Do you love a challenge? Do you particularly love a challenge
with your dogs? The Canine Freestyle Federation has just the
challenge for you. Can your dog learn to do a suspended trot,
a side step, heel on the right, or pivots on the fore and hind
quarters? Can you choreograph all these elements into a fluid,
compelling presentation to music which fits the rhythms of your
dog? Your goal is to demonstrate your dog’s grace, beauty,
athleticism and training. You need only look to the precision
and training of equine dressage to glimpse the possibilities.
The working ring space for CFF Freestyle competition is 40 X
50 feet, the size of a regulation Utility ring. You should have
no trouble finding this size space for practice. Select music
which suits the rhythms of your dog. You, the handler, may or
may not be moving to the music. The required length of the music
changes from Level to Level, starting at one and a half minutes
in Level One to a maximum of four minutes in Level Three. As
you start to choreograph remember that your goal is not to show
off every move your dog can do, but to create an artistic, flowing,
compelling whole. Maintain a sense of space and direction. For
instance, always choreograph with a clear idea of which direction
is front, where your audience and your judges will be. Allow
the structure of your music to guide the development of your
movements into a unified choreographic whole, maximizing your
dog’s strengths and minimizing his weaknesses.
Choose whichever of the three Levels of competition is right
for you and your dog. Level One is on-lead and Levels Two and
Three are off-lead. Each Level has clearly defined required moves
plus the freedom to explore the training and movement potential
of individual dogs. The required elements and definitions are
necessary to establish a standard for judging. Optional movements
are are up to you, your imagination, and your dog’s capabilities.
Be creative, but remember, your goal is to show off your dog’s
grace, athleticism and training. Just as in dressage, the emphasis
is on the animal, its training and movement. The handler completes
the team creating a harmonious whole. The eye should always be
drawn first to the dog, then to the team, but never to the handler
alone. Within each of the three Levels there are two Divisions,
Individual Dog and Multiple Dog. The Multiple Dog Division includes
Duet (two handlers each with a single dog), Team (three or more
handlers, each with a single dog), and Brace (one handler with
two dogs). The three Levels increase in technical and artistic
difficulty. Points will be awarded based on technical merit (50
points) and artistic merit (50 points). There is also a creative
Interpretation Class offered for exhibition only.
Are you intrigued? Do you think your students might be intrigued
and challenged? The time is now to start selecting music and
choreographing. CFF sponsors both demonstrations and competitions.
CFF Freestyle Rules and Guidelines are available from Corresponding
Secretary, Monica Patty, 21900 Foxden Lane, Leesburg, VA 20175,
703-327-4860. The Rules and Guidelines are $5 each or are included
in your $20 CFF membership, which also includes four newsletters
a year, a CFF lapel pin and the CFF Constitution and By-Laws.
Are you or your club interested in hosting a CFF Freestyle competition?
Please direct your inquiries to Monica Patty and the Board of
Directors will consider all requests.