While the weather still permits, I wanted to give Animosh a leader trial, and also wanted to give Thowra (formerly Dozer) a fun puppy run. For that purpose, I chose a short little 3 1/2 mile run that takes the team over flat terrain for about half the distance, then up and back down a pretty steep hill. For our work today I chose to run small teams (only six dogs in each) with an empty sled. Since I already had a six-dog gangline on my toboggan sled, I used that one, though in all truth my traveling sled would have been a better choice.
I put Ani and Thowra in the first team I ran. The entire lineup was;
Animosh and Just - lead
Thowra and Capella - swing
Nels and Beau - wheel
I couldn't have been more pleased with their performance. At first Ani was a bit snarky with Cassie and did a fair amount of rubbernecking, but overall she stayed focused on her job and apparently had a good time doing so. Thowra was all excited to be running, and his behavior was that of an experienced dog. He was harness trained by Charlie and Robin Boulding before I got him from Brent Sass, so it wasn't his first 'rodeo' by any stretch. He assisted with harnessing, was reasonably well behaved on hook-up, and ran fast, pulled hard, and did it with a big ol' doggie grin on his face the whole way.
Here is a video of our entire run, from start to finish. It's about 23 minutes long.
I've only run Aumaruq in lead once before, a leader trial which he passed with flying colors. He mostly runs back in wheel because of his large size and considerable power, but any dog that wants to run lead should be trained to do so, because you never know when that dog will be absolutely vital at the front of the team.
That team consisted of:
Cassiopeia and Just (lead)
Amazing Grace and Seamus (swing)
Denali and Chetan (wheel)
Just like last time, Aumaruq led the team as though he'd been doing it every day for his entire life. He was fully focused and intent on working hard and running fast. All of the dogs on that team were on their best behavior and we did the training circuit in very short order.
I couldn't be happier with the Stardancer Historical Sled Dogs.