Siberian Huskies & Sled Dog Racing in NZ Blog

Autumn Burn and Sled Dog Derby August 2017

Friday August 4th I head up to stay at a house in Waitarere Beach with a group of Central Territories Siberian Husky Club members. Fun group of people, chatting, a few drinks then it’s an early night for all, to be fresh for the pre-dawn start.

The setup crew for the Autumn Burn headed into the forest before the main convoy of entrants, so I hooked in behind them . . .

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Vineyard Classic Sunday Morning Racing and Prizegiving

It’s 6.15am, -1 degrees Celsius, the sun creeping up above the horizon as I set up on Linden Estate Winery for the final morning of racing. Frost covers the ground and tops of all the buildings. I’m at an elevated position high above the first section of the course, waiting patiently for the light to come through. Thankful for multiple layers of clothing keeping me warm. As the racing begins I clamber further up to a section, two thirds up the huge hill.

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Vineyard Classic Saturday Afternoon Racing

Recharged after a rest and some food, I arrive back at Linden Winery Estate round 3pm, just as teams begin arriving. Trailers parked, the dogs get walked, harnesses put on, then tethered by the trailers. Every team I watch shows a very close bond between dogs and musher. An example of this is in the photo of Hayden, Kaino and Bailey. Also spotted is the youngest member taking a well needed nap to re-charge for the late afternoon racing . . . . .

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Vineyard Classic Set Up and Saturday Morning Racing

Course set up day for Ridge Runners Sled Dog Racing Club Vineyard Classic in Napier, is Friday 28th July. To take part in this, I drive up Thursday night, with my friend Jane tagging along for company. We settle into our unit at the Kiwi Holiday Park, a handy 10 minutes from the venue. In the evening nature treats us to a beautiful double rainbow over the water. Mid-morning Friday I follow Eric, Gaby and the race marshal, Darren Scragg from Australia, to the Linden Estate Winery. 

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Raumai Cup Day Two

Leaving Eric and Gaby’s place, we are out the door at 5am, skies pitch black and weather overcast. At the forest by 5.45am to set up for the days racing. Once all was readied and while everyone milled around waiting for the mushers meeting I spotted a young toddler taking a keen interest in proceedings, all kitted out with his own headlight, just like Mum.
As the mushers gather for their meeting I grab my gear and head into the forest to find my first vantage spot on the trail.

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Raumai Cup Day One

Raumai Cup Race morning began with drizzle and thick mist hanging over the forest. I arrived early to help set up then headed off to walk the trail. Thankfully it was pretty dry in the sheltered depths of the trees.

Walking along I took time to help by clearing debris from the trail. The temperature turned out to be mild, not freezing as I had dressed for. Lugging my backpack, tripod and camera in hand, I was soon sweating and puffing

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Raumai Forest Training and Mock Race

Leading up to the Raumai Cup race weekend, Ridge Runners Sled Dog Racing Club (RRSDRC) have training runs at the forest, as well as a Mock Race afternoon for mushers, new and seasoned, to come train in race conditions. 

A training session in mid-May was my first trip to Raumai Forest. Unfortunately for me, I missed the critical right hand turn. . .

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Sled Dog Fundamentals Training Weekend

Back in May I was invited to attend a Sled Dog Fundamentals Training weekend held just north of Otaki.  It was run by Curt and Fleur Perano, of Underdog NZ, who together have many years of experience running, racing and caring for sled dogs here and overseas. Check out their website for a full bio. This weekend was all about the fundamentals of training and developing a team of dogs . . .

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Siberian Huskies on Show

Show time!!! Up until now I’ve only ever been to one dog show in my life, and that was nearly 20 years ago to check out the breeds I was interested in before deciding a husky was the dog for me.

My first show this year was at Levin where Nardine was showing three of her dogs. I arrived at 8.30am and quickly found where the dogs were set up in the gazebo, with crates, mats and grooming table. All three dogs looked fluffy and beautiful

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Introducing Spirit and the Birth of Her Pups

It was early December last year when I travelled to meet Spirit for the first time at her home, Kiwidinok Siberian Huskies, near Woodville.
Two trips were made pre-birth to orientate myself with the location/environment and get a shot of a very pregnant Spirit. On both these trips I took the chance to enjoy another one of my passions. . .

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Training in Waitarere Forest and Autumn Burn Sled Dog Derby

July last year I re-connected with the Central Territories Siberian Husky Club (CTSHC) and joined them at a training day in Waitarere Forest, north of Levin.

Living where I do, this meant being on the road by 5am Saturday morning to reach the meet up point at 6am, then a 10-15 minute drive into the middle of the forest to a small open area. Three teams were there . .

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Siberian Huskies and Sled Dog Racing In NZ

Thanks for signing up to follow my adventures in capturing the essence of the Siberian Husky dogs and Sled Dog Racing in NZ.

To get started let me fill you in on the back story of how the Siberian Huskies and Sled dog Racing in NZ project came about, combining my passion for the Siberian Huskies and photography.

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