Tell us a little about yourself and your kennel.
We are just adventurous (and partly crazy) dog parents to Twigs (cattle dog x husky) and Huckleberry (cattle dog). I work full time in forestry (wildfire) and my husband Travis is an environmental scientist. We run a small school that teaches folks skills for skijor, kicksled and canicross with all moneys going back to charity (Red Dog Sled Dog School).
What introduced you to dog mushing? What was your first experience like?
I started out with two rescued cattle dog husky mixes who I adopted while working overseas in Australia. We fell into the wacky and wonderful world of sled dog sports in the land of sun and dust. They were a second family to us who helped us train Twigs and Trout to pull scooters, sleds and even skis. The few snow races a year were an event to see- big hearts, huge fun, ginormous friendships were built there. We were stoked to come home to Alberta Canada and try our skills in "real" snow. Sadly, Trout was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just after we arrived back in this hemisphere. We had 2 more years of adventures with her. She ran a skijor race only 3 days before we lost her. A new pup fell until our lives recently so we're reliving the joy of teaching a pup how fun pulling can be.
Describe the dogs on your team. What about them do you enjoy the most?
Twigs is my main man. He is crazy smart and nails the commands ALWAYS. He is an excellent trail finder, pace setter and teacher. He has the heart of an Iditarod runner. Huck is coming on just a year old. She is fiery, stubborn and intelligent. She's a bit on the snall side but her spirit is big!
What does your training regimen look like? How long are you on the trail with them?
We are mainly weekend warriors but manage to get out for night skis a couple nights a month. We have access in skis to so many wonderful parks in our area- the trail possibilities are almost endless. The pup can only go short distances currently, but we can spend full days skijoring and exploring together. We always reinforce the main commands- even just on walkabout around town.
What do your dogs do in the off season?
We did lots of canicross, canoeing, camping, hiking and exploring. We do other dog sports like disc, agility and dock diving.
What has been your most memorable experience as a dog musher?
Two stand out- 1) being ranked as the number one skijor team in Australia and 2) skijoring out of the start chute of the Yukon Quest!
What’s your advice to other mushers?
Anyone can try these sports. It takes commitment to training, some natural physical ability and a family of friends who lend an instructional hand. You don't need a big kennel to participate- pets can pull too! :)