SC Dogsled Team Training Journal

dogsledding, dryland, carting, dog training, dog behavior

Monday, January 07, 2008

Boy's Farm in Newberry

This past Saturday were were priveledged to be guest at the Boy's Farm. We had around 20 boys go for a cart ride with us on the trail there. We all had a great time. And we had a chance to meet some really nice young men.

Dec 26 -31, 2007 part 2

I had booked a tour for the 26 but the people never showed. I guess some people can't always be trusted to say the truth and do what they say they will do. But we had a good time anyway. The 27 we were asked to leave the campground because the neighbors were complaining about the dogs at night and the campers, who worked nights and slept days, were complaining about the dogs in the day. We were lucky to be allowed to stay at the manufacturing plant of Magic Wand Car Washs in Bristol. We had one tire to go flat on the drive from NC because the sidewall got a hole in it and I noticed a second tire starting to do the same thing so we headed off looking for 2 new tires for the horse trailer. We stayed in his gravel parking lot. That Friday 28th it rained and was too warm to run dogs so we headed to an exit on the interstate where there were lots of stores and we went shopping. Saturday morning we were supposed to meet Fayth and her family in Damascus and run dogs but at the 8 am meeting time there was no one there. So I called and woke them up. They said they would be ready and I said lets meet at 10 then. I went off and took a shower only to find they called and were not going to be able to make it at all on Saturday. I hate that Fayth did not get to train with the dogs that day. So I met Bob and Jim and Marcia and we ran dogs from Straight Branch down the mountain to Damascus. Then Kathy and I ran my team back up the mountain to Straight Branch. When we got back to the trailer with the adult team we ate then ran the puppy team up the mountain to the next point that we could reach and back down to the trailer. Sunday 12/30 we met Fayth and ran the puppies from Alvarado almost back to Ironhorse and back to Alvarado none stop. The pups did great. The only issue we had was when we went to open a gate to go through Tucker a trained older leader jumped through a barbed wire fence instead of the gate. The barbed wire was hot so it shocked Tucker and myself as I tried to free him from it. It had been raining so the electricity flowed easlily through us both. We went back to the trailer and put away the pups and Kathy and I ran the adult team from Alvarado to Wautauga and back. We were checking to make sure that the bigger cart will fit through the gates on Jan 19. Kathy decided that she wanted to race with a team of dogs in the 4 dog class on Jan 20 so I showed her what she need to know. I think she will do well. That night Marcia treated the dogs to spagetti and meatballs and yogart. The dogs enjoyed it. On Monday 12/31 we packed up and came home. But just as we got back into SC someone pulled out of the on ramp in front of us and they were going too slow and I had to slam on brakes and gear down to keep from hitting them. This cause my transmission to grind. We barely made it home. Once home I have taken the truck to the transmission shop and they can't seem to find a problem. But I was told it will cost $3500 for a rebuilt transmission and clutch. So we may not be able to drive the truck the rest of this season. I'm still weighing my options.

Dec 26 -31, 2007

We left NC and went to Damascus, VA and stayed at the Ironhorse Campground. The first day there was hot so I took the time to cut up meat in preparation for our upcoming runs.

Dec 24&25, 2007

Kathy and I did Christmas with our families early this year so we could get some time in on the trail with the dogs. We have a race and a 16 mile run with the dogs on Jan 19&20 but up till Christmas we did not have to many miles on the dogs. We loaded up the horse trailer with 28 dogs and first headed to NC where we met my friend Lindsey with her 2 horses and 2 dogs. We camped out with her and ran some dogs and rode the horse cart. We ran her little hearding dog with the team and it did great. If was funny to see a dog running hard and barking at the same time. Huskies are silent when they run. Santa did not visit any of us while we slept in our horse trailers. I think it was due to the lack of a fire place. I'll have to write a letter to him and see.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

12/4/07 New Cart from Jeff B.

I finally had a chance to run with the new cart. I first hooked up a team of puppies. I had Cosmos-Scarlet, Bell-Toshiba (slow in lead so moved back), Tokome-Cantelope, Max-Oreo, Miyatuk-Skeeter. They did well running after we got started. Before starting they kept twisting up their harnesses. I was impressed with the team yet again. I felt bad though because I had forgot to run Smokey Bones with the pupppy team and he is a great runner.

I came back with the puppies then put them away and hooked up 16 of the big dogs. I had Tucker-Bear, Yeti-Sasha, Caleb-Ivu, Nanook-Storm (cut all 4 pads but kept running and never quit. She is a strong willed dog who needs some conditioning), Mickey-Jojo, Boy-Girl, Red Bull-Sakari (started out fighting with Bull. Her speed slowed near the end), Ulric-Dancer.

I ran both teams 2.5 miles. Nanook looked good after his first run and still had energy. Mickey had a ton of energy left after the run. Boy hit his head on the stop sign trying to run on the wrong side and broke his neck snap (thank goodness for a snap that breaks at 10 lbs). Of course the normal team looked good all the way around. I was proud of Bear and Tucker for holding the lead when we passed a yard with barking dogs. I was also proud of Yeti and Sasha for holding out the line as well. Sasha is finally keeping up with the big boys and is ready for some speed training this year. Red Bull was a little slow as was Sakari. I think they both need conditioning. Ivu has been slow in the past but did well tonight. The boy and the girl (I have to find names for them) ran well and looked good after running.

So with 16 dogs running I was still able to lock down the brake and walk away from the cart. It slid a couple of times when I jamed on the brake but it did stop with just me on it. I don't think it would hurt to put more weight on the cart.

12/1/07 Saluda Shoals Park

I took 20 dogs to the park for Tails on the Trails. We gave several dog sled rides but it got to hot for the dogs to run. So we just talked with people.

12/1/07 Columbia Christmas Parade

We were in the Columbia Christmas Parade with Laci Stapp riding with us as the Grand Marshal. It was a lot of fun but we kept stopping about every 1/2 block for about 10-15 minutes. When we neared the end I asked why we stopped so much and the answer was..."for a comercial break". So even in real life we have to stop for a commercial. Not a good thing for a team of dogs that are trained for running. Thankfully the new cart held the team back without effort.

11/30/07 St John Neumann School 1st Grade

Today we went to St John Neumann School and spoke to the 1st grade class. I had Yeti, Jojo and Dominic. Fayth and her family went with me as well. I walked in with my fur on and two dogs tied to me. During the question time on boy asked "how do you tell the boy dogs from the girl dogs"? A teacher answered with "the girls are smaller".

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Animals in LBL

Here are some photos of animal that we saw at Land Between the Lakes Kentucky (LBL). Elk, Bison, Turkey.

Live With Lucas WIS TV

This morning we were priviledged to host the Live with Lucas show here at our house. We talked about the different equipment then took Lucas for a ride. It was a little rough at the start with Cosmos the leader biting at the co leader so we had an entanglement but we were soon off and running.

Land Between the Lakes Run

Chapin packed up 27 dogs in the new horse trailer outfitted for carrying us to fun places to run. The trailer can actually carry up to 60 dogs and has a sleeper in it for Chapin. I saw Chapin took the mattress off his bed and put fleece sheets on it and has a lamb skin blanket. He looks comfortable but a little too warm for me since I have a nice fur coat of my own. If the weather is good we get to sleep outside under the stars fastened to the outriggers on the side of the trailer. If the weather turns bad with rain Chapin takes us inside to keep us dry and we have hay to sleep on. The drive to Land Between the Lakes (LBL) took us about 12 hours and we "camped out" in a Wal Mart parking lot just west of Knoxville, TN (about half way). We met Chapin's friends Jeff, Alice, and Jenny there and they brought their dogs. This was the second run of the season and we ran aprox. 5 miles on the first run Saturday morning. Then another 5 miles Sat. night. During the afternoon Chapin took a team of puppies for their first ever run. Chapin came back ecstatic with the effort the puppies displayed. Four of those puppies are my neice and nephews...Skeeter, Miyatuk, Bell, Scarlet. My sister, Sunka, also ran in the lead with Cosmos to keep the puppies going the right direction. The pups ran about 3-4 miles. Also seen here are some photos of our new travel rig (truck and horse trailer).

First Run of the 07-08 Season

Our first run was about a month ago on a Sunday morning when it turned cool by chance. We went out and ran only 2.5 miles. Kathy got to go for her first dogsled ride ever on that day.

Ewakee's Adventures Season of 2007-2008

Well we had lots of photos that we did not get posted at the end of last year and I want to get them posted so I will have to do that elsewhere.

This year I will be writing the post from the perspective of my wheel dog Ulric whom I call Ewakee. The post will be Ewakee's Adventures. Ulric is the boy with the floppy ears looking back in the first photo. He is a sweet and hard working dog. He needs to have a sign around his neck that reads "Will Work for Belly Rubs". He is always working and never stops. He loves his job. Ulric is a Malamute Siberian Husky mix.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fun Run 3

Finally we win a trophy. Second Place. What fun we had.

Fun Run 2

Here are some more photos. Yep the creek was just about frozen a little higher up the road from the event. I walked across the creek at one point and found a trout fisherman searching for a spot that was thawed.

Blue Ridge Fun Run in Damascus, VA

2/10/07 we ran in the fun run. I had Kenai-Tucker, Caleb-JoJo, Ulric-Dancer on my six dog team and we ran out butts off to a second place win. We did fine on the run down but on the way back just after starting Caleb got tangled and was flipped on his side. I instantly stopped the team and got him up but he did not want to run. I had to work with him for a moment to get him going again. But he did not pull the whole way back. He ran in place but the tug line was loose. The neck line was not pulling him so I know he was just keeping up but not working. There were no injuries.

Also, Fayth ran in the 4 dog class and she used my trusted lead dog Cosmos-Bear, Sasha-Yeti. I'll have to get more reports on Fayth's run but I do know from looking at the times that she ran this section of the trail 5 minutes faster than I did.

The people on scooters were flying past me as if I was just sitting there. I decided I had to build a scooter too so I can have fun at that speed. It has been a while since I broke something so I need a scooter and will have to hook up Dancer so I can make sure to have too much speed and have a great wreck. :) Remember, I will be wearing knee, wrist, elbow pads and a helment and hocky shoulder pads.

We had a great time at the run.

Here are some pictures of Fayth cutting up the steak before the event. Who said mushing did not take lots of work before, during and after the event?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dupont Forest

This weekend I went with Lindsey to Dupon Forest near Brevard and Hendersonville, NC. There are some nice trails there for running the dogs. One trail we ran came down a steep hill with ruts and washouts and rocks on the trail. It took great effort to keep the cart upright but we did it and had a blast. I ran 12 dogs. Cosmos-Kenai, Bear-Tucker, Caleb-JoJo, Sasha-Yeti, Ivu-Chelese (Lindsey's dog), Ulric-Dancer. And Lindsey's little Border Collie pup Trinity ran behind us. She got to ride on the cart on the way back. Ivu had his pads hurt so he was bagged and rode back in the cart. Sasha hurt her pads but was bootied and ran fine afterwards.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top of Whitetop Near the Creeper Trail 1/28/07

I rode around looking at the trail that I had not been down and taking photos of the snow scenes. The photos are from the top of Whitetop Mtn. The puppy is the baby girl of my wheel dog Ulric. She now lives near Charlotte and she and her family came up to see us run this weekend.

When I left the area and drove home down I-26 from Bristol, Tn to Asheville, NC I ran into heavy snow that night. There was somewhere between 3-4 inchs of snow on the road and the snow was falling so heavy that you could hardly see yet I was able to see well enough (due to my many experiences of driving in snow) that I kept driving at 45-50 mph and I passed all the cars that were in the far right lane doing 20-25 mph. I hit the brakes a few times to test the snow for ice and found it to only be snow so I kept going.