Saturday, March 30, 2013
A few years back I was pretty sure I invented a new sport. I got tired of constantly telling my huskies to "heel" while they choked themselves by their collars every time we went running. So I put them in harness, jury-rigged a skijor belt from a waterbottle belt and off we went. It was great! Good fast workout, took the dogs out running with me more and it was a great one-on-one or one-on-two way to train my dogs in harness.
I soon found out, with a little research, what I had discovered was called canicross. It's a popular dryland event in Europe. The few canicross races I've found in the US are mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest states. It is much harder to find a race in the West, let alone Montana. My dream since I learned this was to host a canicross race in the Bitterroot Valley. It seems this year will be the year. The Bitterroot Mushers are well on our way to hosting a race in May (information soon to be posted at www.bitterrootmushers.org).
But the main point of this post was to talk about my run with Flier this evening. I was fully prepared for quite the "puppy show." He proved me quite wrong. Of course, he got distracted by the ground squirrels but other than that it was a stellar run and he payed attention very well and pulled hard. The last half mile he was mentally and physically done (it was warm), so instead we walked home and worked on walking on leash. I had planned to have Cobey take some photos of canicross for our race so up the drive way I put his harness back on and gave it a try. He was a little unsure why Cobey was crouched by the fence so he was not pulling hard until we got past him. But the pictures are fun none-the-less.
Good boy Flier! We traveled ByDog!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
When I met Cobey he already had Kona, Blue and Tensaw (a pup at the time). They all would cruise around in a minivan (don't ask me how Cobey was able to "get the girl" because I dislike minivans; chalk it up to being high schooler having to drive the minivan to school....). Anyways, each dog had their own bucket seat, Blue and Kona sat behind the driver and passenger seats and Tensaw road shotgun. When I joined the crew, Tensaw was relegated to the back with no seat. This propagated a few quirks, one of which being the need, to this day, to sit on top of something; like a goat. Be it 1 inch or 4 feet off the ground, he has to be elevated.
Often when I would leave the seat he would quickly reclaim his thrown. So one day we went for a drive and went into a store for a few minutes to get food or something. When we returned the passenger seat was ripped to shreds and Tensaw was sitting in the back with a look of triumph. "Try and sit there now! You don't have any stuffing! Ha!"
Tensaw can't hold grudges, for one he's a dog, they don't. And even if they did, that guy wouldn't. So we're best of pals. He is my favorite dog (though you'll find I say that about each dog), but he is the reason my life is as great as it is; I wouldn't have Cobey and my two wonderful boys if not for his quirks. But that story is for another time....
Saturday, March 23, 2013
It's been cool lately so the little musher and I took the team out yesterday. It felt warm but by the thermometer is was quite cool. It was a little deceiving. I felt like I could be without my gloves but after a while I realized they were numb.
Here's all 8 dogs before Blue decided she's too old to pull.
Snow was much lower and soft but not horrible.
The little musher in his helmet watching his team.
Okie torpedoed her head into the snow when we stopped.
And she came up with a mouthful of snow!
"That snow was great! It's been too long snow! I love you!"...that was Okie, yea, Okie saying that.
Blue is now running beside the sled.
But a burst of speed!
All done. Good job team. Good job little musher!
....and Paluk's already screaming to go back out.
Some videos of the team:
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Early season ATV training.
"What do you mean I should be helping mom harness the dogs?!"
"I just run the team. She's my handler."
"Is my team ready?! Cause I am!"
Aren't I cute?! I'm named after a checkpoint in the Iditarod! Rohn.
I'm ready for running dogs on snow with the sled! Let's go!
Gotta have the goggles! Down in the sled you're more likely to get little snowballs kicked up by the dogs
He was very serious about watching his dogs and making sure everything was going right. Very serious faces, unless the dogs were pooping, then, in typical boy fashion, it was hilarious!
I loved having this guy along on runs this season. We talked about a lot of stuff. Mostly which dogs we had with us.
What a view, what a ride!
Running the team with a free runningn leader (Blue) up front.
Unfortunately, Keegan put in all that work with the team but only one person could run the team at the races.
When mom and Keeg would run the dogs, Dad and Rohn (being too young to ride in the sled this season) would ski.
"Are you sure I was too young this year? I could have done it!"
Let's go Slush, we'll start our own team!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Cobey and I started doing impressions of Blue, as each dog definitely has its own personality and it is so fun to put words in their mouths. Blue thinks everything is better on the other side.
"Today I want to be a horse and join the herd next door."
"I want to run with the team. Oh wait, now that I'm with the team, I don't."
"I want to be left alone. Oh, everyone is getting attention? Me too than!"
"I want to be a little dog. No I'm the biggest dog."
There is one thing, though, that she's never on the other side of the fence about.
"I like the couch."
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Flier getting a drink, what a pretty boy. Nice coat.
Has an Okie look to him.
Smooth gait too!
Here's our race horse, Tank. I'm betting on him to win the Triple Crown this year!
Paluk, has been learning the word, quiet lately and is a quick learner.
Isis and Tensaw romping in the yard.
Tensaw and his fluffy tail (that he is VERY proud of)
Tenny stalking Tank.
Right before he sprung!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tensaw says "What?!? We're not going?!"
Given the change of weather, the constant traveling we've done the last few months, and the dogs having a less than stellar weekend I decided it best to not push it. We'll instead have a relaxing weekend at home with a couple local dog sled runs, how ever far (or not) the team wants to go.
During the warm Saturday weather, I did some much needed maintanance on my dog sledding equipment and mentally prepared myself for the inevitable end of the mushing season (time to start canicrossing!). Though it's never that tragic as spring is a very enjoyable season and we all (dogs and, especially, young musher included) like to garden.