RED LETTER DAY IN THE STARDANCER TEAM
One of our two-year olds from the Torus / Lucky litter had a first "serious" experience running in lead today, and performed brilliantly. Here's how it came down. I have to prepare to return to work, but stole some time to do some gee/haw and highway crossing training. I decided to run one of the two-year olds in lead next to Torus, just to see how the young dog would do. I was ASTOUNDED by the dog's performance. We went out the yard onto baseline, took a "haw" onto Two Rivers Rd trail, took a "gee" toward the trailhead parking lot, a "haw" followed by another and then yet another to complete the loop to return toward the highway crossing.
We went "haw" to pass the powerline right of way that is our home trail, a solid "whoa" and wait at the highway, straight across the highway to an immediate left turn, then down that trail (I think it's called the "Golden Heart Trail" to take a gee onto the trail that drops down to the four-way intersection at Baseline Trail. We went "haw" onto baseline trail to the survey line we used earlier in the week to return, but instead of going left we turned "gee", which created some confusion with Torus that we worked through fairly quickly.
That loop required a gee, and then another "gee" (with a musher-crash into a tree) to complete the circle and head back to the 4-way intersection. We went "straight ahead" through the intersection, "haw" back onto Golden Heart Trail, another "whoa" and wait until I was sure oncoming traffic saw us and was stopping. Then across the highway, past our home trail again and returning to the Trailhead Turnaround Loop, which we ran in the opposite direction (requiring a "haw" followed by an immediate "gee". Returning southbound again we took the "gee" onto the home trail, and headed for the house.
That is a LOT of gee/haw work for a brand new leader, yet this dog performed it all quite brilliantly, following Torus' lead.
Have you figured out yet who the newly promoted leader is? Your choices are Cassiopeia, Capella or Orion. If you watch the video (it's long - 10 minutes, but highlights all the various twists and turns), you'll soon have the answer.
If you aren't interested in spending so much time downloading the video, the answer can also be found in today's training journal entry, below:
Preparing to return to work, so only had time to run 1 team, but it was a RED LETTER DAY, as one of the two-year old 'puppies' earned a promotion to Lead Dog status.
4.5 miles. Home to Powerline ROW to Two Rivers Road trail to Trail Head Turnaround past Powerline ROW to CHSR crossing, to drop down trail to Baseline to survey line turning southbound, circling back around to go through 4 way intersection at Baseline, return to highway crossing, past Powerline ROW (home trail) to run opposite direction at Trail Head Turnaround back to Powerline ROW and home.
LOTS of gee/haw work with a new leader up; front.
Torus and Orion (lead)
Amazing Grace (single swing/team)
Nels & Seamus (wheel)
It took a bit to convince Orion to "line out" after hook-up, but once we launched he was fine. At first he spent a lot of time trying to run in the deep snow off the side of the trail, but he eventually settled down and did a great job responding to cues with his father, Torus. He worked just as hard as he always does and was not a problem during the run.
Grace was grabbing at neck and gangline during hook-up, but I didn't launch until she stopped doing so. She tried grabbing the line again early in the run, but I called her name and she corrected and settle down to business.
Nels ended up under the gangline and was crowding Seamus through a good portion of the run, until I stopped on a new trail and was able to help him fix it. Again no further problems.
Instead of turning left onto the survey trail to make the return loop, I chose to go right, following a trail that Ted had explored earlier today. As we made the turn back onto the north/south crossover trail that eventually goes to Jenny M Creek Hill, I hit a tree with my right side, totally showered in snow and bruised my arm, but no other damage done.
The team had no problem running past our home trail in either direction. I couldn't ask for a better introduction to lead for Orion, and he performed brilliantly up front.