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Mel Hannam

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Whoa, brakes on as our race season has come to an end for 2016/17. It’s been another fantastic season for Mystic Charoite Racing. In spite of amazing lead dog Rogue still on maternity leave at the start of the season and Brew suffering an injury that put him out of action for three months, our incredible dogs still got us on the podium at least once at just about every event we attended over the winter with (I think!) around 13 first places.

In terms of championships, the teams brought home a Silver Medal in the British Siberian Husky Racing 4 Dog Championship and a Silver in the Four Dog Nordic and Bronze in the Six Dog Nordic classes in the British Sled Dog Sports Federation Championship Series.

The races may have come to an end but the work doesn’t stop. Spring training is probably the best as we have lighter nights to enjoy and we also have Rogue’s puppies (all six of them!) to bring on so they can join the race teams next season.

We also have exciting plans to make as we are hoping to broaden our horizons and do at least one race overseas next season – the question is, will it be on dryland or will it be on snow?

Grateful thanks to Alpha Feeds for continuing to support us and keeping our dogs fuelled by Alpha High Performance Dog food.

Pics are by John and Angela Lord and Siberprint.

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Alpha Feeds training treats

New Alpha Training Treats

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Alpha Feeds has launched new Training Treats which are hypo-allergenic and wheat gluten free.

The Alpha Training Treats include chicken liver and they are suitable for all dogs over eight weeks old.

These healthy bites are free from artificial additives and are a tasty treat for dogs that deserve a reward whether on a puppy training routine, as encouragement for good behaviour or when working, sporting dogs are learning a new activity.

RRP £1.00 for 150g.

For further information contact Alpha Feeds on 0844 800 2234 or visit www.alphafeeds.com

husky sport

Husky Racing an Exciting Sport

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A world away from the desolate icy wastelands of Siberia, husky dog racing is alive and well in the rather incongruous setting of the British countryside. Now in its twentieth season, the British Siberian Husky Racing Association was formed by a group of Britain’s leading Sled Dog Drivers in 1996. The rules are stringent; every race is electronically timed to 1/100th of a second and believe it or not, after 5 miles, a race has been decided by 5/100th of a second – here we find out more.

In sled dog racing, men and women can compete on an equal footing, and no matter who is racing, this is fantastic entertainment, for both competitor and spectator. The sport is growing, numbers are increasing and there is a thriving junior competition each year.

Training of young dogs starts at an early age over short distances. When a dog reaches one-year-old, it is allowed to compete in races. A regular training programme is essential for success – in the winter season sometimes four times a week for competitive teams. However, one of the biggest challenges continues to be finding suitable trails in Britain. Husky dogs have been constructed to work and their build is designed to cover as much ground, expend the least energy and suffer the least physical shock and stress as possible.

The design of racing sleds today is very similar to those used in the early days, although modern materials have more or less replaced traditional wood. With this, weight has changed too, from around 50kg for a 4-dog team to some now weighing as little as 15kgs, mild and stainless steel being the preferred materials.

Each dog in the team wears an individually-fitted harness, with attention to comfort around the neck and shoulders. The dogs are hitched to the sled by a central rope known as the ‘gang line’, then with brass clips, the dogs are attached into the lines. Teams are divided into classes based on the number of dogs in the team.

Before the start of the race, it’s highly enjoyable to walk around the rally site. Here you can watch mushers getting their teams ready to run. If time permits, most people love to talk about their dogs, but they have to keep a strict eye on the time as they have specific set times to present at the Start Chute. Each team is released at timed intervals.

Excitement levels are high. The Start Chute is noisy and hectic, but seeing the enthusiasm and eagerness of teams of dogs straining to start the race is an absolute must. The finish line is noisy too but by the end of the race, it’s no longer the huskies making all the noise, but excited family and friends cheering and encouraging their favourite teams across the line. In between the start and finish, out on the trail itself, it is important that spectators stand well back so they don’t alarm the passing teams with any sudden movement. There are marshals at regular intervals along the trails and it is imperative that spectators listen to any instructions they give.

To get the best results from these dogs, not only is training important but the correct diet is essential. Feeding depends very much on the level of exercise but a husky that is working in harness does well on a diet such as Alpha High Performance where meat is the first ingredient and there is the right protein/fat ratio. It is important to store food safely though, to avoid dangerous bingeing, as given the chance, huskies would eat at least five times a day by helping themselves!

husky

Blink and you miss it…!

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This season has just been a blur; time flies when you’re having fun.
We started off so well, a beautifully ‘almost’ chilly day, welcomed all the BSHRA competitors to the kick-off race near the Suffolk Heritage coast. A very technical trail with dips and hollows and tight corners, adverse cambers, leaves on the ground – all the good things to keep the dogs interested and keep the mushers on their toes!

*BANG* in comes Storm Angus from the East, the first ‘named’ storm of the season, 84mph winds battering the coast and throwing down rain like no-ones business which sadly saw us cancel the seconds days racing – a total pain but safety comes first.
Since then, we’ve recently had THE best bit of weather for running dogs in this country. At Warren Wood. The 8 dog and 6 dog teams went out in bright sunshine, uncluttered blue sky, a real hard hoar frost on the ground and a recorded -9C. Whilst everyone around is complaining at the cold, if you’re a husky racer, THIS is what running dogs is all about. A big team running like a steam locomotive with just the sound of the team puffing away, every breath hanging in the cold air for a second or so until it evaporates – just magical!

And so to the next weekend we have in store. The first time that BSHRA has ever scheduled a 3 day event – most are 2 days. Even more exciting is the prospect of 3 different trails, one per day. We usually run the same trail on both days but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound.
It will take a fairly large and enthusiastic team to pull it off successfully but I’m safe in the knowledge that if anyone can, BSHRA can. Wish us luck and cold weather; I’m sure we’ll be fine!

Photos courtesy of the very talented Angela Lord
https://www.flickr.com/photos/angela_lord/

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Northern Golden Retriever Association Novice Field Trial

Report of the Northern Golden Retriever Association Novice Field Trial

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The Northern Golden Retriever Association Novice trial for AV Retriever was held on 24th November at Hy Fly Game Farm by kind permission of Mr Graham Holden and the NGRA team of guns.

The start was delayed, but two competitors still did not arrive in time so substitutes had to run. The weather was fine with a touch of morning frost.

The trial was walked up in blocks of root crops, bordered by ditches and adjacent stubbles and plots of maize. Steward of the Beat Kevin Hughes controlled the line and a steady flush of pheasant and partridge, with an odd duck were expertly dealt with by Trefor Richards’ team of guns.

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Field Trial Result

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2nd & The Eastdale Trophy for the Guns’ Choice : Dr Shamanthi Shankar’s Labrador dog FENHART OPAL OF BARONSBRIDGE’.

This was a walked up trial in roots, with a very good show of birds produced by Steward of the Beat Kevin Hughes.

Trefor Richards’ team of guns shot exceedingly well. Twelve Labradors and two Golden Retrievers competed.

Judy Rainey and Paul Birkbeck judged on the right, with Judith Evans and John Yarwood on the left. Work was good initially but then some dogs faltered. Three were then eyewiped by the judges. Only three were left for the third round, soon reduced to two.

Last year’s winner Scott Marland was in contention until his dog failed on the only runner of the day. This left Shamanthi Shankar’s yellow dog as the only competitor to complete five retrieves and be awarded 2nd place and gun’s choice.

Thanks to Alpha Feeds for providing prizes from the range of performance dog food.

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kendal

Successful Open Ferret Show

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The Kendal and Cumbria Ferret show, sponsored by Alpha Feeds, proved to be a hugely popular event with tourists, local pet owners and working ferreters.

Held near Kendal, in the Lake District the annual ferret show attracted competitors from as far afield as North Yorkshire, The Wirral and Chesterfield.

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Northern Golden Retriever Association Open Field Trial

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The steward of the beat was Kevin Hughes supervising the walk-ups through fields of stubble turnips or fodder beet, with adjacent deep ditches, and blocks of maize.

Pheasants and partridges flushed regularly giving good shooting to the guns: David Bellamy, Tim Broad, Vincent Wilkinson, Denis McDonnell and David Savory. Phil Wagland and Ronnie Gent judged on the right, with Gaynor Gent and Sue Low on the left.

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Walesby_awards

NGRA Novice Field Trial for Golden Retrievers

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It was a fine, dry day for the trial at Bevecotes Park Shoot, near Walesby, Nottinghamshire.

Fourteen Golden Retrievers were competing, with handlers from as far away as Dorset, Scotland and Switzerland.

The two keepers Dave Goodall and Nigel Metcalfe had organised a day of mixed shooting, walking up set-aside cover and farmland with dykes and hedgerows for pheasants, together with an extended drive from a long duck pond in the middle part of the trial.

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Report of the NGRA Novice Field Trial for Golden Retrievers at Walesby, Nottinghamshire.

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Walesby-awards1st October 2016. 14 dog Novice stake for Golden Retrievers at Bevercotes Park Shoot, Walesby, Nottinghamshire by kind permission of Mr D Goodall & Mr N Metcalfe.
Judges: Mr Keith Helliwell, Mr Graham Bird, Miss Angie Cooper & Mrs Caroline Hewison.
1st & The Boltby Cup for the Winner : Mr G & Mrs J Hay’s Golden Retriever dog SOINNEANTA GORSE OF HOLYWEAR. (Handler Mr Gordon Hay).
. Also the Millennium Tankard to the youngest dog in the awards
2nd : Mr Daniel Higgs’Golden Retriever dog ABBOTSHALL PIONEER OF HIGGSCROFT.
3rd & The Castletown Rosebowl for the Guns’ Choice: Mr Jim Gale’s Golden Retriever dog SIUSIGOLD KITE.
CoMs : Mrs Nessa Thompson’s GR dog WATERFALL WILLOW OF HAVENTRENT, Mr S & Mrs AM Crookes’ GR bitch MISTYBROOK MAIVE OF MOSCARGRANGE (Handler=Anne Crookes), Mrs Mary Palk’s GR dog TALLYGOLD BLACKTHORN, Mr Andrew Wright’s GR dog WADESMILL SACOME (Also Millennium Tankard for the youngest dog in the awards).

It was a fine, dry day for the trial at Bevecotes Park Shoot, near Walesby, Nottinghamshire. 14 Golden Retrievers were competing, with handlers from as far away as Dorset, Scotland and Switzerland. The two keepers Dave Goodall and Nigel Metcalfe had organised a day of mixed shooting, walking up set-aside cover and farmland with dykes and hedgerows for pheasants, together with an extended drive from a long duck pond in the middle part of the trial. With few failures it proved a long day to test all the dogs and the judges Keith Helliwell, Graham Bird, Angie Cooper and Caroline Hewison eventually made seven awards. Fortunatel the weather stayed fine all day until the awards and prizes of Alpha food were presented by Dave Goodall with lightning flickering as a storm approached.