyle career:
In 2006 and 2012 I was honoured to judge the FS and HTM Competitions at Crufts.
In 2009 I was honoured to be invited to judge the Nordic Championships in Denmark and in 2012 I was invited to judge the Open European Championship when held in The Czech Republic.
In 2008 my crossbreed “Spice” won both the Crufts Freestyle and the International Crufts Freestyle Competitions.
In 2010, as part of Team GB, my Border Collie Stillmoor Lady In Red (Amber) won the First Individual FCI World Championship in Heelwork To Music.
In 2011, I was a member of Team GB and the Heelwork To Music Team won the First Open European Championship.
I have now been selected to represent Team GB at the Open European Championship to be held in The Netherlands in September 2013 with my Border Collie Amber (Heelwork To Music) and crossbreed Spice (Freestyle). We are looking forward to the time preparing for the competition and to the actual competition giving us the opportunity to meet up with all our HTM/FS friends.
I love helping people to train their dogs, finding alternative ways of training moves and Heel Work to suit the different dogs and sharing my experience of training HTM/Freestyle. Fellow Team GB Member Karen and I have travelled extensively together around the World and have received great feedback from all our training.
Good Luck to all fellow competitors – looking forward to meeting you all again – new friends and old!!!
Lesley Neville (HTM)
My name is Lesley Neville and the dog I am working in this competition is Red Hot Hamish At Choxxstart HTM I Ex, more usually known as Hamish.
Hamish and I are very proud to have been chosen as one of the Team GB for the Open European Championships this year.
Hamish is the third Beardie that I have owned (and I have number four too so as you can see I am quite besotted by the breed).
My past HTM achievements were with my first Beardie Robbie (Highlander Red Robbie) who worked both Advanced HTM and Advanced Freestyle and competed successfully at Crufts in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and with Angus,(Choxxstart Dream Angus HTM A Ex, FSA Ex)
Angus and I had the honour of demonstrating HTM at Crufts in 2005 as one of the “Top Lodge Dancing Dogs” team, qualifying for Crufts in 2006, winning the Freestyle Competition at Crufts, and the International Competition as well in 2007, I was one of the Judges for Crufts in 2008 but was back at Crufts competing in both HTM and Freestyle in 2009 and in Freestyle in 2010 and 2011.
2011 also saw us as part of the winning HTM Team representing Great Britain at the Open European Championships in Denmark with individual places of 4th in Freestyle and 5th in HTM and qualifying for the Crufts Semi Finals in 2012, but sadly Angus died in April this year.
My fourth Beardie is Dewy (Brambledale Blue Dewy) a 16 month old bundle of fun at the moment, but showing great promise!
Hamish and I are determined to do our very best to represent our lovely country this year in Holland, and support what I think is a very strong team, but we also would like to wish everyone else “Good Luck” as this sport is about meeting people and sharing our love of our dogs as well as competing against each other!
Looking forward to it!! Good Luck Everybody!
Karen Sykes (Heelwork To Music and Reserve Freestyle)
I have 4 dogs, 3 Working Sheepdogs and 1 rescue crossbreed.
Kes is 15 years old Working Sheepdog and has been very successful in the sport. Although she no longer competes, she does still enjoy her training and performing for the public. She is amazing for her age, I am so lucky to have her.
Midge is my new baby, born on 6th April 2013. She is lovely Working Sheepdog puppy with lots of potential for the future.
I have 2 dogs on the team this year.
Erin is a 4 year old rescue crossbreed. We don’t know what breeds are mixed into her but she is a great comic with an amazing personality. Initial illness & behavioural problems made for a slow start in the sport but with consistent training and help she has done well enough to be invited onto the Team as a reserve for the Freestyle Competition. I am very proud of my achievements with her as she has been a very challenging personality.
Fly, my 12 year old Working Sheepdog, won the Heelwork to Music Individual and Team Championships in 2011. Fly is a very fast and intense dog who anticipates everything which makes training a real challenge and lots of fun. Around the home you could not wish for a more loving and well behaved dog, she is a real joy to live with. Fly has competed at Crufts every year since the very first competition, placed highly every year and won the Crufts Heelwork to Music competition in 2008. We were unable to compete at the OEC in Prague in 2012, so we are looking forward to trying to win back our title this year!
I first competed in Heelwork to Music and Freestyle back in 2001 when Kes and I won the Starters Freestyle class. I also had my first judging appointment in that year too. I have judged both at Crufts and around the world and I was the Lead Judge at the Inaugural Heelwork to Music World Championships in 2010 held in Denmark. I have continued to compete, judge and teach but never did I imagine when I first started where this sport would take me. Thanks to HTM I have travelled the world with my friend Kath Hardman, judging and holding seminars which has resulted in our making many great friends all over the world through this fabulous sport.
What I love about Heelwork to Music and Freestyle is that it is the only dog sport where you can do exactly what you want to within the rules and let your imagination run free. You can show-case the individuality of your dog and never have to perform a move that the dog doesn’t like. Dogs, dancing and music are a magical combination which gives so much joy to many!
I cannot finish my profile without mentioning my constant companion, Allan. He has been by my side since 1983 encouraging me in everything I have done, looking after our dogs, taking wonderful photos and helping me to achieve things that I never thought I was capable of.
To represent your country is a huge honour and I shall do my very best with Fly and Erin but whatever the result, I can be sure of taking the best dogs home to my wonderfully supportive family and friends!
* Unfortunately, Karen had to withdraw Fly from the competition, due to an injury.
Hetty van Hassel (Freestyle)
My name is Hetty van Hassel and my dog is called Detania the Wizz Kid. We are delighted that we have been invited to represent Great Britain at the OEC. Wizzy is 9 years old and he is my very special boy. I can not imagine being anywhere without him laying at my feet or skipping along by my side. He is my little shadow 🙂
I fell in love with him when I was visiting Angela and Tony Gillespie, when Wizz was about 5 weeks old, and decided he just needed to come and live with me, even though I had not planned on getting any puppy at all. The first year of his life he refused to do any training and insisted on being a pet dog, which was fine by me, as I think that training has to be something we both enjoy. However, he saw the light when he was about a year old and invited me to dance with him instead of my other dog Violet. After that, he started to ask for more and more training and we started competing when he was 4 years old. He just needed a bit of time to grow up, I think, as he is totally addicted to his training sessions now and refuses to go home when a session is finished!
Wizz has accompanied me to several seminars and workshops I have given abroad and we have done several demos at dog shows and gala’s all over Europe in the past few years, so I am sure that Wizz will love to perform at the OEC. I think it will be an amazing experience for both of us and I will thoroughly enjoy watching all the other routines. To be able to see all those outstanding performances live will be absolutely wonderful!!!
Christina Oxtoby (Freestyle)
Christina first dreamt of doing HTM 10 years ago when she saw Mary Ray on the TV performing at Crufts. Christina re-watched the recording several times and then started to teach the moves to her young Great Dane, Caleb and rescue German Shepherd, Asaph. She owes both of these dogs a huge debt of gratitude for teaching her what she knows today as well as being such loving friends for so many years. This then led to her fulfilling a life-long dream of working with animals when she re-trained from being a violin and piano teacher to working in dog training and behaviour. She started ICC Dog Training centres and as they grew she ended up working as Head of Training and Behaviour before a number of house moves meant that she no longer taught weekly classes. Today she loves teaching a variety of workshops in various aspects of dog training and behaviour as well as teaching her violin and piano pupils. She is also Choir Director for Stamford Gospel Choir and plays in a number of modern church music bands working alongside her supportive (and patient!) Husband, who is a Vicar.
Christina shares her life with 3 wonderful dogs, Ru, Shai and Eze. Ru is a 6 year old Great Dane who Christina rescued when he was 6 months old (this was the 3rd time that he had been re-homed.) He is an absolute sweetie, being great fun to work with, very loving and a big baby! He currently competes at Intermediate level in both Heelwork and Freestyle and is the only Great Dane in the UK to compete at HTM. He is affectionately known as the ‘Dancing Dane’ when he has performed as part of the Dog Activities Display Team at Crufts. The newest member of the family is Shai, a 2 year rescue Border Collie who joined the family in February of this year. He’d had no training before arriving and LOVES his training sessions in obedience, agility and HTM. Christina has high hopes for him in the future and he’s also a very sweet (if somewhat enthusiastic!) boy.
Finally, it is my pleasure to introduce Eze or to give him his full name, ‘Legacy’s Eze Ezekiel’. Eze is a 7 year old Border Collie who competes at Advanced Level in both Heelwork and Freestyle and also competes in agility. He is duel registered ISDS (both his parents work sheep) and KC and arrived as an extremely challenging and strong willed 8 week old puppy. After much hard work he has blossomed into Christina’s dream Border Collie who she wouldn’t change for the world. He’s qualified for the Crufts semi finals in 2012 and 2014, and Christina is delighted to have been invited onto the British Team for the Open European Championships with her lovely boy. Christina would like to thank the many people who have helped and encouraged her over the years to reach this point, in particular her wonderful husband for his encouragement and support, and also wishes to thank the rest of the team for their help too. Eze and Christina realise – ‘The Hard Work Starts Here!’
Dylan Smith (Reserve HTM)
Dylan is the top Junior Handler, under 12 years, in Heelwork to Music in Great Britain. Aged 11 years, he is already competing successfully in the Young Kennel Club Heelwork To Music, Freestyle, Obedience, Flyball, Grooming and Handling and he is also competing well in the Official Kennel Club Heelwork To Music Classes.
Dylan is a good all rounder and he and his dog make a formidable team.
Carol Mortimer (Team leader)
It was Carol’s ambition to take a team of dogs and handlers to the Open European Championships and 2013 has given Carol this great opportunity.
Carol has worked German Spitz for twenty years in Heelwork to Music, obedience, agility and achieved a minimum of Intermediate in Freestyle and Heelwork with them. She has also worked Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen in HTM, obedience and agility. Her original breed of choice was German Shepherds.
She has spent the past twenty years training Junior Handlers in all three sports and in flyball, grooming and handling. In 2013 she was honoured to be invited to judge the HTM, Freestyle and International Freestyle competitions held at Crufts.