Welcome to the blog of a teen and her life with 9 dogs!
These ramblings are best read with a hot cuppa' coffee in your hand and warm slippers on your feet.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"The End of One Thing is Merely the Beginning of Another"

I'm sad to announce that the Small 'N' Mighty Racing Team will not be racing this year.  Unseasonable weather and just a plain lack of time prevented us from being able to train properly this fall so we will not be ready to race come January.
We're still going to run, but just for fun this year. We'll probably do lots of exploring and try lots of new things since we don't have the pressure of being ready on time for races on us.

I can also tell that the end of my career in dog racing is in sight. This was such a huge part of my life for a long time and I'm sad to see it coming to an end. I will miss going to races and seeing familiar faces, racing and training alongside of friends, but most, I will miss the time I spent on the trail with my dogs. Hooking up the dogs and hitting the trail was my little paradise on earth...it was my escape from my sometimes chaotic life.

My team and I at the Indian River Sprint race last year. This was our 3rd win!

My girls on a training run last winter. Sydney has her usual "I'm insane and I know it" face on.

Happy faces!

I don't regret a single second of my life spent as a dog musher. I'm very thankful for the 8 years I was able to enjoy this crazy, wonderful lifestyle. It taught me invaluable lessons and put some great people in my path who are now my friends. I'm especially greatful for all of the people who took it upon themselves to help this young whippersnapper greenhorn when I was just starting out.
To the people who gave me/let me borrow dogs, let me use their equipment, run on their trails, gave me invaluable advice, THANK YOU! I wouldn't have been able to do it with out you guys. :)

Cougar says thanks too. ;)

Like I said, dog mushing taught me invaluable life lessons. Things I will be able to use now for the rest of my life. 
For example:

-Don't sweat the small stuff 
-The journey is the reward.

I have a tendency to freak out over little things...and working with dogs that have minds of their own means that not everything is going to go just as you planned it. You have to have patience and understanding. 

I also like to rush from point A to point B. I like to see immediate results when I do something. I didn't like having to wait for a dog to become a good runner, I don't want to wait to be good at something. But, things take hard work and perseverance that eventually will pay off in the end.  Focusing on getting from one point to the other makes you miss out on stuff along the way.

One of my favorite trails to travel in the fall. It's so gorgeous covered in colorful leaves...it has kind of an ethereal look to it. 

Jacob, admiring his reflection in his water bowl after a run. 

I'm thankful for the things I learned, the adventures I had, and the friends I met in these past 8 years. I'm ready to see what the next 8 have. 

I'm not sure if this blog is something that I will keep up on but we shall see what happens. :)

Thanks for reading, I hope you have fantastic day!  

Peace out, dog! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Changing Seasons, Changing Paths

What's that? The leaves are changing? The air is getting colder? It must be Fall! 
Yes, the seasons are changing once again. Its time to put away the beach towels and sunscreen and begin getting ready for Fall.  The harnesses will be brought out shortly here at the kennel to begin fall training. 

Fall training is starting sort of late this year for us...we usually have a few runs under our belt before now. I have been just too busy to even begin getting my equipment out of storage. 
Things are slowing down a bit now, however, and I'm hoping the temps will go down soon as well. 
Then the fun can really begin! ;)

I'm not sure what this season is going to look like this year. Unfortunately, we won't be going into the 6-dog class like I had hoped after last season. My last trusty leader, Salsa, will probably be retiring from the race team this year. 
So, that will leave me with a bunch of young and crazy hooligans. Sydney, Char, Jazz, and Jetta will make up the race team this year. We're definitely going to have to work our tails off before racing starts. 

Unfortunately, this will be the last year that the Small 'N' Mighty team will be racing. I have more dogs retiring than I do racing and it was decided a while ago that no more dogs would be added to the kennel. 
It's been a fun 8 year ride and I'm very sad to see that the end of it is in sight. I don't know what it's going to be like when fall rolls around with in the next couple of years and I don't have a team to train for racing. It will be a sad time, I know that for sure. 

All of the dogs will be staying here at the kennel to live out their retirement. I'll still do things with the 3 young'uns, I'm sure...might even do a dryland race or two in the fall with them. 
Other than that, though, this will be our last season racing. We're gonna give it all we've got!

Sorry to end things on a sad note but I've gotta run! Now that summer is over, my blog entires won't be so scarce (hopefully). 

Enjoy the beginnings of fall everyone! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

There's No Such Thing As A Sure Thing

I've heard that spring is here...or it's supposed to be anyways. The 2 ft of snow that's still on the ground at home kind of confuses me. lol

I haven't been home in almost 3 weeks. My oldest sister was expecting a baby girl on the 20th of March but the little munchkin decided to come earlier than planned. (She was full term and everything is fine...we just thought we'd have at least another week to bite our nails!). 
A healthy baby girl was born on March 11th at 6:27am, weighed 5lbs 8oz, and measured 18 or so inches long. Her name is Emma Claire and she has two proud older sisters.

I've been at my sister's house helping her out with the baby and her two older girls, ages 5 and 1.  
So that means I haven't seen my dogs in almost 3 WEEKS! I miss them something fierce...
I should be going home after Easter weekend though. 
Although I've had a great time with my family, I will be SO GLAD to see my dogs again and to get back into my "dog routine". I'm sure some or most of the snow will be gone by the time I get back so I'll have to put my sleds away. :(

There's always next year though. If...

They say that you can "never trust a sure thing" and I have found that to be more and more true the longer I walk this earth. I'm at that point in my life where I have to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of it. 
And at this point,

I'm not entirely sure what I want. 

A while back, my long-term life goal was to run either the Iditarod or the Fur Rondy. I wanted a large kennel in either Alaska or Minnesota, I wanted to train and race competitively, run a tour kennel with the retired/slower/rescue dogs and live the rest of my life as a musher. 

My plans and dreams changed though, as they often do in my seemingly fickle life. I scrapped the Iditarod plans and traded them for dreams of being a professional photographer with a family and a big house on a hill.

Alas, I still haven't made a decision.

I did make a decision a while ago, though, that Jetta would be the last addition to the kennel for a long time. As long as Salsa is still up to it next year, I may have a 5 dog team for the 6 dog class. If she wants to retire though, I will still have a 4 dog team...as long as I can get some focus in to Char and some commands in to Sydney. lol

Yes, I have enough fur balls for now.
Besides, whenever I go into "buy every puppy in sight" mode, my wallet reminds to me to calm the heck down. ;)

Ah well, spring is (supposedly) here so that means there will be a ton of yard/kennel work for me when I finally get home. I will be so distracted by the endless raking, digging, and lifting that I will barely have any time to think about all the decisions I have to make and all the puppies I want to buy... ;)
Plus, IT'S ALMOST TIME TO RIDE! Nothing clears my mind better than taking a horse out into a field and cantering all of my thoughts into the ground.
Me riding Buddy on a moody, end-of-summer day last year. About 1/2 and hour later my friend and I were running back to the barn in a hail storm...

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Annnd That's A Wrap!"

Wow, what a season! Short though it may have been, it was a good one still. The snow came late (better late than never, I suppose) and it's already showing signs of leaving for good.
We didn't get to an out-of-state race like we had planned but, there's always next year!

The Kinross Classic ended up being a go so we hauled ourselves up there to race some dogs and hang with sled dog people. We ran the 4 dog sport (as always) and came in 3rd place on Saturday in a class of 11 (starting from 10th place). On Sunday, the dogs got themselves into tangle after tangle coming out the starting chute which dropped us back to 6th place over all.
Things didn't go as I had planned (when does anything in life go as you planned it?? lol) but we had fun anyways, learned a lot, and armed with the knowledge we gained this season, we'll be ready to tackle 2014!

Sydney is doing excellent as a first time leader this year. I think she will enjoy the break over the summer, however, as the lead position is a tough one, especially for a young whipper snapper like her. ;) I have no doubts that she will be more than ready to get back into it next fall!

Jetta is doing AWESOME! She's been on 4 runs since she came to live with us and is taking to it like a duck takes to water. When I run her next to her sister, Char, I can hardly tell the difference in performance between the two - she does so well! Harness breaking her was a breeze...the hard part is going to be hanging onto her when it's time to hook up; that girl is WILD!

Well, the van has been stripped of all of my equipment and the temps are going to be quite warm all week...the sled dog season is wrapping up. I'm always sad to see it go but I know that the horse season is right around the corner...and I'm excited to get it started! I've been out of the saddle for too long...

I'd like to thank anyone and everyone that had ANYTHING to do with this years racing season, all of the people who gave up many hours of their lives so I could have fun and race my dogs... THANK YOU! I cannot tell you how much you are appreciated. :)

Look out for us next winter...we might be ready to kick butt in the 6 dog class! ;D

Monday, January 28, 2013

Indian River Sprint Race

The results are in!

The Small 'N' Mighty Racing Team came in 1st place out of 10 teams! 

We almost didn't place at all though...on Saturday I almost missed my chute time! In sled dog racing, you have a "chute time" and a "start time" which are 1 minute apart from each other. You're supposed to be in the chute for your chute time and then you wait there for the minute until your start time. If you miss your start time, the clock starts for you anyway and you have to go out at the end of your class. So depending on how many teams are after you, you could be adding a substantial amount of extra time to your race time!
I got into the chute just has the starter was counting down "5...4...3...2...1...". I just BARELY made it!

After that minor mishap, we had a tangle/ball up on the trail when we passed a team. Char, who was running lead with Salsa, wanted to join the team behind us after we passed them. It took me a few seconds to get everyone straightened out and headed in the right direction but we finally got our crap together and finished in 1st!

On Sunday, we were able to hold our place and Sydney made her debut as a leader running in tandem with Salsa. Sydney did EXCELLENT! Passing trail help? No problem! Passing a team? No problem! 
She is becoming quite the professional! 

Jetta got to come along with us to the race so she could get a feel for the racing scene. She's not quite sure what to think yet...

She will get the hang of it soon though and will be ready to rock next year!

All in all, we had a GREAT weekend! We would like to give a shout out to ALL of the people that had ANYTHING to do with the race you are so greatly appreciated! 

Next stop, the Thunder Bay Classic in Alpena, MI! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet Jetta!

Say hello to the newest member of the kennel!

This is Jetta, she's a Siberian Husky and is just under 2 years old. She's the half sister to my other sibe, Char.  I'm looking to advance to the 6 dog class in races next year and hopefully Jetta will want to be apart of the team! 

She will be coming to the race (OMG, we have a race!!) with us this weekend so she can see what it's all about. I'm going to do with her what I did with Sydney; take her to all of the races this year so she can get a feel for what they're like so she'll be ready to take part in the madness next year! 

Welcome, Jetta!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Don't Put The Sled Before The Dogs...

Well...I spoke too soon...first race: cancelled. :P

The local news did a little segment on it: 9/10 News
(If you look close, you'll see a pic of my team and I at the first Indian River race 2 years ago! My team is being led to the starting line so it's only a back shot...I'm wearing bib #14.)

However, they say every cloud has a silver lining and there is one here. Although the temps are going to reach almost 50 degrees F (!!!) tomorrow, they're going to go back to normal on Sunday and stay that way for the entire week. It's also supposed to snow on Sunday so as long as we get a couple of inches to cover the icy base we'll be left with after the warm up, we'll be good to go!
The trails in Kalkaska (destination of our next race) are said to look good so as long as they make it through the unseasonable temps tomorrow, we'll have a race next weekend!

We managed to get in some good runs before the temps rose and on one of those runs I brought along one of my cameras. Here's a little video I put together of the footage I got. :)
Small 'N' Mighty Racing Team Video