Blog posting by Vickie Pullin
Managing Director – Arctic Quest
Croft Farm, nestled on the bank of the river Avon, played host to Huskyfest in March. Over 100 sleddogs and their owners descended on the quiet Cotswold village to learn all about running dogs in harness.
Huskyfest, now in it’s 4th year is organised by adventure and training specialists Arctic Quest and the only event of it’s kind in the UK. The focus of the weekend is to learn how to safely run your dog, but the weekend is packed with activities and entertainment to ensure it’s not only the dogs having all the fun.
British team sleddog racer Vickie Pullin heads up the training and CSJ came on board with goody bags and prizes. The event focuses on education and to help owners better understand their canine family member, as well as working sessions, there are also workshops with dog behaviourist Tug Wilson.
Many of the dogs are rescues and both owners and dogs can benefit from understanding how to give their pet the best life possible. Huskyfest, whilst primarily a grass roots event, now has a growing intermediate section, who can learn more complex running tasks, like overtaking, head on passes, etc.
Saturday afternoon sees a fun dog show and then off to the cafe for a presentation about snow racing from Vickie and her team and then a hearty meal whipped up by the Croft Farm Chef. The evening is a great chance to make friends and socialise with like minded people, but most aren’t too late to bed as the next morning is the fun race.
Beginners and intermediates negotiate the course against the clock, with the intermediates racing over a longer track. For most this is their first taste of competition and the ‘no pressure’ format ensures even the most nervous dogs get off the start line and complete the race. There are smiles and wagging tails all round.
Finally the event finishes with prize giving and as well as medals and shields, the winners were also given CSJ dog food and treats to enjoy. Probably the most coveted honour is the Welfare Award, given in recognition of someone that has gone above and beyond for their dogs. This year the whole audience was moved to tears as Maraide Mckensie this years winner relayed her dogs story. These are the sort of dogs who don’t win medals, but probably deserve them the most.
Huskyfest will be back next March and aiming to be even bigger and better
In August Arctic Quest will be running their second Junior Mushing Camp for youngsters to learn about running and looking after dogs, as well as launching the very first dog triathlon series called Tri-Dog, which kicks off with a training weekend in September and finishes with a swim, run and bike race in April 2017.