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in the2004lditarod Cover:MitchSeavev

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Mitch Seavey lditarod GhamPion 2OO4

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Mitch Seavey and team on their way to first place in the 2004 lditarod

photo: @2004 Jeff Schultz www'alaskastock'com

is enough of us between my boys and I that are Iditarod veterI spokewith Mitch Seaaeyin earlylrtrooemberThere ans, that the information we give out is extremely high qualiry we feel. We know what we are talking about, we've been doing it all our this year. He was packing up the dog truck and on his way out of the South Central Alaskan town of Sterling to travel north to get some snow training with the dogs. They usually go for a couple of weeks at a time, and it is a yearly event for Mitch and his team. Various winters he has spent a large portion of the winter up in Nenana, Two Rivers, or over in Lake Louise. "This time of year we need to be on snow, and they are more likely to have it than we are," Mitch says. "We are kind of shut down right now, it is frozen pretty hard without a lot of snow" SDS: Hi Mitch, for our readers out there who may not know how you came to be an Iditarod champiory tell me a little about your background? MS: I was born in Minnesota, and grew up in Seward, AK. We moved there when I was 4 yrs. old, just in time for the 1964earthquake. My dad got into dogs almost immediately through a fellow school teacher in Seward. Running dogs was one of my dad's dreams, and was the main reason we moved to Alaska in the first place. S DS: Did you h ave d ogs in M innes ot a? MS: No. SDS: Wow, that is quite a "follow your dream" type of move, to just pick up and take the family to Alaska. MS: That is exactly it, Alaska was a dream {or my dad. So at age 4, I became an Alaskan. Almost immediately my dad became acquainted and friends with foe Redington Sr. They had the Aurora dog mushers club, and as a small kid, I can remember running races off of Knik lake over there. This school teacher friend of my dad's, Tom Johnsory is one of the people along with joe who is connected with originating the Iditarod race. He was a close family friend, and commercial fishing partner with my dad. One of our early contacts with Joe was leasing a fishing boat from him, but that is whole other story! The boat sits now, as it has for decades,beached on the tidal flats out in front of the Knik bar. SDS: Your dad ran the first Iditarod, and how many did he run total? MS: He ran the first two, 7973& 1974and then becausehe was a high school teachel it was difficult to get time off, so he took a hiatus then ran again in 1,997,when it was the 25th anniversary of the race, then again in 2001when my son Danny raced. SDS: Was it always a natural thing, to want to be involved with dogs or did you want to do more traditional sports while you were growing up? MS: I did quite a few other things, we had horses as well, we did hunting with horses. I was also involved with high school wrestling, my dad was the wrestling coach at Seward high school. I always took to the dogs though, and my sister took to the horses which she is still invoived with. Growing up, I mean my dad had a good job and all, but we moved into a house that didn't have electricity when we moved iry there was no phone there at any time when I lived there, we were 5 miles out at the end of the road, had to plow it ourselves, that sort of thing. SDS: The real Alaskan lifestyle. MS: Exactly, we were busy just living there. SDS: I find it interesting that mushers can make a living with dogs in addition to racing. Or maybe I should say the opposite, but in any case, you run a hugely successful touring business outside of the sport, can you describethat a bit? MS: Our tour at our property in Seward, which is my parents property, is about an hour and a half tour including a two mile ride on a "custom wheeled sled". The ride goes through the woods, up the canyon next to a mountain it is really beautiful. It is a real wilderness ride, it is not just around a parking lot. It is enough that people can get a sensefor what it is like to be out in the woods with dogs. It is extremely popular. We also have kennel and equipment demonstrations.

lives. It is not a1lserious though, it has a decidedly humorous bend to it. People really have a good time. The tour has been ranked as one of Alaska's top twenty attractions, and it was voted by Alaska Magazine readers as Alaska's best sled dog tour. We are very proud of it, and have been doing it for 11yrs. We host thousands of people, and we need to represent the sport to the public in a positive uplifting manner. It is extremely rare to have a negative comment, some people come in with a certain mind se! but on that note, we are pretty happy with the number of people we have had whose points of view about the sport we have turned around. When you hook up 12 dogs and they are all happy and excited to go, it is pretty hard for people to cling to their misconceptions that the dogs are abused or forced to run. SDS: Your sonshave grown up around dogs and dog racing much the same as you did. MS: Yeall, only more so! SDS: Do they want to make a careerout of working with dogs? MS: They are not necessarily talking about making a career out of it. My oldest son Danny is about to graduate from college with a business degree, he is an extremely important part of the management of our sled dog tour company. He is also an excellent dog musher and I wouldn't be surprised if you seehim signed up for the Iditarod again in the near future. My second oldest son Tyrell is signed up to run the Iditarod this year, he spent one year in college, didn't think too much of it, so he took some time off to work in the family businessand run dogs. He has a full four year scholarship so he'll probably go back, but he is also the one that I would think would end up running dogs in the end. Dallas is the third oldest son he is an outstanding wrestler - Greco Roman national champion in his age group, and he is looking at a wrestling scholarship to go to college. His goal is to wrest1ein the Olympics for the U.S.A. SDS: I saw you and Tyrell talk at the ADMA symposium, and was really impressed by the focus and maturity of a young adult his age (20). Do you think the demands of taking care of the dogs and the 1essons learned working with them, from touring to competitiory have been helpful lessons in raising children? MS: That is exactly the case. We also home school all of our childrery so they spend a whole lot of time around adults rather than around younger kids. I meary they have friends and all and do normal kid stuff too. We are really proud of them. SDS: Can you describe the strain of Alaskan Husky you use for the Iditarod, and are they the same dogs you use in the touring business? MS: We use the same dogs year round. I have currently have 150 dogs plus puppies. My main racing dogs are off duty from the end of the Iditarod until the middle of June. They do touring all through the summer, get a few weeks of complete rest time in August, then in September we start ATV training for racing. Our strain of dogs is a cross of traditional distance dogs with sprint dogs and our own special blend of herbs and spices! SDS: You've entered three teams in the Iditarod, how many dogs are in training for this? MS: At the present time Tyrell and I are training 66 dogs, we are training together. Dallas has another group of 35 dogs for the puppy team in the Iditarod. Our puppy team are really dogs all over 2 yrs old. We don't run yearlings, or young dogs in the race. We have another group of 35-40 yearlings and older leaders to keep them going in the right direction. Those dogs do the tours in the winter when the other dogs are training to race. SDS: In August after you've rested the tour dogs that are going to race in the upcoming yea1,does it take a long time to get them to adapt to training for racing versus touring? MS: Well, you are getting into the good stuff here. First of all our cart

"I had been thinking that 2004 zlould be our year. As eachmonth u)entby, I had moreend moreconfidencethat I would be right."

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rides aren't that slor'v. Our touring cart .holds 7 peop.le, and the {irst I have are extremelv driven, high attitude and ph.ysi.callyextrem.ely rnileisuphillslightly, thc-1.r'tall,vhave to \^,r)l-k.Cjoingbackdonn we capable. We trait-rthem st'rthey have an immense anrount of confiTheythinkthey dence,itreall-vneveroccrrrstothernthattheycanfail. are on the brakes tl-rer,vholcway. When lve start ATV tlairring in can do whatever we ask of thenr. In turn we lre\/erask them io do Septembel,weffoevenslowel.Youcan'tgoarwslolvertllanlvegoin more than they are capableof. We set up all of our training scssions, our early ATV tr"rin ing . even pu.ppy walks, so that the dogs can succeed.13ythe tinr.ethey get SDS: Holr' slorv, are you talking 7-8 mph? into my group a ferv years laier, they have never failed at anything. MS: I'm talking 1-2 mph going up the hills, my dogs learn and know They just believe that they can do anything they set oltt to do. That horv to pu11.The ATV is in trsl gear r'vith the motor off ! That's lrow we merrl .al i ty i s i mnrensel y r al uabl e i rr l orrg di stance l aci n g. sta|t SDS: Do you ever buy dogs, and if vou do, do 1.ounotice a differcncc SDS: Do you think r'-orking that slor""'and hard limits how fast they in thcir statc of nrind from the dogs that have the r,vhole "seavey concan.go nhen they h.ave the chance, I mean because of muscie develf i dencc proF,r.rm " ab:o |bcd I r.rnr pu ppvhot'd ? opment and a trained pace? MS: Well it stalts r,r'ith genetics, my dogs are irrclined and physically MS: In buying dogs, I try b buy dogs tirat are similar to the ones I am raising. I'm more likeJy to buy dogs for breeding. Thi.s pasi summer able to really \,vant to go fast. In terms of training, there are diffcrent I bought cluite a {ev,,clogs,and some of them arc outstandins and I'm ways to train differcnt dogs. Ycals ago I had dogs that'r.veleslowcr andlneed.edtotrainthemtogofaster. T1-rereisar,."'holedif{erentmen- .really impressed witl-r them, and some of then-rare disappointing. talitl, in training a slor,r-erdog to go faster. What I have nor,r,are dogs Thev all went into the puppy group (n,ith the 2 yr olds) beiause even that tend to be too fast for the lditarod. I have to train them to go if they are older they havcn't been in my program and I carr't expect thern to do what I'm about to go do. slower. I reallv clon't knorv if it limits iheir top end becauseI could SDS: Where does someoner.,n'lio has won the Iditaro,.lgo to buy dogs? cafe less aboni 23 mph. I can 5;o 20 mph clown hills an<l not a dog J.ooksback ol misses a step, a.rrdthat is way faster than I r-reedto go in J.m.ean w.heredo you go from there? the race.There are some clogsthat sirnply can't do th.rt. Those are the MS: I'm looking at bloodlines so I'm looking for breedir-rgpotential. same dogs I have four-rdthat have tror-rblegoing 11 days and There are some people th.rt have awesome dogs tJr.rtaren't racing or aren't fitting into their proglams if they are racing. Maybe I can take days. M1, goal is to have dogs that are so physical.l_v capablethat they dcln' t eve rrea llyg ettire d. I nr adeac om m elr t at W hit eM ou n t . r i n t h i s t h a t d o g , t h e u n d e r a c h i e v e r , a n d m a k e a s u p e r s t a r o u to f i t. year, that this was the {irst time my clogs looked tired. That lr'as SDS: Did your dad. use the same bloodlines, or have you taken vour becauseI had a l4 hr. run, nhich was lor"rgerthan it should have been ou,n breetling progranr in a different direction? MS: t havc dogs in the yard that are relatcd back to his older lines of because the trail markers lt'cre screu-ed r-rp. lt botirerecl me that thel' looke.ltile cl.b ccatr'e LJr relhpllli6 lhar ebeen. f helv peof c l o g r 1 f i 3 1 d o g , '. f h r '*e t l r , 8 : w t 'r l b i g g , t 'r h . c a v i u r a n d n t o n ' l i ke tl a d i l i o n a l The tditarodtrait travetsthrough someof the mostbeautitul,and desotateplaceson the planet,even if they don t look like thisplanet. photo @2004 Jeff

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Siberian Huskies. Mine are a little dif{erent. t h. ' dogr t hat r un t he l d i t a r o d S D S : H ow much,a nd h ow, . lo y ou t hin- 1. c ornpet iIive lyh ave cha ng ed? MS: In generalthe size of the dog has gotten smalle4 but there are still some good size dogs that can do well in the Iditarod, they are not the Malaiiute types oieven the Siberian bodv types, they are more of the h o und-cro sstype . It d ep en dson t he whole pac k ageof m ent a la t f i t u d e plus physical capability. Part of it is the trail is probably better than it was in the past, and we can race different types of dogs then we could i n t he pa: t. SDS: Why is the trail better now? M S : W ell, as much as we c om plain about t he I r on Dog Sno w m o b i l e race that uses the trail be{ore Iditarod, at least there has been soitrething over most of the trail before u,e get there. Parts ol it does get demolished though, and you wish they didn't go over it wi'th sn iw: mobiles. SDS: This year you are fielding three teams: yourself, T}te1l and Dallas. I ary assuming you are getting the "A" team, are Tyrell:and Dallas taking adults that are competitive, or are they just trainirlg dogq for [uture races? MS: It iq going to be interesting. I know I'll have the best team, lrut Tyrell will have a goocl team we ate planning something like milrbe a day behind. It is or*y his second race, he knows what he is,doing though and plans on being competitive, SDS: Although it is an accomplishment just to finish the raleit)tou have had vary,ing amounts of success- placing only in the top ien |n 1q98& 2000 (4th & 9th) out of 10 other attempts. In 2001 you dropped to 42nd,place. What happened in that race, how <Jidyou bquqce b;ak? MS: That race I probably could have done a little betteu may!,e 28th

or something, but that was the same year we had 3 generatioris of S e a v e y si n t h e r a c e . M y d a d a n d D a n r r y w e r e r u n n i n g al so . l s[a r tcd o u t t h e r a c eo n m y c o m p e t i t i v es c h e d u l eh, a d v a r y i n g pr o b l e m s.w e l l y o u c o u l d s a y m e l t d o w n s ,s o I e n d e d u p s t a y i r r gi n C r a yl i n g fo r so m e t h i n g l i k e 5 0 h r s . I c o u l d h a v e s c r a t c h e do r s l r u g g l e do n , b u t I to o k a c o u p l e d a y * r e s t . l e l l h e d o g s r e s t a n d w a i t e d f o r m y o th e r l a m i l y members. It's important !o say that the dogs never quit. They would have plowed through it, but I knew we wouldrltbe a top finisher and ii wouldn't be productive We had a really great itfip together from t h e r e , '. ' . .,... SDS: Well you bounced back after Lha[,and 3 vears later won. Did Vou e\pect to run dt the front in this racel t" a. pr"rf much what I did. I krew I had a really iai' r!"p".,J good team,we had made a tot of changesin recentyears.We changed our geneiicsduring a four year process.I had been thinking that 2004 w o u l d b e o u r y e a r . A s e a c h m o n t h w e n l .b y d u r i n g t h a t p r e vi o u s4 yeais, I had more and more con{idence that I would'be righ1,, I ig a,slam dunk" even if we had a really good race.and ended up in t h e t o p 5 , I w o u l d h a v e b c c n h a p p y . Y o u c a n 't c o n t r o lw h a I p o si ti o n you are going to firrishin, but you have a feelingat the end of the race if it has beena successor nol. S D S : D o y o u t h i n k y o u c a u g h ta n y o n eb y s u r p r i s ew i t h yo u r r e su l t? . e n y o u l o o k a Ll h e M S : I i m a g i n e I c a u g h t e v e r y o n eb y s u r p p i s s Wh m e d i a i n t h e e a r l y p a r t o f t h e r a c e ,I m i g h t a s w e l l n o t h a vee ve n b e e n there. Not all reportersare really all that astute as to what i: really golng on,: They see tlie names, they see the checkpoint time$, &ey i u m p i n l i n e a n d s a y t h e s a m et h i n g . M e a n t i m e ,I h a d f aste ra n d fa ste r times and an ever improving position,and was in the running before most of the media realized it. co p4ge

Mitch Seaveyinterview continued from previous page race the past few years. Has this kind of experimentation with mushSDS: Was that the plan from the beginning, to hang back from the ing tools always been there but not publicized, or are there genuinely front and then make a move later in the race, or did it morph as the many new things being tried currently? race played out? MS: A lot of things we do we've been doing for years. Then other MS: Looking at the stats, that is kind of a way to describe it. I can't control what other people do. What you're seeing as a reporter is things show up and immediately articles appear and they are touted as the greatestthing since dog booties. We've had spreadersin our Mitch is in Bth, in 4th, in 1st whatever. What I'm seeing is that I'm runtow lines for at least B yrs. and I've never been asked about it, it just ning the race on a conservative schedule. The closer to the end of the race, the less conservative I have to be. If that puts me ahead of all the baffles me. Now we've added spreaders in the harnesses which I think is the single most important innovation that has happened in a other teams, then I'm winning the race. long, long time. We do have many other inr-rovationsthat aren't readSDS: Do you ever take into account what the other teams are doing as far as it affecting your own race plan? ily apparent. The reporters and journalist notice the most obvious MS: I do take into account the other teams. This things at the starting 1ine,but they don't come to our kennel, they don't come to us and ask us, or year it meant that I was able to give my dogs look closely enough at the starting 1ine,or come extra rest. I could see that I was running faster to training sessions, so they notice only the big and getting closer to the front. By allowing the dogs to rest more, it was like money in the bank. obvious things. For me innovation means that If you are fast, well rested and at or near the you can improve a situation or solve a known front you are pretty dangerous. Take away one probiem without creating other problems. If you give up one probiem for another set of problems of those and it is different. Having said that, you really haven't helped yourself. there may be some situations where you may SDS: What is really interesting to me is hearing want to jump out ahead of someone,but we are running this race really close to what we each you speak about your harnesses on the same feel is the limits of our dogs' abilities. If I'm stage as Jeff King this past Fall. You were talking about how these harnessesand gangline setups doing that already, if another musher leaves a al1ow your dogs to pull more and hardel, and checkpoint before I'm ready to go, what do I gain Mitch Seavey and wife Jeanine celebrate basically Jeff was saying the exact opposite. He by shorting my dogs on rest and jumping out in Nome, 2004. photo : @2004 Jeff believes by having the dog pu1l less, it avoids there to go with him? I gain nothing. I'm already Sch ultz staying the minimum that I feel I can stay. some injuries, and allows him to take a larger SDS: Is it more important to draw out a plan and stick to it, or is it team to Nome. It was as if you guys were speaking a different lanmore helpful to be able to "read" the race and your team and run the guage, but you were both talking about Iditarod. It is hard to fault race accordingly? either result this past year. MS: You have to read the race to the extent that you pencil in approxMS: Yes, there is a friendly argument going on between us. We cerimate running time between checkpoints before you leave. This year tainly admire each other for taking the steps to look at something difruns were taking at least a couple of hours longer. You have to react to ferent. Most people just buy what is on the shelf and never think that based on what your team is doing. If they are handling it maybe about it again. I wish Jeff hadn't finished so well this year, so that I you don't have to react at all. could really point to my harnesses and say how much better they are! My philosophy is that my dogs have got to pull, and puIl hard. But SDS: If your run takes longel, do you rest them an equal amount longer? there is certainly no design in my harness that mandates the dog pulls MS: That depends on what you seein your team. If your dog team can hard, it can rest. That gets to the meat of the subject, which is the trainhandle i! if a run takes 2 hrs longer than expected and your team looks ing. Like I said earlier I have a lot of high energy dogs and we spend a lot of time getting them to settle down, if they know in their brains good you maybe don't have to adjust. If they don't look so good, maybe you better give them an extra two hours rest or plan on splitto settle down and pace themselves, than our harness is ideal. ting up the next run. There are a lot of variables. It is easy for us to SDS: What companies have you partnered with to help you run the Iditarod each year. plan a winning schedule at home. Getting it done is a little harder. SDS: Ok, on paper, at home, is your run/rest scheduleequal amounts MS: Taiga harnesseshave made all the different prototypes and have done a real good job with that. of time? MS: In general my run to rest schedule is negative for resting. But SDS: Are those harnesses for sale to the public? that is becausewhen you look at the times and the schedule, at the end MS: Yes,they are making them and selling them through different outlets. Last year we switched to Blackwood 7000 dog food as a result of of the race you are doing some phenomenal things and the finish line testing a lot of different dog foods in our kennel. That was the one that comes along and saves you, basically. SDS: Robert Sorli, the 2003 winnel, will be back for this race. He told seemed to perform the best. After the race this year, they became a us in the last issue that his plan is the same as it was in 2003, to get out sponsor. I think it is important to note that I was a customer and paid front and stay out front. In your opinion is this a good plan, would it for the product well before I even asked them for a sponsorship. work for you? SDS: What kind of sled do you run in the race? MS: My opinion is thai plan would work really well in the MS: I build my own, but it is based on one of the best sled innovations Finnmarkslopet, which is only a 600 mile race. It worked reasonable of all time, and that is Charlie Bouldings easy rider model sled. That well in the 2003 Iditarod, because it was flat and because the race start is an innovation that took hold immediately because it is clearly better. moved to Fairbanks that year, everyone else was also a rookie on the Essentially the front two stanchions are angled forward and there is a first part of the trail. Its effectiveness on the traditional trail, let's say rear stanchion that doesn't come up higher than the bed of the sled. Iast year's Northern route, was pretty good. I thought Kjetil Backen The sled rides very nicely, is extremely flexible and is very light ran a really impressive race. The Southern route is even tougher than weight. the Northern route, so that leaves the open ended question and we SDS: How many more years do you see yourself entering the won't know until March. Iditarod? MS: I can't see the end of it yet. I have no plans to change or do anySDS: Other than the Iditarod, what other races do you plan on doing in preparation this year? thing different. MS: I'm planning on the Kusko, I may run the Knik 200, and we'Il run SDS: Well thanks for the time Mitch, I know it is a busy time of year for you. the Tustemena 200 also. SDS: There seem to be many new pieces of equipmen! from harness- MS: No problem, I'm really glad to see the magazine out there. es to sleds; some high-tech some low-tech, that are popping up in the





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"The skijoring dog should be strong.I prefer it to be 30 kg or more. Long legs and a long back.But the headis the most important factor",

L"nuBoysen Hillestad

In Sweden and Norway competitors in the pulka style have been dominating their sport for years at all the bigger championships. But the pulka sport has been struggling for the last 5 to 10 years with less and less entries at their races,finding it harder and harder to recruit new competitors. The only class that actually has increased and attracts more mushers every year, is skijoring. With this new wind blowing over the sDort, even some of the most successfulpulka racers have more or less changed over to this popular form of their sport, skijoring. To find out where the skijoring sport is heading in Norway and Swedery I decided to talk to, Lena Boysen Hillestad, Mikkel Myhre and P-O \orgren three top athletesin their sport. First a little Scandinavianhistory lesson: To use one or two, or even three dogs to pull a person on skis, with or without a sled, has a long tradition in Norway and Sweden.This was a way to work with, and to use dogs during the winter, long before any one did know of it as "skijoring" or pulka sport. In Sweden the first race in the pulka sport was held 1938in Sundsvall. The majority of entries in races during these days where militaries and most of the dogs that they used were German Shepherds. Since than the sport has grown and grown.

and skijoring. "I have been working with dogs stnce 1979; I started out with huntingdogs and in 1987I started training rny dogs with skis and a pulka." P-O Norgren has during his career competed at multiple national championships, three European Championships and one World Championship. He is now the team leader for the Swedish National team in pulka and skijoring. Skijoring dogs I remember cross-country skiing, years ago back in Sweden. I never tried skijoring but I am sure that you need a dog that is strong and has a lot of self-confidence to help pull the skier around the trail, a dog that is not scared of skis and that can be a leader all bv him or her se1f.I wonder how big a part of a successfulskijoring team the dog makes up - compared to the musher? "I estimatethat the dog is 75 percentof the team and the musher is 25 percent." Mikkel Myhre does not think twice before he gives me this formula. Mikkel Myhre has been racing since1983 and is now one of Norway's top competitors in the pulka and skijoring. So what kind of dog would you choose, Mikkel? "I would get a strong and fast purebred German Shorthaired Pointer (Vorsteh)," Mikkel answers. Do you think that there are any other breeds that can do well as a skijoring dog? "Of course, there are lots of different breeds of dogs that can be used as skijoring dogs but for me there is only one breed."

When I talk to P-O Norgren about dogs suitable for skijoring his answers is: "I consider all dogs that can maintain a high speed for a longer distance good for skijoring and another important factor is that they have to do that all alone. I Lena Boysen Hillestad knows what she wants believe that we will see more proven sled dogs from her dogs and from the sport that she loves P-ONorgren, Sweden, attheEuropean Champtonshipin the skijoring classes in the future. Lena with all her heart. Lena lives just outside Oslo 1995at SerreChevalier PONorgren, with Boysen Hillestad knows what her perfect skijorin France. finishlinein the comingtowards in Norway and is one of the most successful ski- KillroyandVegard ing dog looks like. "Long legs, long back and a secondand joring mushers in the world right now. She is pulka2 dogclass11km.P-Ofinished good head. I like a "Greyster", a mix between one of the top mushers in the part of the sled gota silvermedal' German Shorthaired Pointer and Grevhound" dog sport that is growing and attractsmore and more mushers world What do you look for when you choose a good skijoring dog? wide year by year. Before Lena became a successfulskijorer she also "Head and body. I must like his/her attitude!" Do you consider any dominated the oulka soort with several medals in both World- and other breed of dogs to be used in skijoring? "The dog should be strong. European Championships. I prefer 30 kg or more. But the head is the most important factor.A big But wh ere is skijor ings t andingr ight now? Alaskan/Greyster or German ShorthairedPointer is also good. But it's Lena answers my question rapidly: hard to find a big enough Alaskan, not for recreational skijoring, but "We have some "pu1ka-diehards" that really want to stop the skijoring for winning the WC." from taking part in the championships here in Norway. But skijoring is acceptedas a recruiting part of the sport. Some of us hope that ski- Tiaining joring will have the same acceptanceas pulka have. Becauseskijoring is bigger than pulka in Europe, and we need all the participants we can I feel a little bit humbled when I ask Lena about training. Just listen to get. And maybe some of the skijorerswill try pulka later...". this: Lena enteredher first race1979;it was in pulka style.And she did just great. Since then she has won 20 Norwegian Championships. 13 When I ask the same question to P-O Norgren, in Sweden his answer European Championships and 13 World Championships. She must is: "Right now it is quiet and kind of still in the sport here in Sweden, know exactly how to train dogs to become winners and champions. actually quite a big decrease in participants at the pulka races. But How do you do it? "Keep the motivation high; always make the trainhopefully this trend will change, for the coming seasonwe have lots of ing fun. Try to change places, distances and methods" Lena answers races on the calendar and maybe we will se an increase of starting my questions. "Huppy dogs that trust you will give you so much back. teams since we now have skijoring classesas well." It is all about having fun with the dogs. But remember they are not P-O Norgren is one of Sweden's most experiencedmushers in pulka machines, they deserve respect. The dog and the skier are a team. Both

parts must be good. The mental part and signals between the team are veryrimportant." Lena won't go out training if it is warmer than 1BC. "That is my heat limi!" she tells me. ,,I startlall trainrng in August ancl take mv dogs out for 5 to 15 km with my bike. I keep-the do"gs loop_ ing, but no stress.We stop for one or two times, take a swim Ind just have fun together." Later onin the fall and early winter, trainir-rgfor Lenas dog's means to be out 5 to 6 times a week for 10 to 25 km. This tr:ainingis a rnix between free running and bikejoring. ,,As soon as we get good snow conditions I try to do 75 p"..",-,i of tire training skijoring with mv dogs and mix this with free running. I actually uiro tiuir.l my skijoring dogs witl-r a pulka or with sled once a week and this type of is short a.d fast. But this training is only for aclult dogs, n'ot for yearlings. A lot and hard training during the fall gives me'a big advantagein the racing season,Lena explains.,, During"the seul son Lena prefers to train her dogs four times a week at distancesfrom 5 to 15 km. ,,We go out skijoring and this is short and fast. Lots of fun for the dogs, no hard training because we did that in rhe fall. Al1 the hard work has to be done before you start racing." P-O Norgren, Sweden's national t ea m le ad er h as h is opinior r about training. "The human part of the skijoring team has to train as hard as a harcl traininp; cross-country skier. Actually it depends on how you h an dle th e t r aining, some have to train mor.e and some iess. When it comes to training the dog I suggestlots of training with harness and line. \ot too much free r unnir r g, becausethat is just for fun. No, instead try to train interval trainin g. lbe lieve in a t r aining program that comes as close to raclng as possible. I mean, we do not race with clog'sfree running, so why shoulcl you train them free running? Tiain them to become really hard working skijoring dogs and that means running in harness." p-O is eager to tell me more about his training methods. "You have to train your dog and prepare them for racing. you have to improve their weakest point. Let's say that you have a dog that's not strong enough, photoby KarlHeinzRaubuch then you have to strengthen that dog. Or if a dog is slow running up hill, train it to run fast up hill. I my self once had a dog, his name woi Kill.oy, that was extremely fast thl first 10 to 12 km, but the race was 15 km so we would lose the race in the last 3 km. What I did was to start to train Killroy,s endurance with_ lgorilq,gpeed. I tell you_that we got o.r. ,"*u.d for this training. :", Together Killroy and I started to win ail the races we entered. oh, whit a nice feeling when you have successwith your training.,, Equipment The skijoring team needs a fast, strong dog, a good skier and of course you need good skis. p-O Norgren knows exacily what I need to know: "When it comes to choosing skating skis the rule is that they should be

10 cm longer than your height, usually you use shorter skating skis. J am pretty sure that the longest skating skis are 195cm. It is hard to find any longer than 190 cm in the skishop. When it comes to po1es,the rule is that they should be 10 percent ihorter than vour o*rl h"ight.,, Lena tells me tl-ratshe uses all the same skis as cross country_skiers use. "l use Fisher anclSwix. Rememberto always bnng spare parts for your equipment when you are racing. A broken pole could be the dif_ ferencebetween a victory and a last place.,, Racepreparation The.right equipment is of course important for the outcome of a race but how do the top athletes pr"pu.u their dogs for a very rmportant championship race? "Lots of hard training from Septemberto January.And as I said earlier;concentrateon having fun with the dogs during the racing season.Just easy and short training," Lena tells me and she continues - "Try to get the motivation as high as possrble. It's no problem with less training between the races if you have a rea1ly good basic condition built up during the hard Fall training." She also blood tests her dogs just for a health checkup and she supplements the dog food with extra vitamins and minerals from September through the racrng season."And I also feed yogurt to my dogs just to avoid stomach problems during the race. Before a big race like the World Championship I use booties during all training, just to avoid any foot problem." P-O Norgren does nothing special to prepare his dogs for a big race. "I do not want to change anything in my routine,,, he tells me. "Does not matter if it is a smaller; not so important race or if it is a big championship. But if it is a shorter sprint race I try to get the dog really eager and fired up before the start. In a short race, every second counts and I do not want to have a slow starter. When it comes to myself, preparing for a bigger race and

wC,and national Championship.., Jtll ; ro,"tot""hll T.irT:? I l;

muchrest and sleep as possible the days before start. I eat health"y and try to load up my batteries.It is important that your body is ready and ,hll y:" your. self are eager to go out and do a hurd wo.kout together with the dog." "Helen I have a few more things I want to tell you,,, Lena says. "It is important to understand that dogs read a human mind 35 times faster than human's read each otheq,dogs understand if somethings is wrong. Remembel, if the owner is satisfied ancl happy, the dog wiii be the same." Lena's words stay in my mind and I am sure she will have another succesfulracing season.


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Glub Reports Let the mushing community know about what is going on in your local sted dog club. Contact the editor: greg@sleddogsportsmag.comto have your club's informationlistedin this column.

wonthesixdogclass,andshould Phillips, GrantBeck,Tim Hunt,Melanie Shirilla, The DESDCheld it's first Drvland dog. LizBailey will crossthe startingline of the Pineland Farms in be in fineshapeforgoodresults thiswinter. Sue FrankTeasley Championships at a newvenue. newrace, Maine Theevent was Eaintooktophonorsin the6 dogsportsclass.4 brandnewGRANDE ODYSSEE...This Gloucester, hosted theevenl. the thebrain childofNicolas Vanier, andHenry Kam,in Heather dogsportsclasssawJennaCarlton topping a hugesuccesssays club organizer Alpsusesmodified race wonthe4 dogrigrace,Herhus- field.PeterFrankewon the bikejoring class, theFrench stage/distance Brannen. Heather LastJulytheraceorganization Bennett wonthe3 dogclass, andRachael formats andrules. bandJeffwontheCanicross andtheMen's1 & 2 tlizabeth 25mushers to beinvited to race.Theinvidogbikeevents whichuseda 2.1miletrail.Sara Colbath topped the 1 dogclass.ClubPresidentselected included forNorth American mushers: round Buoniello washappy withtheturnout, andthe tation Vandemood rana consistent 1 dogbikeraceinthe Vince forthemusher tickets andonehandler. women's division withanidentical timebothdaysto factthatil wasa good'dry runfora newgroupof tripairline Theraceorganization thatwillbeinplacefortheclub'sseries 14dogs,onesledandgear. winthatdivision, beating the men's1 dogwinner raceofficials races trails willalsoprovide foreachmusher a truckandlodglntheWomen's Canicross, Jillian of 7 sprint thiswinter.TheHillVillage timeonSunday. werenotselected we should ingduring therace.Themushers wasthewinner.Thetypesof dogsusedin aresuper. andwhenthesnowcomes, Perron onlyfortheirraceresults buttheiroccupations and butmostusedtraditional Alaskan havea greatracehere"Vincetellsme. ihiseventvaried, reputations. ArrFrance isa partner fortheraceand Huskies, withmanypointerandgreyster crosses willtransport Therace thedogsovertheAtlantic. doingwellalso.Thetrailsweredescribed as chalyetsafe.witha smooth willbeheldonhvodifferent 100milecourses, which lenging surface, trghtturns willnavigaie for hopes to runtheevent theracers 3 timesin eachlocation andsomehills.TheDEsDc a totalof600miles, Froma 14dogpool,racers can nexlyearwitha purse, andto continue IFSSsancchoose a maximum of 12dogseachday. Mushers tioning ofallclasses. canonlyreceiveassisiance andswitchdogsafter rigraceat a each100mileloop.Theracewillpayouta $93,000 TheNEsOc alsohadan earlyseason purse,$15000 to firstplace.andpaying to 20th newracevenuewheretheywillalsobe hosting a place. Mushers willweara jacket witha builtinGPS hasbeena longtimelrainsnowrace.HillVillage system, so eachteamcanbe tracked on ingareafor NewEngland teamsdatingbackto OnJanuary 8th2005around 4pmNorthAmerican tracking real{ime. Moreinformation isavailable Lombard andDunlap.PaulTherriault sweptthe mushers:Jeff King, Jessie Royer, John theinternet in the6 Schandelmeier. openand8 dogclasses andwassecond BillSteyer, Jacques Philip. Michelle

TheLombard f ournals..,...

Thefirst part of a series of excerpts ftom the book The Training and Racing lournals of Roland and LouiseLombard. One of the most rewarding aspects of writing a book about Roland Lombard was getting to k ro- him so much better. Nothing brought Lombard into clearer focus than his private letters to his wife and son. Although Lombard had won most of the races the Northeast , had to offeq, he was the new kid on the block in 195g as far as Alaskan racing went. The following excerpts find Doc in awestruck wonder at the differences in the trails, the dogs, the toughness demanded of the mushers, and, most of a[,ln the fierce competition he faced. But as much a ,,greenhorn,, as Roland felt himself to be, he brought with him a competitive Siberian Husky team that made Alaskans sit up ur-rd tuk" notice. Dr. Charles Belford, a champion of New England rac_ ing and a close friend, had lent some of his best dogslo Doc for the Alaskan trip, including the remarkable registered Siberian lead dog, Timmy. With this team and ii hts first year of f:rfy Alaskan racing, Roland Lombard went home with the i.ophy for the top purebred racing team. is Doc writing from Anchorage on his first trip to race . l."r: in Alaska: Iebruary 17,1959 - I got in about 4:30 this morning after a rather comfortable flight from Seattle. I phoned Sepfaia but didn't have time to see him. He is going to be a luage at _ Fairbanks so we will see him there. I Jia ,""" Mr. Snodie-rvho has the dogs with Seppala. was waiting when I got in and it is a very nrce one. _ Y{:.":k Earl Norris and a Mrs. Sheilds who takes pictures for the papers were waiting. I had breakfast at the airport with Earl and then put my dogs out....Mrs. Shields took me out late in the morning to the Mclnnises where Wilbur Sampsory one ol the good drivers, was staying....I stopped at Norrises and saw Natalie. Then I took the dogs out. I took out seven and Orville (Lake) took a team to get me started. I broke the sled I made trying to stay behind in some soft snow, hit a log with the brake..It can be repaired. Then I went ahead and afLr finding the right turry I left him. I hadn,t much control of the sted witt the top brokery so on these rough trails I soon hit a small tree and flipped and lost the team. I ran after them. Thev finallv

stopped in a yard with no trouble. Orville turned th"r, u.,i tied his team- They had run about a mile. I caught up at this time and took over. I went back and took the Tuttle sled and went out again. I was all over the trail with it. I am sure going to have to learn to ride a sled in the next few davs. dogs are in good shape. I don,t know if they can run . Th. fast long on these trails or not, but they like them so far. The weak link so far is me and the sled. The trails and bumps are not to be described,only to be seen. Earl is taking me arou.rd the course on his sled at nine tomorrow. then t"wltt ;rir; ; small team over it. I had a wonderful dinner of moose meat tonlChl-lld wished you were here. I miss you both very much. I will let you know of my progressin iearning how to ride a sled. A1l my love to you both, Dad ,,!""^!:,tl::.g^r:!_l1c!yg_ of Rotandand LouiseLombard by lown.ats purch asedon-tineat m, ;r i:.r:!y:::i ?an_be D!^99lt?-9tr ng NancyCowan alconers@comcast. ne{ftelephone 60i464-6213).WithinUSA,book is $i0.00"posipiii,-iniuire for costfor internationalorders.

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Laconia Sled Dog Derby ffimwaxxx kpr $â&#x201A;Źeewxm3r mxxds*68&gw8rxffi,"'.." 3S Yeme'msf &*xm8Kwrxge Laconia, New Hampshire, is the home of a sled dog race with a history that qualifies it as a classic, even when going head-to-head with Alaskan races. The first "Laconia Dog Derby" was held by the New England Sled Dog Club in 1929, and repeated in 1930. By 1,93I, a club had formed especially with the production of that one sled dog race in mind. In1936, the Laconia race added "World Championship" to its title. The race ran annualJy through 1938,then went on hiatus as the world situation spiraled into World War II. It was not until 1957, when Laconians and area dogdrivers banded together to form the Lakes Region SIed Dog Club, that the Laconia race began again. It is an historical race that is also a true test of the mettle of musher and team. "It is the prestige that goes wiih it," Ed Streeper says when asked draws competitive racers like the Streepers to come so far from home to compete at Laconia. Ed has com.e to Laconia twice, and twice he has taken the title home "Laconia World Champion". His nephew Buddy has raced and won at Laconla, also. When asked to explain what sets Laconia apart in his mind, Ed plunges into a list of things that he thinks are individual to this New Hampshire race and what attracts ou.tsiders to compete. "There is a great deal of prestige connectedto Laconia becauseof those who have raced here before-Lombard, Belford, Moulton, Bryar-all the great racers of the East Coast. We respectLaconia as being the oldest race. The trail is always a challenge. But the all-time highlight {or me was in 1988. I got to meet and shake hands'lt'ith George Bush (then Vice President and in New Hampshire for the Presidential Primary)." Streeper's experience is a unique part of the Laconi.a World Championship Sled Dog Race history. For decades, every four years like clock-work, presidential hopefuls, their families and accompanying celebrities met at the race staging area for photo opportunities and old-fashioned political campaigning. The candidates for President of the United States gave out trophies, greeted racers, inspected dogteams, and rode in sleds while cameras clicked and the public watche d. Laconia was garnering press coverage long before the politicians came on the scene. Many of the kennels that sprang up in the region produced some of the most blue blooded of registered Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. In many cases,the kenuel owners drove their own teams, and the entry list of the race carried many of the names familiar to the Boston Society pages. Leonard Seppala came in from the Seppala-Ricker kennel with his crack Siberian racing team. The hometown folks ran their own teams of huskies, malamutes, Chinook Dogs and assortedmongrels. The locai funeral parlor operator competed with a team of crossed German Shepherds and Dobermans. The Lymans tan a team of Red Irish Setters. The Clark {amily from came down from Northern New Hampshire with teams o{ Eskimo Sled Dogs. Filling out the colorful entourage of canines were the Quebec Hounds. Among the racers were some very strong competitors like Seppala of Alaska, and Emile St. Godard and Shorty

Russick who each ran for Canadian paper companies. The interest of the press was heightened even more by the fact that women raced side by side against men. Dogs of all kinds, international competitiory society names, and women mushers made a scene that drew newspaper reporters and newsreel cameramen like flies. When a young eighteen-year-oldIad won the top prize in 1930wiih a team of a mongrel, two Siberian Huskies on loan from Seppala, his aunt's pet German Shepherd a1lled by a cocker spaniel, the news flew acrossthe nation. Roland Lombard's Laconia win as a teenager spawned a "Ki d - a n d - h i s- d o g .-in-+ho-hi


juveniie trend in adventure ficiion that continued for years. The Laconia race started out as part of a winter carn.ival, and the carnivai atmosphere has prevailed. It is a spectator-{riendly race, where the crowd can mlx with the racers, get close to the teams, and yet still have warming areas and hot food nearby. Past years have seen vendors of all sorts of cold equipment, weather clothes, furs, and dogfood. The sales of shirts, hats, buttons, programs and more by the race staff heips the race coffers and sends visitors home with special mementos of the day. The enthusiasm, heavy-duty promotional work and the loca1 support have seen the race through some lean times. That support includes a phenomenally talented trail crew that has had to contend, year after yeaq with an encyclopedia of various unfavorable conditions, interspersed with years of such perfect snow conditions that dealing with all the white stuff itself became a trail problem. "I have never raced Laconia under'normal' conditions," Ed Streeper reflects, continuing to talk about his experiences there. "The first time I ran it, there was abigblizzard. Then the second time, it was a 2-day race (due to warm temperatures) when we ran through water up to my knees on the second day. So both times I ran under whacked out conditions. The weather just did not cooperate." For local racers, familiar with the hype of "The Greatest Show on Snow", a special pull to enter is the opportunity to run in a world-c1ass sprint event agai.nstthe world class competitors that have come to race Laconia. The race has, from the beginning, always attracted large numbers of Canadians. It is, as well, for many of the New England mushers, a family tradition to enter this race. "I have been running at Laconia since the age of three, with one dog. My dad ran herg too. And this year I expect my three-year-o1d daughtet Nova, will be entered in the one-dog race," says Ed Clifford. "The competition that comes in for Laconia is a big draw, as every year or so we get a Neal Johnson or a Buddy Streeper who has won them all. It is the one race I get up for! Me, Keith (Bryar) and Doug (Butler)...we really gear up because the best in the area, and especially from Quebec, will be there. Laconia pu1ls all the best together." Coming out of Paul Smiths, New York, John Samburgh has raced Laconia enough to feel very at home on the course. In 1995 and1997, he won the race. But as familiar as he may feel there, he never lets himself get comfortable at Laconia. "It is the toughest race in the

iaG#tu@ Clgcfwiye fy.mtopteft:TerryStreeper 20 championship witha siberian Huskyteam.Fantastic cammand leader Timnyon lead, Magicand

o! presidential candidate in 1960, in Johnconneily,s sled.-RealTurmetwinner in Ylg l?ilt' JFK, ZlOl^2nown herein the 2003race, JohnSamburgh parade winner in 1995& 199Tcrossing ! laO Roadin the2003race.Photos 2affiby RainerWischinsklBefordandJFK photoscourtesy of Nancy CowanCollection. I0 seevideofootage of paftof theLaconia trailfroma dogsled, andflltowtheIinkfor videos. Northeast," he says. There are many elements to cause disaster to a musher and he counts them ofl ,,The streets, the lake, the road cross_ ings.....If at the end of the weekend, you have gotten through it....,, ]ohn stops and says emphatically, ,,Iiat thc eniof the three"daysof the race you have gotten through if even if you are not winning, you still have accomplisheclsomething.,, F:* mushers can lay claim to a stronger connection with Laconia . than Keith Bryar, Jr. His father won the rice three times. His menio{, Dick Moulton, won this race a record number of five times. ,,K8,, became ihe only second-generation wimrer when he claimed the Laconia World Charnpionship in 2002. Bryar stands in awe of the rep_ utation of the race. "It is tradition-it is ljke the Kentucky Derbvl,, But it is not sentiment, he knows too weil, that wins this race. "It is toueh. Mentally arrd physicalty tough. A three-day killer-the hardest spJnt race i'the Lower 48." After a pause,Keith explains why he {eels this way. "There is so much to deal with-crowds, downtowry road cross_ ings, dogs on the trai1. A lot of great dogdrivers, some that have won al.lover, cannot meet the demands of the Laconia trail. We were scared to death at Laconia last year. At the last minute my leader got sick, so I had two so{t-headed females on lead. It was a trying to "igllt*u.; get off Main Street. You need to be more prepared for Laconia than you do for other races." When questioned about other Laconia champions from years pasf KB gives a laugh, "Why don,t you talk to my mother?! (Famous champion raceq,Jean Bryar) In all the seventy_five vears of this race, she has been involved with guiding and shaping NINE Laconia champ! onship-winning teamsl That is quite u i".oid, don,t you think?l,, Jean Bryar is the six-time winner of the women's North American Championship at Fairbanks,Alaska. When asked why she remained contenIlo ra ise ,train .su ppor t and plan s t r at egyir r t hc bac k g r . o u n d for rne raclng teams oi flre three men in her life to win Laconia champi_ onships, she says simply, "I was comfortable doing that.,, Jean m'ay have taken a backseat to her men as far as Laconia competition went, but. she y"? fu1 many years an important figure in ,,doing,, anything that needed to be done to put on the race. She provided yu"rr; of rt"f lar race sports announcing from the Laconia press booth,"coordinated fund raising efforts, and was a guiding frand behind the annual Musher Queen. competition, itserf a main fund-raiser {or the event.

"Every yea1,when the sled dog teams started training for Laconi4 the same people got into "har'ess,, to meet the demands of all that had io be coordinated" Jean credifs this strong nucleus of talent, energy and determination not only with presenting the Laconia race, but rn"teeping sled dog racing alive and well in the Lower 4g. .If it weren,t for this local support, the only sled dog racing in the United Stateswould have been in Alaska. Every yea4 these pelple said ,Never again,, but by ,F time it came to prepare for Laconii, they were back hard at work." Over decades, like Brya1, Molberg, Lyman, and many "1-:: others became associated with overcoming al1 thi oLstacresstandini in the way of a success{ul Laconia each veir. Jim Lyman is another Lakes Region native who knows what the Laconia race needs to continue. "I have been at this since I was a rittle kid. The race was started by fotks like my grandfather. My father worked hard to keep it going. It *u, u ,*uligroup putting on a big world event. When they came to obstacles, they aia ,-,oi give upl Their attitude was 'What do you mean we cu,-,,i ,lo this? "It is for LACONIA!' a*d they would go ahead a'd overcome the difficulties.,, Now,,Jim notes, things have changed a lot. The regiory like all vaca_ tion / tourist meccas of the Northeast, has mushroJmed with popula, tion growih. Today, most of the Laconia trail is through de.,eltpea areas of resort homcs. golf course and roads. But the iz to 1g (due to development the race flexes a bit in length from year to -'i1", year) is over a successfulcourse through developed ireas thaigiv" u in.g" amount of visibility to the spectators that turn out in force to line tiie trai1. C.learly,the drive ancl determination to keep the Laconia World Championship a viable and competitive sled dog race is as alive today as during past generations. Jim _isalreacly at work on plans for February, 2005,s Laconia. ,,We are looking for Neal, possibly Eddy Streepel, ind a big turnout with me Lanadlan crew. We are working on developing a Double Crown with the St. Sauveur race in euebei. This would award points and extra monies for the teams competing in both races.,, The Laconia World Championship is a race for the tough....tough competitors and tough supporters. But the outlook Io, a successf-"ul race next seasonhas seldom been brighter. Some things don,t change, and the tradition of the Laconia World Championship is one of thei,



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In the first articie, we discussed how to cultivate an eye for ear ly lam enes sdet ec tion by taking the time to observe each dog for minor changes that can be red flags probiems. In this issue we foiunderlying t he per f or m anc e of a review io start w ill

detailed lameness exam' The first step in the exam is to steP awaY from the dog (about six feet) and observe from a distance the front, both sides, the rear, and over the top. Let symmetry be the guide for your eyes as you look for swelling or atrophy of the joints and major muscle groups. This will be readily apparent on thinly coated dogs; you must get your harrds on a heavily coated husky to identify the same things. If the dog is too active in the kermel for you to get a thorough look, try observing while he is on the truck or still hooked to the towline after a run' Bearing in mind anY abnormalities noted on the exam at a distance, move in and begin a systematic, detailed exam ' Begin at the tip of the toenails and work yoi. *uy up each limb, then examine the muscles- of the neck, chest, spine and Try to be consistent in your oelvis. upp.ou.h to miss as few things as possible' As you go, You are looking for Pain, swelling, redness, heat and crepitus (ab no rmal grin ding or c lic k ing) ' Start an exam of the forelimb bY thoroughly checking each nail for cracks or Closely examine the skin deviations. around the nails beds for swelling or cuts; this is a common area of iniury' Flip the paw up (flexing the carpus, or wrist) and chect lhe pads, interdigital webbing, and the areas where the pad meets the haired skin and nail. Next extend the wrist and observe each toe. Extend each toe and then flex each toe. (See photo above left)' The to es are p ron e t o ligam ent ous iniur y (sprains) that will produce swelling or

deviation of the joints when compared to the toes of the opposite limb. Fracturesof the toes are also seen in working sled dogs' Follow up with a visit to your veterinarian for a radiograph (xray) to rule out fractures.

Now examine the metacarPals, which are like the bones on the back of your hand and palm. Palpate the four long tot-r"r. This is a common site for stress f r act u r e s ,w h i c h w i l l p r o d u c e s w e l l i n g a n d pairy and bony crepitus if the fracture is ie.rere enough. Radiographs are in order The front of the for these injuries. for the extensor location the is metacarpals tendons of the foot, and the back is where the flexor tendons 1ie. These tendons are held down by little "strap" tendons located near the joints called retinacula, and these are another injury prone site (for sprains)' Next PalPate the wrist joint' Swelling of the joint can be seen when moderate to severe, and mild swelling can be detected by flexing the joint and palpating the fuont "gap." (see photo above cen-tei) Take the joint through its full range of motion by completely ftexing, extending and gently twisting the wrist' Palpate the carpal bone (the bone that sticks u.""*ory out of the back or the wrist with the pad under it). This is a point of leverage for several tendons. It can actually impact the ground. at high speeds, or if the dog slips or drags. Many of the front limb injuries I see ur" Iro* the wrist down, so be careful and thorough in Your examination' Now examine the radius and ulna (long bones of the leg) and the surrounding soft tissue. The extensor and flexor ten.un down the far end the limb, while do-.-r,s the soft muscle bellies for many of these structures sit just below the eibow' As always, look for heat, swelling, pain, and crepitus. As a general rule the extensors

for the foot and wrist lie towards the front and outside of the leg, while the flexors lie on the back and inside the leg' The elbow joint can be taken through its range of motion by flexion (see ohoto below) and extension. In a normal

limb it should be impossible to extend the elbow without simultaneously extending the wrist. The elbow is a tight hinge joint and is rather unforgiving of joint injury; swelling or damage here will produce significanipain and chronic lameness' The elbow also serves as an attachment point for many muscles from above and below, and thankfuily many of the injuries that p r o d u c e p a i n i n t h i s a r e a a r e fr o m th e so ft tissue structures around, not in, the elbow' The shoulder ioint should be flexed and extended; it should be impossible to extend the shoulder without simult a n e o u s l y e x t e n d i n g b o th th e e l b o w a n d the wrist. Palpating the biceps tendon is i m p o r t a n t b e c a u s et h i s i s a co m m o n si te o f injury. The groove in which this tendon lies is identified (it is best to have your vete r i n a r i a n d o t h i s ) w i th th e fi n g e r ti p s,o f one hand and Pressed as You flex the Inflammation here will shoulder joint' u s u a l l y p r o d u c e a d r a m a ti c r e a cti o n fr o m the dog (whine, yeip, withdrawal, or even ,nuppiLg). Paipate the iong bones.of the (upper arm) and scapula (shoulder blade). Don't get so hung uP on the bones that you forget those all important muscles. Feel the pectoral muscles, which lie in front of and under the chest' Palpate all the large muscle bellies along the upper arm and shoulder. Just behind the tops of the shoulders lie the rhomboideus and trapezius muscles, which are susceptible to s t r i i n a n d i u s t p l a i n m u scl e so r e n e ss' In the next lameness articie we will examine the hind limb.

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202 Mechanic Falls Road - Oxford, ME 04270 Tel: (207) 539-4324 Fax: (207) 539-9681 Email: Web Site: Maine NooksackRacing Team would like to thank Bushmaster Firearms' cusThread, Lewiston Rubber Supply, Chatmac Sled Dog Supply, and all our 2005 racing tomers - old and new, for their continued suport as we go into the in Maine' season. We invite you to ioin us at the Down East Sled Dog races

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Sled Dog Sports Magazine - November 2004  

Sled Dog Sports Magazine - November 2004, Issue #3