|Posted on April 1, 2009 at 3:37 AM|
2008/2009 racing season
Our training started with a bit of a worry as Tazlina didn’t appear to be able to run very far at all, she was lively at home loving every minute of playing with the youngsters, we took her to see the vet in early September but there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with her, we decided to try again a little later. The others were put into compatible teams and we started to train, we tried Tazlina again and she seemed to struggle with the speed, so we would try her with the bike next, Reece could assist her by pedalling. The first time she seemed fine but the second time she tired well before ½ mile, so we decided to retire her.
Our next problem was Shak, he is a clown and even in training his concentration leaves a lot to be desired, he does have ability, but that’s not much use with a lack of concentration, I think he needed more specific training than he got, but when you have a few to train you have to train to the majority, we decided to train in bigger teams but with a heavier rig (influenced also by our main training rig breaking and having a repair that put doubt on it been a reliable piece of equipment), it wasn’t ideal but the only other option that we could see was not to train/run Shak, and he loves to run.
Our racing season began at Pembrey, our training had been ok and we would be ready for the race as long as it was a fairly short distance in both of our classes, the youngsters were keen but didn’t really have much experience for direction so they would be led by an adult at first, always Chiniak in the 3 dog class, she took Nala and Kiana, and Takotna was in charge of 2 dog running with Nyac. On the second race day sometimes the youngsters would go it alone, depending on how complicated the course was, but not this weekend, in 3 dog Chiniak took Kiana and Koyuk, 2 dog was a youngster team, Shak and Nyac. It was quite warm at Pembrey but the distances were short and all the dogs faired very well, a lovely experience for all the youngsters and the older ones, well they just love to run. None of them were phased by the long journey or the weekend away in the van, we were really pleased with the full weekends performance.
Broxa came next, icy conditions nearly spoiled the weekend altogether, but trails were put together both days and anyone that wanted to run their dogs could, Chiniak took the girls out, Nala and Kiana in 3 dog on Saturday and Nyac and Koyuk went out alone in 2 dog, the two boys were good on straights but not very good on corners, day 2 came and the course was changed, Chiniak approached a corner that she had done the day before and took it, whoops, Reece took the unwanted corner in a fashion and over the handle bars he went, so a buckled wheel and a DNF, we made a decision not to run 2 dog despite having spare wheels and offers of rig loans and went home for an early bath.
We had three fairly major issues starting in November and December, one in that our training had to change due to training rig failure and we didn‘t have a like for like replacement, another incorporating Shak into our training regime in a realistic way so that he could still run without influencing the other dog’s performances too much and a dog food issue which now I know that I should have dealt with differently, our dog food supplier failed to supply us with chicken at very short notice leaving us with a unbalanced meat diet, not enough bone content, I should have refused the order and changed to a dry food diet until the meat issue was resolved, as in my opinion a dry food balanced diet is better than a unbalanced meat diet, but you live and learn, and most importantly everyone’s ok.
Warren Wood was the third race, one of our favourites, it’s a lovely venue, Chiniak led the 3 dog on day one with Nyac and Kiana, and Tak and Koyuk went in 2 dog, nice runs although the 2 dog was void as the trail was marked wrong, on day 2 it was a 3 dog youngster team, Kiana, Nyac and Nala, well the first corner was a right, just not quite that soon after the start, Reece turned the team around and got back on track and had quite a good run after the initial mess up. 2 dog didn’t go so well as Shak decided to let Koyuk do most of the work, so Shak got a short racing career this season and was relegated to only going out in a 3 dog courtesy team and training.
Kings Forest (West) was the fourth race, another nice venue, Chiniak led the 3 dog again with Koyuk and Nyac, they loved it, two nice strong boys led by their speed freak aunt! Takotna took Kiana round in 2 dog, us not knowing that he was nearing the end of his racing career, they enjoyed it too. On Sunday Nala went out with the boys, Nyac and Koyuk in 3 dog and Takotna again went out with Kiana, the 2 dog were loving it too but again they fell foul to bad course marking and Reece decided to sit and wait for the recovery truck.
A week before the next race, Kings Forest (East), Laska came down with Vestibular Syndrome (if you would like to know more, read the vestibular syndrome section) which made it impossible for us to attend the race on the following weekend, also Nala was in season two months early which again would have made things difficult, it’s always disappointing to miss races but we have all our dogs to consider.
Sherwood Forest was the next race but we still weren’t ready as we had missed quite a bit of training due to Nala been in season and Laska needing 24hr care for over a week, but again that goes with the territory, Sherwood is quite a local venue for us and it would have been nice to go along and help out and socialise, but it wasn’t to be.
Elveden was the seventh race and to be honest the trail was a bit of a slog for us, we had lost so much fitness previously, the 3 dog was again led by Chiniak taking Nala and Kiana and the 2 dog was Nyac and Koyuk, they all found it a little on the long side for the grassy and snowy conditions but coped well, on day two Nyac, Koyuk and Kiana went it alone in 3 dog and I persuaded Reece to do 2 dog with Nala and Takotna, Reece wasn’t going to bother taking a 2 dog team out on the Sunday and it was a mistake, Nala went out too fast for Takotna and when she tired he couldn’t do all the work so Reece had to run up the hill, can I say that my name was mud. When they got back to the van Reece declared his retirement from 2 dog. Takotna was tired but he was ok and Nala doesn’t seem phased by much.
R2 was the final race but again it was one that we were to miss, we were only staying over for the Saturday night as Reece was working on the Friday, I got up at 4.15am on Saturday morning, fed the dogs at 4.35am, managed to get Reece up but he was in quite a bit of pain, we had a drink and loaded the dogs into the van, set off but only got as far as the next village before we turned around and came home, we decided that it wasn’t a good idea to be away for a couple of days having to walk and race dogs when you’re really not up to it, wish we’d decided that for the previous race when I had a bad cold!
With our racing season finished we were to continue training twice a week for as long as the weather allowed, Shak had made good improvements running next to Takotna but we had noticed more so since Elveden that Takotna had been tiring a little and as far as I was concerned he wasn’t behaving as normal at home, nothing definite, just not quite himself, he had two training runs that were really out of character for him, the second with him being nearly dangerous to run, his enthusiasm was there as always but his tug line was really slack. We thought that it could be an injury but he seemed to be moving fine at home and was jumping into Reece’s arms as normal, we thought about all sorts of medical problems and decided to take him for a blood test and a check-up. As soon as the vet listened to his heart he told us that Tak had a grade 3 heart murmur and suggested that we retire him, it wasn’t something that we were prepared to hear for our big strong boy, we still had the blood tests and they all came back normal. Leaving Tak out of the team is going to be hard and I don’t think that he will accept it without protest, but it has to be done and we still have a Big Bad Tik-y-Tak to cuddle and love.
On the Saturday of each race our remaining working dogs all went out in the courtesy class and also enjoyed their runs.