Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our 2009 Canine Athletes - An Overview

Although this season turned out the way it did, it also brought some positive things. One of them is being able to spend more 101 time with each dog, as well as writing updates, which was totaly impossible in the middle of the most intense trainings.

And since we cancelled our races, I thought I might give you at least an overview of some of the athletes, in terms of where was every one standing, how did the young dogs develop so far and mainly - which dogs would have been the racers this year, if we went to Femundlopet and Polar Distans.

Let´s start by introducing the eight dogs that would have made it 99% to my Femundlopet team:

The main leaders would not be Tazlina and Balto, as I have preanounced in my musher profile on Femundlopet´s website, but instead it would have definitely been Tazlina with Galena.

Taz has already become Kipp d´Amundsen Kennel´s THE main leader and Galena, despite her super young age (she turned 2,5 years at the end of December, so she would be 2,6 years at the start of Femund) has made it all the way to the TOP 2. She is simply amazing.¨

Following are the "back-up" leaders, and fast, strong dogs: Galena´s brother Goosak and his half sister Star.

Goose-man, as we call him, is the crazyest dog at hook up, he is simply restless, and is fast, driven and strong. Very athletic boy with constantly serious aproach to work. He is so honest and unwilling to rest, that I had to watch him closely in the toughest training period, as he would go until he´d drop. The only signs of him being really tired would be the expression in his eyes or lack of interest in snacks/food. That was the only negative thing about Goosak, but when happy and satisfied, he is a good eater. He runs awsome in lead, mainly when beside Taz or Galena.

Star is another runner-up for a lead dog postition, and ocassionally can fill the spot when one of the superstars are tired, but still needs to learn a bit more discipline when in the front of the team. She is very smart, driven, fast and pretty strong for a female. Star is one of those dogs that pulls as hard when you bring her back to the kennel, as she did several hours ago, when fresh before the run. She is truely an awsome athlete and one of the best young females in our kennel. If all goes well, and the Great Spirit is with us, Star might have puppies this year.
To add to the "family business", another absolute favourite would be Galena and Goosak´s brother Nugget. This big and super strong boy is the pillar of our mainstring team this season. Steady as a rock both, physically and mentaly, he defintely is a dog to watch in the future. His feet are tough as steel, he is always in a positive mood, rests and eats very well.

Overall, we couldn´t be happier with the "G" litter, and Buck´s children and grandchildren in general. This dog is the core for the Kipp d´Amundsen line. We´ve always loved him as a worker and for his lovely temperament, and we love him as a producer. He´s the man!

The Femund team would then include these steady and trustworthy, dependable dogs:
Balto (Femundlopet 400 finisher from 2007) - also leader, Frostie and Music. Both these boys can run in the front as well, and Music started showing some serious potential lately, especially when leading the team in a mountain stormy weather in the beginning of Jaunary. Music is unfortunately having a bit of issues with speed, but he is the strongest dog in the team and never gives up. Since our plan was to run a slow pace in Femundlopet, focusing of finishing, I thought he would be a good choice for the team, where we needed power for the constant elevation changes on the trail, more than anything else.

3 girls and 5 boys. An ideal mixture. 7 out of 8 can lead. Would have been cool. But also there were concerns such as not to over-stress and overwork the two year olds, so that will be behind us in 2010 :)
When it comes to our plans and ideas for Polardistans, a lot of things would have depended on how the team performed or if there would be injuries during Femund, etc. But generally the plan was to add to these 8 athletes also:

Ziggi (who is a fabulous and fast leader, but a bit too small for a limited 8dog team),
Granite (Goosak, Nugget and Galena´s brother),
and Comet.
We would be chosing between these 6 dogs.
So this gives you at least some insight into who are the top athletes at Kipp d´Amundsen Kennels at the moment and which ones would be racing in the major races of this season.
As you can see, the sum up gives 14 dogs. If you remember well, we started the training season with 17 dogs in the mainstring. Later we devided them into so called A and B teams. So bascially all dogs from the A team and 3 out of 6 from the B team would have make it to the racing team. Pretty cool, eh?
So despite not racing this year, we are quite satisifed with our team. Next year they will be even more experienced, more mature, more skilled - and thus ready to roll! :)
Happy Trails,

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