HTM/Freestyle in Great Britain
HTM started around 1996 with an annual “competition” held in the centre of England where mainly Obedience handlers walked to the beat throughout their choice of music.
By 1999, several more competitions had started to be held as people realised the benefits this sport could bring to handlers and dogs as it improved their relationship and partnership within the team. By 2001, the sport had officially split into two disciplines – Heelwork To Music and Freestyle and the Kennel Club of Great Britain recognised the sport and their Rules and Regulations were implemented.
The popularity of the sport gains some new interest each year, however some people soon leave as they realise there is an immense amount of work to be done on their own with a lot of work for each handler to put together a routine which requires both imagination and self discipline.
Lesley, Kath and Karen
Lesley, Kath and Karen started taking an interest in the sport for various reasons and in early 2000 all three of them had qualified dogs into the highest Advanced level. They are actively promoting the sport around the entire UK (as Top Lodge Dancing Dogs) and have also trained/judged the sport in Japan, Israel, Australia, Belgium, France, USA, Spain, Holland, The Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and of course Denmark the host nation of the OEC. They also run a National Club with around 200 members – organising two weekend competitions every year where the entries are around 180 over two days and promoting the sport with a quarterly newsletter.
Team GB’s preparations for the OEC
Team Meetings are set up as often as the team of three are available, but we contact each other every day with updates about fund raising and travel plans etc. We are lucky to have a couple of training venues and of course the weather in the UK is brilliant right now so outdoors isn’t a problem either. We have a few dates set when we can meet together to check over our routines.
Fundraising/media coverage etc.
We live very close to each other so yes we have quite a lot of media coverage through the local papers and BBC Radio Derby have also taken an interest in the Team. Fundraising is hard though but we now have three major sponsors to provide the main financing which we need – Canine Freestyle GB, Pedigree and Top Lodge Dancing Dogs.
More info about HTM and Freestyle in Great Britain
The Kennel Club