Dog mushing Posted : 5 Dec, 2013 03:26 PM
Here is an odd one! Dog mushing! Who is a fan? Dog mushing is much more than what you think of. Dog mushing has 3 main sectors, perhaps to some regard you can consider a 4th though the last two are related to some extent. First you have Long distance mushing, think Iditarod and Yukon Quest. Iditarod being the most well known among many. It is a 1,000 mile race that can take some of the fastest teams about 8-9 days to complete. That is an average of about 100 miles or more a day! Pacing at about 5-9 mph, these dogs can go for well over 12 hours with brief breaks along the way. Second is mid distance, these dogs run maybe 15-40 miles at paces of about 10-15 mph. These dogs are built more for speed unlike their long distance cousins who are built for the endurance and hardiness to tolerate extreme conditions of such long races. The next is spring races where they are typically 3-10 miles depending on the number of dogs. The best teams can average well over 20 mph over the course of that distance. The distance depends on the number of dogs on a team (4/6/8 or open class which may be 10 or more). The fourth is Dryland mushing which is the version without snow, but using carts or other equipment. These may be 1-3 miles depending on what is done. rig classes, 2 dog bike, 2 dog scooter classes are ran for 2-3 miles. The one dog bike and scooters, as well as canicross (person running with dog tethered to help pull) is a 1-2 mile course. Most of these dryland mushers will use these dogs in sprint sled classes or skijoring (skiing with dog tethered) when the snow hits. Some of the best long distance mushers are those who win the Iditarod like last year\'s Dallas Seavey (whose father and grandfather raced), or Lance Mackey who won the Iditarod I believe 4 years in a row and in one of those won the Yukon Quest. Yukon Quest is the same version but much more mentally challenging with fewer checkpoints requiring more outdoor camping. Mid distance mushers, big names are Streepers. If you have a Streeper dog, you got a fast hound! In the International Pedigree STage Stop race L. Mackey and one of the Streeper men raced. So picture two mushers, one is a long distance musher (slow and easy wins) and a mid distance musher (speedier dogs) on a course that took a few days to complete. The winner of the IPSS in 2011 was Blayne Streeper, beating Mackey. Perhaps one of the best Midwest dog mushers in sprint racing is Jan Bootz-Dittmar from Wisconsin. Has many medals from ISDRA (International Sled Dog Racing Association) and has many many years under her belt. There are many great sprint dog teams. Dog mushing is my motivation to be an athlete. Though I never did school sports, this mushing is my gateway to live active and healthy. Being the best dog team I can have with my recreational team. I think we are pretty darn good! Lot of pride in my dogs! Perhaps you have a dog that pulls, with a little training and the proper equipment, you can be on your way to a dog mushing hobby whether on a sled or for those who lack it, dryland version. Happy Mushing!