Sunday, 7 August 2011

Animal Planet's TV Documentary "Extraordinary Dogs"

TV DOCUMENTARY - "EXTRAORDINARY DOGS, episode 9" broadcast on Channel 5, Animal Planet and the Documentary Channel. The program focuses on working dogs from all sorts of environments and the science behind what makes the dogs so "extraordinary" at the job they perform. Episode 9, featured the whole team at LGO, with an interview of Mel and fellow musher Radek Havrda, loads of shots of the dogs, race and scenery. The whole team had an awesome time with lots of laughter working with such wonderful people as Nina & Dominic, so to see the fruits of their labour on TV was brilliant!

From March to mid-May, the race team focused on camp trips and long exploratory outings. Its my favourite time of year; the snow firms up enough to support a dog sled, not just on the trails but all over and with the very short nights you can drive the dogs anywhere, without needing to cut trail, perfect ingredients for exploring the mountains and wilderness. With the skiing season coming to a close, I made use of the downhill ski slopes, not quite the black run I experienced “off dog-piste” at LGO, but the blues and reds made for some excellent white knuckle mushing. The dogs fitness and strength really showed as they charged downhill leaning into their harnesses with so much force. The power is quite alarming, but its wonderful to see the dogs once used to UK sprinting, have finally decided to really lean into their harnesses. In dryland sprint its more about getting the momentum of a wheeled rig going and then sprinting flat out. In distance and on snow, its totally different, they really need to pull and trust their harness to aid their balance, reducing the risk of stumbling and injuring a shoulder. A really pleasing step forward with the dogs confidence and transition to distance sledding from dryland sprint.

I had to bounce back and forth from the UK-Norway in April, May and June for work, but although stressful and exhausting, it was wonderful to catch up with family and friends and I am so thankful I had the chance to see my granddad just before he passed away, he was a real inspiration to me and I will miss him everyday. A heartbreaking time only months after my nan died, but after more than 60 years together, they are again reunited.

Several other trips in Norway and Sweden have been great fun, visiting and catching up with musher friends and buying some dogs to add to the race team. The 8 new dogs settled in quickly with the pack and within a couple of weeks were all free running together happily.

While the dogs have some RnR, I’ve been enjoying some other activities, fjell running, mountain hiking, kayaking, lake swimming and downhill mountain biking. Combining these sports with scouting out new routes and clearing trails ready for winter.

Happy trails

NSHK Handlers Race - 2x 50km.
A really great fun event, perfect snow conditions, great company and a wonderful banquet, Nigel did an excellent job driving the dogs at this pure breed Siberian Husky race, covering 100km over 2 days. He had loads of fun and finished in 2nd place.