Sunday was a fun day. Annalisa, Nora and Thor came to run with us today. Nora was put in lead with Okanogan and Thor was put in wheel with Paluk. I drove the team out and around the first two (somewhat dangerous) corners where Annalisa then took over driving the team up the hill while I followed behind. At the top of the hill, Annalisa hoped onto the “seat” of the cart and I drove the team out. Nora and Thor did very well for the first time in the traces of the cart. Nora joined us once last winter out on the snow, so it wasn’t her very first time in the traces, nor was it Thor’s first time being harnessed. Far from that, Annalisa has been bikejoring and canicrossing with the two. They transitioned quite smoothly to carting and I think had a great time. Annalisa ran the team home on the flat while I took over the trickier, downhill section at the end. They all (Annalisa included) did great!
In order to get all the dogs the training they need, some of our most experienced lead dogs would have to rest a day and others would have to step into their shoes. Tuesday I ran a foursome of dogs (Kona, Isis, Shilah, & Tensaw) that was sure to frustrate me by turning the run into a huge debacle. I was mentally prepared for it as I decided to put Kona in lead with Isis. Kona, our best all-around dog (pet and trusty sled dog), has long been running lead next to Okanogan. The other day during a free run I was gee, haw commanding her and she was doing what I asked. So I decided she was up to the task….as long as Isis didn’t go wild. Cobey has told me a few times he thought Isis would be a good leader. I would look at her small stature and feistiness and turn my nose to her. Well, she most definitely proved me absolutely wrong and Cobey absolutely right. She is a born leader. This was only her second time in lead, once before with Okanogan. She stayed focused and both Kona and Isis kept the team at a very lively clip. Shilah did not do too bad herself. The run up the hill the “worst” part. Shilah kept turning around and looking at me and trying to pull the team sides, of which Tensaw did a good job of keeping her straight. But, when we reached the top, it clicked when the team started to really run and she had a blast! They had a lot of distractions on this run too and the only one, which I knew would be Kona’s major down fall, that caused any trouble, was when we attempted to pass by a small child on a bike. Kona is a sucker for little kids so we had a bit of hold up while I commanded her past the kid after a few licks. I gloated over the team’s great run all night; beaming with pride for Kona and Isis.