Year in the life of an Irish Sled Dog kennel – winter, oh wait!

It has been way too long since I updated this blog, I am going to blame working too hard, but it is also partly old age and being shattered at the end of the day.

We all got very excited with the start of Winter, looking forward to lots of training in nice cold weather – the reality of course has been very different, with the warmest December on record I believe. We attended the European Canicross Federation’s European championships in Scotland at the beginning of October, I was entered in bikejore and scooter, but due to the temperatures and very high humidity, scratched from scooter and Rooney and I took it very easy in the bikejore class. We came in 6th, but Ireland won the gold medal with Susanne Bojkovsky and she also won bronze in scooter. Louise Jones came a very respectable 14th in her bikejore class, against some very stiff opposition. The Irish team had a great time, both competing and
helping out, socialising with sled dog enthusiasts from all around Europe. Funny how I’ve never been a whisky drinker, but the wee dram we were given at the opening ceremony went d
own very well. It was a very proud moment carrying the tricolour in the parade.

We also then went along to Canicross Ireland’s first race at Lough Boora Parklands in October, but didn’t compete due to illness. It was a great day though, and lovely to see new people getting involved in the sports.

We took part in Wyedean Mushing’s annual Dean Doubles event, which took place over the Halloween weekend, so lots of spooky costumes on display on the Saturday night. Running the dogs along a ridge high up in the forest in the dark, looking down on a village in the valley below was a really magical part of the weekend. Just the dogs and me, the sound of their panting, paws hitting the ground and the wheels turning. It is why I love working the dogs in this way, there is a real bond between human and dogs

This year we are competing in the BSA’s championship in the UK, a lot of ferry journeys, but I have a lot of friends that run with the organisation, and a great weekend is always guaranteed. The first rally was cancelled due to high temperatures, which is a theme of this season unfortunately, with rallies being cancelled or trails cut short. We won 2 dog Nordic Breed in our 1st rally, and came 2nd in the next rally, so are right in the mix for the overall championship. We are also running a team in 4 dog, Team Shortarse as they are affectionately known, due to their small stature – but big hearts – and are doing really well, getting two 5th places so far. All of the dogs running are rescue dogs, and make me so proud with the effort they put in, and the enjoyment they seem to get from running in harness.

Such a busy few months, as we also competed in the Irish Federation of Sleddog Sports rally in November, running in 4 dog and 1 dog scooter in very, very wet and muddy conditions, but hey, thats what hot showers are for.

On Sunday 20th December we took part in Canicross Ireland’s Santa Run at Lough Key Forest Park, raising money for Irish Dogs for the Disabled. A lovely day out, with everyone getting into the festive spirit.

Christmas Eve is now here, and the plans for tomorrow include getting up before dawn, not, as in years past, to open presents with human kids, but instead to head out and run the furry kids in harness so that they have a peaceful, calm day, sparked out in front of the fire.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our customers and readers, I hope that it brings you all that you wish for, and we’ll see you out on the trails in 2016.

 

 

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