One of the fun things about our parties is that with four mushers we can safely train a LOT of dogs during the day, even now in mid-winter when we can only count on about 5 hours of possible daylight. We can also run compatible dogs from different teams together, giving the dogs exposure to working with "strangers" and experience being handled by less familiar people. Mostly it's a way for us to help motivate each other, and have additional 'educated' eyes evaluating our dogs.
With a couple of inches of new snow on the ground, Lynn O and I decided to train 'our' dogs with the sled rather than on four wheelers. She and I ran three different teams over the course of the day, for a total of 19 dogs. Here is the training report from our endeavor:
12-08-07, Saturday: Lynn O and I trained three teams on the toboggan sled today. Relatively warm day (in the +20 degree range). Packed trails with a couple of inches of powder on some side trails, which we took full advantage of. Edie Forrest and Randy Dunbar trained with us today, so we mixed and matched dogs from different teams to give everyone a chance to go. They ran two BIG teams on the fourwheeler, followed by an 8 dog team on a sled.
Team #1: 7 miles, max speed 14.6 and moving average 9.1 MPH
Daisy and Gump – then Valentine (Lynn's)
Valentine and (Edie and Randy's) Maddy – Then Gump and Maddy
Sheenjek and Seamus
I kept Gump up front with Daisy for a good long time to slow the team a bit and reduce the risk of Daisy reinjuring herself. That lasted for about two miles before Gump was slack on his tug more than tight, at which point even I decided we were moving way too slowly. We switched Gump for Valentine and things moved along at a much more reasonable pace.
We had a couple of head on passes and they did OK, though nothing to boast about. Sheenjek wants to be nosy and is big enough to cause havoc when he tries. Nonetheless there were not major tangles or problems, just a matter of paying very close attention to the dogs.
Team #2: 8.3 miles, max speed 14.3 mph, moving average speed 8.0 mph.
We changed leaders SO many times that the only dog on this team who didn’t take a turn in lead was Grace. Here is the line up at the start:
Dutchess & Rose
Grace & Nels
Spruce & Flicka (Edie and Randy's)
Rose did pretty good for a couple of miles, but then was distracted by her brother behind, so we made a switch to;
Dutchess & Nels
Grace & Rose
Spruce & Flicka
We ran that team pretty much until the mid-point of the run, but Grace was being a real snot with Rose, so we made another switch to, um......
Dutchess & Spruce
Grace & Flicka
Nels & Rose
We rant that configuration for two or three miles and then decided that Flicka really deserved a turn in lead, so we ran;
Dutchess & Flicka
Grace & Spruce
Nels & Rose
Team #3 – Older or slower dogs that still need to keep body and brain together. 3.75 miles, max speed 11.- mph, moving average 8.3 This team was:
Fame & Marten
Karma & Calypso
Spook & Mary
We took these guys meandering about Swenson’s field, and they were just a lovely bunch of dogs. No major issues at all in the team, just a bunch of good old dogs have a good time as the sun set.