| Gearing Up For A New Mushing Season
Posted: 06-Apr-2008, 03:29 PM
Group: Celtic Nation
|QUOTE (Swanny @ 05-Apr-2008, 11:29 AM)|
| I know there are a few Australians who mush dogs on wheeled rigs, bikes (called bikejoring) and two wheeled scooters. Not sure where or how many, though. |
It's break up, and the mushing season is pretty much shot up here. The trails are falling apart, but there is still too much slushy stuff to run the dogs with a four wheeler or cart, so they are just hanging out, being very bored.
I'm finding it difficult to cope with break-up this year. We had a great mushing season and I hate to see it end. We didn't get to see nearly so many new trails as I would like - but that's always going to be true. There is always a new stretch of trail and a new piece of wilderness to explore.
Two of the three yearlings on this year's team are turning into fine leaders, and the other is an awesome team dog. We've enjoyed some good long runs, done some camping, and covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 miles or so this winter.
The absolute best lead dog I've ever seen was given to me in February. Torus is a retired Yukon Quest and middle-distance leader originally whelped and trained by Eric Butcher. When Eric retired he gave Torus to Tammi Rego. At 9 years of age he has slowed some and can no longer lead fast race teams, so he came to me as his retirement home. I've run Torus in the past and he and I get along very well. The fact is, I adore this dog. He's a great fit for my team of freighting types.
I have a friend who also mushes freighting type in Dillingham, AK. Kyle is the guy who gave me Rose and Nels. In any event, he came down for a visit during the Yukon Quest start, and we were hanging out before the start banquet, bragging about our dogs. I was also tossing about inquiries among mushers who drive the larger village types of dogs asking about breeding plans, as I'll need to bring in some young blood year after next as I imagine that at least one or two of my older dogs will need to be retired from the main sledding team.
Meanwhile, Kyle was talking about breeding his bitch Lucky (mom to Rose and Nels). Kyle expressed some concern that the only dog he has that is truly suitable for breeding is closely related to nearly every dog in his kennel, and he was wishing that he could bring in some new blood. My GF said "Have you looked at Swanny's new dog Torus?"
Well, one thing led to another, and now Lucky is here, visiting in my kennel for the summer. The plan is that we will breed Torus and Lucky. Each of us will get half of the litter (that's kind of unusual, more typically the stud owner gets just one puppy, the pick of the litter). I'll keep Lucky here through whelping, early puppy socialization and weaning and then send her and half the litter back to Kyle early next fall.
We are both very excited about this breeding. We share the philosophy that only exceptional sled dogs, likely to improve the breed, should be bred. Torus and Lucky both qualify and offer attributes that are very hard to find in village or "trap line" types of Alaskan huskies nowadays. (Most mushers breed for racing, which requires different traits).
When I was discussing this breeding with another friend who is familiar with Torus and the lines of both dogs, he just grinned. "You want some big, leggy, black, smart dogs, eh?" he said. Yep, that's what we're shooting for.
Here's a pic of the team at work, shot during a fun passenger race that we ran with a friend (in the basket of the sled).
Hi Swanny, itís so nice to hear from you, (itís been a while) and I was beginning to think that the team might have gotten away from you, (which I understand is the last thing that a Musher wants.. Anyway thanks for filling us in. Good luck with the breading, and keep mashing. You're the real thing.
Weíre all poets, only some of us write it down. JC 9/27/08
Anyone who has the courage to disagree, deserves all do respect. JC 4/28/08
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Take their word for it, and thatís just what youíll get.
Only the truth is worth the ultimate sacrifice.
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Iíll be the first to apologies, as long as I get one back.
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Posted: 22-Apr-2008, 08:54 AM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Two Rivers, Alaska
My Husky Team by Robert W. Service
I met an ancient man who mushed
With Peary to the Pole.
Said I, "In all that land so hushed
What most inspired your soul?"
He looked at me with bleary eye,
He scratched a hoary head:
"You know that Sourdoughs jest cain't lie
So here's the dope," he said.
"That hike was like a devil's dream,
Just blizzards, gales and fogs,
But I was leadin' wi' my team
O' seven husky dogs.
Day after day I steered my sleigh,
Yet spry o' heart was I,
And every night the Northern Light
Danced ballys in the sky.
"Them dogs o' mine seemed to divine
Their mighty destiny.
They howled with joy, and like a boy
I jined them in their glee.
While like a spark from out the dark
Fame spurred us to our goal,
On, on we sped, the winnin' sled
To gain the Pole, the POLE.
"I saw it clear, I raised a cheer,
I knowed the prize was won:
The huskies too, like wind they flew -
Them critters sure could run.
The light was dim, the site was grim,
But sunshine swept my soul,
To see - each husky lift a limb
And...irrigate the Pole."
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