Lockdown has now lifted to allow self contained overnight stays and this is where all the hard work of making our van a moving home for dogs and humans comes to play! We can do our favourite thing of camping and training which is bliss after a dreary winter. We are still running as normal, big passenger rig runs along Salisbury Plain and splitting teams up to team puppy training and team veteran on forest trails. Pups are 11 months and doing really well. Below is a short clip of our four teams, happy, healthy and living their best lives!
As well as lots of lovely runs, we have built new platforms in the dogs playground at home and had lots of beach walks and free runs in secure fields.
Months seem to be blurring into one during this last lock down, life hasn't really changed work, run dogs, rest, repeat. But Spring is now here to brighten the days up and there is end of the 'lockdown' tunnel in sight so hopefully we can plan some camping and training adventures soon!
The pups are over 10 months and doing well so it's the next stage for them now and it has been time to add them to a four dog team on a 3 wheeler with excellent mentors, Mars, Zinny and kara. We aren't worried about distance right now with them so a casual, controlled 1.5 miles, although it's not an 'easy' 1.5 miles on hilly terrain but the aim is to give the puppies positive, fun hook up experiences and set them up for success. Distance and speed will come as they mature and plenty of time. Here they are in the video below, in wheel with Zinny and Mars in lead.
The big dogs have also been enjoying longer runs on the open trails of Salisbury Plain on the passenger rig as well as splitting the teams with 4 'younger guns' and a 'senior' siberians on the three wheeler on forest trails and the dogs are all content and happy. They also enjoy their secure free run every Friday, in one of the 5 acre fields up the road, which is lovely for them all especially our oldies who have retired from harness work and you can see our lovelies having fun in this video.
Temperatures have been pretty good for us in the UK and we are getting out for lots of runs on the passenger rig, (following government guidance of course) temperatures have been pretty good down South and we have had some minus zero runs, we even had snow! It only lasted 24 hours and was the wet slushy kind we get in the UK so sled stayed at home but it made a nice difference to the mud and was very pretty for photographs! We have also made use of our local 5 acre free run field and it's great to see the dogs power around.
Going through the pandemic has been pretty stressful for everyone and we are extra grateful to have the dogs and this life. Taking the time to stop and stare and appreciate mother nature and seeing the seasons change by dog team is incredibly special. These pictures were taken on the same spot on the trail in January, May, August and November! Nothing is more beautiful than nature and I hope that moving forward we will look after the world a little bit better.
December was great, lots of runs for the dogs and we even managed to have a relaxing week away in Wales in between lockdowns staying at Pencastell Views with all the dogs. Beautiful views, in an isolated spot, toasting marshmallows over a fire, very dog friendly with a free run area and dog running trails, what isn't to love! View from our pod below! We all had a brilliant time! Was just so nice to get away and have a little adventure and a change of scenery was most welcome. Christmas and New Year were spent doing our favourite thing, running dogs and we had some lovely frosts and beautiful runs.
December saw the Flups turning 7 months old and they had their first positive, short runs with a mentor on the bike. They all had a jolly time! Clever girls! So pleased with these little treasures.
Christmas Eve Runs
We had hoped to do a couple of treks with AMWA but as with rest of the racing calendar in the UK restrictions make events impossible. We are missing seeing our friends but we have lots of nice trails to run on at home and as long as dogs are happy and getting exercised we are happy.
Here we are back in Lockdown so it means a week training and holiday in Wales has been postponed along with our holiday to Bowland trails in Scotland. Very disappointing but we have made the most of the cooler temps by training in South West, mixing up slow, heavy work on the rowerland passenger rig, lighter work on the 3 wheel Cudos and some quick runs on the bike. Fingers crossed none of our forest permits have been stopped due to the lockdown regulations which is great!
Puppies are just over 6 months old now and doing really well, each pup has quite a different character and it is so much fun watching them grow and develop.
They have integrated well with the rest of the pack and are very confident, happy girls and we very much look forward to the future!