More training at our favourite forests this month in England and Wales trying to dodge the rain and mud! Our slower, heavier, longer mileage training on the passenger rig with the dogs pulling about 30 stone in weight was working up to the AMWA Swinley working trek event which was a ten mile night time trek. This type of training has really built up the dogs condition and they are looking and feeling really great and as always they are so enthusiastic and we are all having so much fun.
So, first event of the season that we have been training for was a trek with the Alaskan Malamute Working Association who hold 'longer distance' trekking events of 10 miles plus. We have been training for this distance, building up mileage since September and we are lucky in the UK to have a couple of training venues down South that can accommodate training for these distances which are long for the UK!
The night of the trek which was held in the Queen's back garden of the Windsor Estate, was not ideal weather wise, typical British weather, we had pouring rain that the wind was driving into our faces and fog did not help visibility but the tough dogs kept their head down and powered through the mud and up the hills and through puddles that were more like small lakes. The course was really fun though and had lots of turns which was great and we all really enjoyed ourselves and just so nice to spend time out on the trails with our Siberian family. The 7 dog team consisted of mostly veterans including 12 year old Snik and our youngest 3 year old Zinny who led with Mars and we both went out together on the rowerland passenger rig which has been such a useful tool to keep speed steady.
Life is so precious and we are enjoying spending our time doing what we love best with our Siberian family (and a brown dog).
A few short videos of our teams this month
Our guys on the trail, in pictures.
Judges critique from Zinny's Best of Breed Win in the Summer was published by breed specialist Siberian Husky judge, Jenna Cooper. We are delighted with the comments.
1st- 729 Xaphire Zinnia Of Thunderfeet At Demoneira (IMP) – 2 and half year old, wolf grey bitch. Smaller girl but within standard, bright blue eyes which are almond shaped and are obliquely set, good set ears that are very alert. Well angulated front and rear, good length to height ratio, very well-muscled and moved with purpose’ BOB
Free run fun & frolics
Our new Rowerland passenger rig has arrived from Poland and temperatures are good for lots of training runs and we are making the most of our four available forests, to train on, mixing things up so the dogs get lots of fresh experiences. A forest we haven't had access to for three years, called Great Wood in Somerset has now re-opened back up for sled dog training which gives us another area. The trails are hilly and it's a bit of a drive from home but it does allow us to get a fair bit of distance (for the UK anyway) with up to 10 miles of available trails. Our local trails are a very muddy from forestry work and the constant rain so the trails are quite slow and hard going, it's nice to have other options and we have been using our favourite trails at Pembrey in Wales which gives us the options of dry, sandy, grassy trails with lots of turns. Each area brings different training experiences for the dogs which is fun and we are just enjoying being out there with our dogs.
With the use of the new Rowerland passenger rig which gives us fantastic control over speed, we are running bigger teams and doing some slower, heavy conditioning training work in preparation of treking events with AMWA, which require the dogs doing more distance than the usual 3-4 mile sprint races we can also accommodate our older dogs in the team who have naturally lost their top speeds but are still mad for it and very fit so doing the slower work suits them and for the younger dogs too it's building up some great conditioning and they are feeling in good, hard condition. Our next treking event in November is taking place at night and will be about 10 miles of trails at Swinley forest around the grounds of Windsor Castle, we plan to run six dogs on the passenger rig and go out together and have a jolly nice time.
For the first runs of the season after a break because of temperatures, we visited our favourite trails at Pembrey Forest in South Wales. The trails are sandy with hills and give a great work out for the dogs with feet friendly trail surfaces. We can then all relax in the country park with the dogs staked out and enjoy walks on the beach with the dogs. We ran a veteran team and young team, making sure that the dogs run with other dogs of a similar pace so that they are happy and comfortable. The dogs were delighted to be back in harness and we were equally happy that we are back on the trails!
We are hoping our Rowerland passenger rig that we ordered in March will arrive this month which will help us have more control over speed with the added weight and be a useful training tool for the season.
Our lovelies enjoying their Welsh holiday.
This Summer has been a trying time and we are so sad that the girl who started it all Shyla is no longer with us after giving her sleep on the 1st September.
Shyla 2002 - 2019
Shyla was Matt's first Siberian, adopted from a local animal sanctuary. Shy had a rollercoaster few years before Matt found her twelve years ago, and she came with a bag full of issues, which Matt helped unpack with love, time, routine and care. Shy was not easy, but she was a sweetheart, picky about who she liked but if you passed muster, she would rub herself on you like a cat, Shy is credited with the start of this fine madness after Matt met Jon Matherick and started the dog running journey. After gaining the old SDE number from Lyn Harrison she started running with Jon's dog Bomber with ABSA and giving her that purpose in life added to her rehabilitation and happiness.
We gave Shy sleep at the age of seventeen. Her body was tired and her functions were failing and it was time. We were glad that we were able to give her a lovely last few days in Pembrey that holds a lot of memories of runs gone by with Shy, and never an easy decision, we were able to give her the respect and dignity of a painless final sleep.
The picture above was taken when she was a very sprightly fifteen year old and how we imagine her now over Rainbow Bridge.
Due to taking care of Mars after his illness we cancelled the shows we had planned to go to this Summer. With Mars back to himself we decided to take Zinny and a recently turned ten year old Laika to Southampton & District Canine Open show under Siberian Husky Breed specialist judge Jenna Cooper. We had also entered Pickle but she is half in and half out of coat so not looking her best so she stayed at home with Matt sunbathing!
We like to enter shows under breed specialist judges that we respect the opinion, for us its a nice day socialising with dog folk, good for the dogs socially too and it is something to do in the Summer when it's too warm to run dogs. We haven't shown Zinny much, she did really well as a pup winning two best puppies in breed at champ and open level and placing well at the odd breed club show, her lines are slow maturing and we usually take them out of the show ring to give them time to mature. Zinny is now almost three so thought it was time to get her out and about and this takes us to the recent show at the beautiful venue of Victoria Park in Southampton. Zinny won her post graduate class from a really nice entry and then won Best Siberian Husky in Breed. Laika came third in open class, she is a tad chubby at the moment but the boss lady enjoyed her girls day out! Nothing in working group but we were proud to represent Siberian Huskies with our super fit for function Zinnia.