Dogs have been enjoying runs along Sallisbury Plain, lots of wildlife and wide open trails unlike most other trails in the UK, make for some excellent training and it's all doing us good getting out when temperatures allow. Temperatures are starting to look borderline for us down here so we will take advantage of any cooler snaps that hopefully will come our way.
Recently we have had some socially distanced company whilst training and we had a couple of handsome guests on our last run, with Nico and Forest in wheel position in the above photos. In other 'news' we have just had our ladies Pickle and Zinny finish their seasons and celebrated Cassidy squidgy's 9th birthday with home made mackerel cake!
Due to Covid 19 our Forestry commission training areas are closed, our local private training forest is also closed, Wales is closed for outside travel and combined with not being able to travel a long distance meant that we had to be content with the local 5 acre free run field and bikejor, two dogs at a time in the local wood which has actually been quite fun and a new venue with lots of turns to keep things fresh for the dogs, we can only get up to 2 miles of trails but better than nothing and it was very quick and no pedalling required! Dogs have been happy with that and we even had a lockdown birthday with Pickle's 6th birthday with cuddles and sardine cake.
We do have Salisbury Plain as a training option too, which doesn't require a permit to run but is a good 50 minute drive, and with the Government restrictions on travel we didn't feel comfortable travelling. However the Government lifted restrictions recently to allow for unlimited distance travel for exercise (in England only and no overnight stays) so we took advantage of the cooler temperatures to go out for some smashing runs as the sun was rising. Humans and dogs were very happy and content and we now hope to go out as much as temperatures allow, following government guidelines. The lockdown has meant we are busier than ever with Matt working as part of the military Covid Support Force and I have continued to work from home for the Charity.
Before lockdown we usually spent our weekends camping and running dogs, however, the lockdown has given us the opportunity to have the time to finally finish off the human side of the husky bus with only the bed to be added and kitchen area to be finished. We will be ready for adventures when we are allowed, which will be much welcomed by us all!
Spring is our favourite time of year to run dogs, we have more daylight, weather is usually dry and we get cold mornings and we started having some fabulously fun runs and using the 5 acre free run field just up the road. We were excited to continue running dogs for as long as temperatures allow which is usually till about end of July for us down here and then we start back up in September and the plan was to finish the human side of the travelling husky hotel in the break. Well, best laid plans of mice and men we have had to change these plans due to the terrible covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world so to comply with social distancing it means we can't travel to our training forests.
The dogs are coping well on week two of lock down, lots of sunbathing, treats, local walks and we have dusted off the fitfurlife treadmill to give the dogs a safe outlet for their energy. This is not the same as running in a beautiful forest but we just all have to step up and do what needs to be done to not put pressure on the NHS and try and limit the spread of the virus. At least we have plenty to do and apart from not running dogs it business as usual. Matt as part of the military covid support force is busying supporting the flying of scientists and VIP's around the UK and my job being mostly online based, I continue to work from home for the Charity. In our spare time we have started working on the van a bit earlier than planned and hope to have the human side finished in the next few weeks!
A local race venue to us was opened back up to the race community after a break, and this venue was always a highlight of the season for us. However, it was being the held the same day as working day at Crufts and we had entered Mars and we couldn't do both. It was not a hard decision to make, we decided to take part in the night race held at Moors Valley Country park, Mars would much prefer getting muddy on a run with pals on really fun trail!
Mars Bar and Zinny enjoyed chasing shadows at the night race, passing two teams and picking up a first place from ten teams on their way with a one minute lead on second place and an average per mile of 14.32 over 3.3 miles. Matt also enjoyed playing with his early birthday present of new Exposure Lights.
Not forgetting our awesome veteran girly team who picked up a third place and looking so happy as they came in to the finish here. Great way to finish our competitive season!
Mars has joined his best pals, Leo the Lion, Binks and Tundra on team Janskcoo for the Sled Dog Association of Scotland Championship series this season and enjoyed runs on fun, technical trailsat Darnaway and Ford Estate and achieved a Silver placing in the championship. Good dogs all!
We had planned a few more races in February but the awfully wet and windy February continued to stop play. Happily the wind and rain took a bit of a break at the end of the month and we travelled to Thetford, Norfolk for the end of season races with the British Siberian Husky Racing association. The trail distances are far shorter than what we have been doing in training but it's nice to get the dogs out on different trails and dry trails and see folk and we had a really great time.
Matt ran Mars and Zinny, seppala people in the two dog class and came a very respectable 6th place from 19 teams amongst the top teams in the country and I ran a girly veteran three dog with our winterdance girlies, Laika 11 years young, with half sis Cassidy (9) and neice who Kara celebrated her 9th birthday with a jolly family run. The following day I ran Mars and Zinny to a fifth place from 10 teams. This was the first time I (Lou) had run these two at a race and I was happy we had a nice clean run, passing a few teams on our way round. Matt ran a four with the three winterdances and a Pickle who had a nice blast out on the long straights of Cranwich trails.