This weekend, I (Sarah) have been in Kiruna in Swedish Lapland for a conference on racing sled dogs organised by the Kirunaslådhundklub.
First impressions: it’s COLD up here.
Second impressions: the cakes are fabulous.
Kiruna is a strange place. It’s a city built to house the people working in the iron ore mine in the hill that looms over the town. It’s so closely related to the mine, in fact, that as the mine workings have extended, the town is being moved in a planned piece by piece way to keep it at a reasonable distance.
Image shows the side of the mine
I have been lucky enough to attend talks by some of the famous names of the sled veterinary world (Dr Jerry Vanek), the mushing world (Thomas Waerner and Brett Sass) and of both together in the person of the great Arleigh Reynolds. Dr Reynolds is one of the most successful sprint mushers of all time who has also carried out extensive pioneering research into optimal nutrition for racing dogs.
The subjects have covered nutritional and hydration strategies for racing, harness fit (a subject very dear to my heart!), orthopaedic issues in racing dogs , preparation for race day and a variety of other topics. It has also been an excuse to spend far too much money on trial harnesses from several European manufacturers which I will be taking home and testing on my own dogs before deciding which will join the line up at Running Dog.