Rallying came about at the end of 2002. We took Kai along to Dalby Forest to watch and while we were there, Walt suggested running him to keep him fit. There was a couple, Sarah and Gary, who had Kai's sister Khira. They were finding it difficult running her and were having to make long trips to borrow a dog to run. We called them after the rally, asked if they would be interested in teaming up with Kai and another activity was born!
Kai and Khira started running together at the beginning of 2003 and we were suddenly booking a cottage in Aviemore to go and run up there too. By the end of the season they were managing some respectable times and Kai got a 3rd place at Kings Forest in Thetford the day after his Crufts win. They then ran a season as a 3 dog team, with Kodi and Khira out front and Kai as wheel dog. They managed to get a fastest Mal team award at Aviemore in 2004 and a 1st place at Fineshades.
By then, Sarah and Gary had a 2nd Malamute, Frodo. He started running with Khira and we decided to retire Kai from racing, leaving Kodi to run with Tika. Myself and Jeff were "Mushers Mates", setting them off and calling them in, while Gary and Sarah did all the racing. We carried on like this for a couple of seasons before Womble and Porsche were old enough to race and then they took over in harness, Tika going into retirement and Kodi into semi retirement.
More recently, Womble has gone off running with his sister Sika and I have run Kodi with Porsche at a more leisurely pace! Porsche had a bit of a problem and got scared of something unknown, so we're rebuilding her confidence. Womble has no fear in him at all and at one night rally he quite happily ran on his own, with a smile on his face and keeping up with the two dog teams! I finally entered Aviemore rally, running Kodi and Porsche, in 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I decided not to run on the Sunday due to the weather and the ice out on the course but maybe one day I'll be back to do the full two days!
In the UK, most rallies are around 2 to 4 mile lengths, so sprint races. We are now thinking about the future and are looking at taking part in longer distances at a steady pace rather than taking part in competitive races. We have been taking part in 10.5 mile treks around Allerton Park on weight pull weekends to enable the dogs to achieve their WTD titles. With no stopwatches the atmosphere is much more relaxed and all the dogs seem much happier to just keep to a steady pace, a much more natural activity to a Malamute. In April 2010 Womble and Porsche both completed their WTD titles running a total of 42 miles. Kodi joined them in holding the title in December 2010.
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