Racing Sled Dogs & Sofa Adornments


Living with and loving a family of working Siberian Huskies.

view:  full / summary

On Show

Posted by charoite on May 3, 2013 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Spring seems to have turned up at last although it's been great  to have some nice cool mornings so the dogs can still enjoy a run of decent length.

There have been a couple of shows to keep us busy over the past two weekends. The first was the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Championship Show. It's always an exhausting, long day. I'd entered Hexie and was really really pleased how much she seemed to enjoy her day, not showing any anxiety or reluctance to go into what is a noisy hall full of people and other dogs. She was great in the ring and came away (although she's utterly out of coat) with a nice third place from Judge Sue Knowles. Her brother Spook showed his little socks off in the dog ring and won Postgraduate Dog under judge Catherine Lewis. We just need to work on getting him out of trying to race the other dogs around the ring when they are all sent out together. Pyewacket came third in Open Dog to the CC and RCC winners.

Pyewacket winning Open Dog and the RDCC at WELKS

The next weekend saw a trip down to Malvern for WELKS under Simon Luxmoore. Just had Spook and Pyewacket entered this time. Spook was extremely happy and bouncy, "on one" you might say. He came third in Postgraduate. Louise from Demoneira Sled Dogs took some fab pictures of him and I think he is coming along really nicely. Pyewacket won Open Dog and the Reserve DCC. The full results from the show can be seen here

Spook looking fab on the move at WELKS

Quick Look Back then Onwards and Upwards

Posted by charoite on March 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (1)

The race season is very nearly at a close for 2012/13. It's been a fab few weeks for us.

I'm sure everyone who actually knows us understands this is all about the dogs for us. Any pride that's taken is taken soley in what our incredible pets do - whether it's on the trail, in the ring or at home, stopping me from going to pieces with their unswerving love and companionship for one! We're really just their chauffeurs and caretakers, driving these amazing dogs around and being priviledged to stand on the rig (or sled) while they do what they do with passion and drive.

Good news from Crufts (Pic Courtesy of Demoneira Sled Dogs)

Have to confess I am just a tiny little bit proud of myself taking the six dog team out at the BSHRA R2 Championship Final though. This is something I've been dying to do for a while but my self confidence has been at an all-time low for the past couple of months due to what I'll just term "stuff" and leave at that! I needn't have worried, the dogs were superb. Raven and Zala in lead didn't miss a beat or hesitate on a single turn - even Cranwich's notoriously strange straight-ons. Yes, I came in grinning and went out again still smiling on the Sunday.

But to recap a bit! We went to Fineshades in February which was fairly bijou as races go but really enjoyable. Kev ran 5 dogs in the 6 and took out Pyewacket, Brew and Raven in the 3 dog class. I took out Hexie and Spook in 2 dog. Fineshades is a fast hard trail. The dogs loved it  but we booted the smaller, faster teams as a precaution. Kev was second in 6 dog and won the 3 dog class. Hexie and Spook had an awesome run with me and won 2 dog, again had me smiling all the way round as their little booted feet pounded the trail. It's a busy forest for spectators and dogs but none of the gang batted an eyelid.

You can't help but smile! Fabulous pic by Siberprint

The following weekend saw the final race in the very competitive BSHRA series where teams battle it out over a number of rallies throughout the season accumulating championship points. Racing is extremely close in this series and simply taking a turn too wide can lose valuable seconds that knock teams down in the results. Races are quite often decided by hundredths of a second.

Feeling like a winner, finishing the 6 dog class at Cranwich! 

Kev has been running Charoite dogs Pyewacket, Brew, Spook and Hexie (with help from Raven in one of the races when Pye was out of action) in the BSHRA series. This is a real family affair as Brew and Raven are mum and dad to Spook and Hexie and Pye is their uncle! It was a nail biting finish where the final race out of eight really did decide the championship. In the end Kev and the Charoite gang came away with the silver medal, just one point short of the gold!

Eating up the Cranwich Trail, Pic Courtesy of Tonin Aguilera

The Charoite gang are dual purpose dogs and the ones who enjoy going in the ring are shown as well as raced. Last weekend saw thousands of the country’s top-winning dogs descend on the NEC in Birmingham for the annual Crufts dog show. There were more than 180 Siberian Huskies entered in the show and I was beyond delighted when Pyewacket won a large Open Dog class and went on to be awarded the Reserve Dog CC by Judge Mark Theaker (Huskidoo). Pye already has one CC which he won with BIS at the SHCGB Championship Show last year.

Anyway, can't wait to see what the rest of 2013 holds for us all :-) Lets go!


Snowy Sherwood

Posted by charoite on January 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

After some fab runs recently from the Mystic Charoite gang (including wins at Wyedean East and BSHRA Broxa) we raced closer to home last weekend at our training ground in Sherwood Forest.

Always have mixed feelings about racing there. The trails usually go off into areas we don't or can't in training so the dogs are faced with the very unfamiliar in a very familiar place which is always a bit confusing for them. Plus, it just isn't as exciting for their fuzzy brains as it is getting out of the van to a different place with different sights and smells!

We decided the SHCGB Sherwood was a race where I would run the quickest team of Pyewacket, Brew, Hexie and Spook. Was so excited as the weekend approached but also just a tad nervous! I was a bit unsure whether they would a) take the different turns and b) if they didn't, would I be able to do anything about it? Plus the fact I fell off the rig and was parted from my team at Ford a couple of months ago has hung over my head for a while.

Anyway, I needn't have stressed. The dogs were superb and didn't miss a beat on a totally different trail in a familiar setting and we comfortably won the four dog class and put in the quickest time of the event on both days. We even got snow on Sunday.

Here's a few pics including a fab one taken by Drew Smith which he has kindly given me permission to use online.

Here's the guys and me at the Finish on Sunday, big smiles all round


Twenty Twelve - A Year in Charoite

Posted by charoite on December 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

5-4-3-2-1 Go, Race Season is Underway

Posted by charoite on November 7, 2012 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Wow, what a busy few weeks. This one feels like a bit of a lull but calm before the storm I think so time to try and catch up a bit!


A couple of weeks ago I took Pyewacket down to Midland Counties dog show. Very cold and blustery day and he was on his little tippy toes from getting out of the van which meant for a very, very pretty Mr Pye in the ring. No top honours for him although he did manage a fourth in a nice Open Dog class. It was a lovely mid-week break from work too.


Picture by Angie Johns

That weekend we went to our first rally of the season. AMWA (the Alaskan Malamute working club) always puts on nice races, with Siberian classes. This one was at Kings Forest and took the format of a night run on the Saturday following by a Sunday morning run. It was a chance for me to try out my new head torch (1600 lm Cree cheapy from China) which turned out fab – a good thing considering my rig light came undone halfway around the trail.


We split the fab four up and I took Brew and Spook to run with Raven in three dog and Kev had Pye and Hexie to run with his girls Chena and Zala in four. Kev also ran Daisy with Shadow and Delta in three dog. The dogs all had fab runs. We both won our classes and the lovely B team did themselves proud too and came in 4th (training with the manic Springer seems to have really upped their motivation). Nice 2.9 trail although it was very squelchy and draggy in places and that long drag into the finish at Kings is just that, a long drag.


Last week saw the brilliant SHCGB Delamere night rally. Driving into Delamere Forest always makes you feel like the season has really begun. It isn’t my favourite trail but it’s one of my favourite races, the atmosphere is fantastic. It turned into quite an eventful day. Things began on a bit of a sad note when a horse being ridden through the forest collapsed and died near what would be the finish line a bit later on. This must have been really upsetting for the organisers who all rushed to try and do something to help the poor animal, as well as catch the other horse that was being led by the rider (who was thankfully unhurt even though he took quite a tumble when his mount fell) at the time.


When trails are quite hard and very fast running, we tend not to play around with teams and make sure the teams we run are totally matched for ability. Some of the girls are not so keen when it’s harder underfoot so I ran Raven, Zala and Chena in three dog and Kev took out the Fab Four – Brew, Spook, Hexie and Pyewacket – in four. Daisy and Delta plain hate it so had a nice walk instead. Tigerlily is still getting over her surgery.


The girlies had a nice run around. It was a shame I got a puncture and an even bigger shame I wrecked my knees a bit after I slipped and got dragged for a few yards up the trail (ouchy)!


Getting the four dog team out was as entertaining as ever, added to by the fact Hexie is in season. Had help from Tony Fethon and Matt Holmes. The boys are far too motivated by the trail ahead to worry overly about how good Ms Hex smelled to them and they flew out from start and into darkness. “Does the start go down a hill,” I asked, a bit stupidly, considering I’d just run the trail for what, the 7th year running or something.


No, it doesn’t. It had gone dark because Kev’s light had gone out straight from the start. Luckily he had a head torch and it isn’t the most complicated trail in the world although the team did go through the ski netting on the turn about halfway that splits them from oncoming teams. Still, at least pulling the dogs around gave him a chance to fix the light. The dogs ran brilliantly as ever and won the class for the second year running.


The late night drive back from Delamere isn’t my favourite (good thing Kev did the driving bit ) and it was up at the crack of dawn the next day to run the dogs at Sherwood.


So yes, race season 2012/13 is officially underway.


Brew's Club Magazine Advert

Posted by charoite on October 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

New Champions get a free shout-out in the SHCGB magazine. For any of his friends who isn't a member, this is Brew's little Ad!

Does what it says on the tin!

Posted by charoite on September 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Brew, Spook and I had a trip down to Wales a couple of weeks ago to show at Welsh Kennel Club under Sally Leich (Forstal).

Spook has barely been shown and I'd planned to do a lot more work with him but the couple of weeks before the show were too humid to get him out on the field to practice. I was absolutely delighted when he was placed 4th in a really strong Post-Graduate class. 

The amazing Brew (Ch. Charoite Witch's Brew) won Open Dog and took the RDCC which was fab! This is Sally's critique of Brew:

"Very typical, functional & workmanlike g/w fellow with excellent angulation, topline, croup & tail carriage. In very good coat & well muscled condition, attractive head & expression & a good earset when he puts them up, another with really outstanding ground covering, & smooth & light footed movement, absolutely true front & rear. A very worthy Ch & well deserved RCC, who was pushing hard in the challenge."

I love the phrase workmanlike when applied to Siberians as it's everything they should be. Honest dogs who don't hide underneath flashy movement or glamourous hairdos!

Was really nice to see our old friend Hatcher (Zima Hatcher at Bifrost) who I've known since he was a couple of weeks old win his 2nd CC at the show.

Here is Spook (Charoite Raven's Brew) having fun in the ring

Pure Magic!

Posted by charoite on June 9, 2012 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (1)

This is a post I've been dying to write and almost can't believe I'm writing. The amazing Charoite Witch's Brew won his third CC at Three Counties on Thursday making him (subject to KC confirmation, of course) my first Champion.

As a writer I'm for once absolutely at a loss to describe how I feel. Brew is an incredible dog and nothing I write can possibly do him anything like justice. Along with his equally fantastic brother Pyewacket, he has run his heart out from the moment I struggled to put his first harness on him. Four years down the line and harnessing him is still entertaining and deafening because he just wants to get out there and run. A hard-driving, totally focussed lead dog on the trail, at home he lives for snuggles and is usually to be found wherever I am with his head tucked as close to me as possible. Brew is all about love, barely contained energy and the absolute joy he seems to radiate every waking moment - this dog even looks happy asleep.

I am extremely grateful to judges Sheryl Leich, Andrew Grisbrooke and Sharon Sargent for recognising my amazing boy's many attributes and forgiving his over-enthusiasm, his radar ears when the benching area erupts into chaos and the fact he doesn't always get why he's standing still in a show ring when life is happening elsewhere!

After a couple of ventures into the ring as a puppy, Brew got a bit spooked and didn't go near a show ring for a long time. I owe a big thank you to Debi Windsor and Pauline Amphlett who helped build up his (& my) confidence when I decided to try him again in a couple of open shows the summer before last. He entered his first Championship Show as an adult last year and just four shows later has been made up.

You can read more about Brew on his page. I'll leave you with some pictures of the boy himself in and out of the ring. Like I say, awesome just keeps getting better.


Summer Time - and the living is easy (well, if you're not me)

Posted by charoite on May 25, 2012 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s quiet, it’s sunny and it makes me worry about stuff.

Although I’m not a total Summer Grinch, you know this isn’t exactly my favourite time of the year. While lots of people feel the need to rush into town with either nipples and/or belly buttons on display, I watch the sunshine from a cool spot in the shade and think yeah, I suppose it does make you feel an awful lot better than when it’s raining. Without races most weekends and proper hard training to be done, there’s lots of time to chill out. However, as a natural-born neurotic, chilling out gives me lots of time to worry.

The dogs are enjoying the current sunny weather though but I think that’s because they don’t have to worry about it. They don’t have to worry about what to wear and if they have any shoes that go at all with the summer stuff they put on for work. They don’t have to worry about how alarmingly white they are, why fake-tan never seems to work on the front of your legs, if their colleagues have remembered to put on deodorant and whether their lunch will go limp in the fridge and they won’t feel like eating it. They don’t have to worry about how early they’ll have to get up to take themselves off for a ten minute leg-stretch run. They don’t even have to worry about how they are coping in the heat. They get to chill out all day and just worry about what they’re getting for their dinner.

If dog shows weren’t so expensive I’d go to more of them and have husky coat, white dog shampoo and what to put on my feet to get dragged around the ring without turning an ankle to worry about.

In spite of the sun, it seems I’m not the only husky person to get overly worried about stuff at this time of year. Facebook is full of people randomly worrying at the moment – it seems we all seem to care a lot more about stuff in general when it’s summer. We now have some international husky groups up there too which proves that worrying about stuff unites the nations of dogdom.

I was already starting to worry about the weekend this morning (Will It Be Too Hot To Do Anything?) so I decided to look at some photographs from the winter and take a few deep breaths. Looking at rally pictures is like a reassuring brown paper bag to breathe into. Apparently some people are now worrying about who might be downloading the photographs of their dogs they have shared on Facebook but it still works for me, panic attack averted.

Anyway, because it’s even more therapeutic doing something with pictures, I put this fabulous sequence of photographs (taken at Fineshades by Mr Wayne Mort) together of Kev and the boys showing just how to take a turn.

 And breathe . . .

Sarah Rides into Dodge (or a teeny bit of drama at the Club Show!)

Posted by charoite on April 24, 2012 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday was Pyewacket’s turn to shine in the ring. His first CC and my lovely boy did it in fantastic style, in a way I couldn’t have dreamed up, with Best in Show at the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Championship Show.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? A little after 6.30am, the dogs are bathed, I’ve managed against all odds in this weather to keep them clean and we’re in the van with my friends Sally and Sandra en route for the Kennel Club Building at Stoneleigh. En route didn’t last very long. About 15 miles from home, the van loses power and we limp off the M180 to the safety of a lay-by. To cut a long story short (and one that left us with cold feet and a growing sense of panic as Sal was entered in Puppy near the beginning of the show), Sal’s deeply patient other half came to our rescue with their Sprinter. Buzz got my van home and we made it to the show ground 10 minutes before dog judging commenced.

My guys haven’t set foot in a ring since October and have put quite a few, fast race miles under their harnesses since then and little man Spook hasn’t been shown since this event last year as a minor puppy. Walking from the van they were all a bit excited to say the least and didn’t seem to be in a place that gave me much confidence they’d remembered what a dog show was all about.

Spook, however, was a star considering he’s hardly done any showing. He struggled a little bit with the concept of not chasing the dog in front and not playing with the dog behind but his movement on his own was fab. Clever boy was placed 2nd in Yearling!

Just two more minutes Pooky

Lez and Ian had brought their Charoite boys Flea and Slash too. Clever Flea won his class, undergraduate. Gorgeous Slash was in Limit with Brew, looked totally fab and came 2nd to Brew’s 3rd. Brew was a little bit off his trolley on Sunday and clearly had a few issues concentrating. I can’t help smiling, though, even if he does make my arms look like I self-harm. Brew is a total Mummy’s Boy and protested loudly and ran around in circles when Sandra kindly took him back to the van for me.

In the midst of all this, my lovely Beany took her three boys into the ring for the Brood class like a bijoux gangster matriarch with lots of hired muscle behind her, earning her the nickname Peggy Mitchell which may stick! The family reunion was a bit lively for a show ring but really nice that Pye, Brew and Slash (who haven’t seen each other for a while) got on so well. At almost nine, Beany was as delightfully naughty as ever.

Open dog was amazing. Pyewacket is the polar opposite of his brother in the ring and so laid-back the only problem is keeping him awake. It’s funny, as Pye in harness getting ready to run is only just this side of under control. Pye on a walk is a different dog and on a show chain acts like it’s all he ever does and flows around on the loosest lead. Anyway, it was a really strong class and I was delighted when my super boy was placed 1st. Straight into the Dog Challenge and I was thrilled, stunned, ecstatic to be handed the big green card!

Pyewacket stepping up to the challenge for Best in Show

The Committee made a real effort to add some pizzazz to the show this year with Krys Greenland getting everyone behind the winners and running Pyewacket, as Best Dog, around the ring to loads of applause goes down as one of my proudest moments.

Then came the Challenge for Best in Show, ta da! For those who haven’t been to an event with different judges for dogs and bitches, this can sometimes be interesting as they don’t always come to an agreement. In this case, the judges Chris Barry (dogs) and Lyn Hall (bitches) had to call in the referee for the majority of the top honours (in fact everything but RBIS which they both agreed should go to the dog RCC winner). The Best in Show Challenge was always going to be interesting in these circumstances, the referee Sarah Robinson (Rigrunner) had bred the lovely bitch CC winner, and there was a bit of a noticeable hush from outside the ring when she stood in front of the two ticket winners.

You could even call it a Tumbleweed Moment and it certainly brought a bit of drama to the proceedings. It must’ve felt a bit like the Sheriff riding into Dodge… Being the referee must always be difficult as you are choosing an ultimate winner from two dogs you haven’t put there yourself. If you’ve bred one of them it must be a particularly strange place to be. However, you hope any good judge could cope with this situation if it arose (a bit heart wrenching as it must be) stay objective and look at the dogs in front of them with as impartial an eye as is possible given that neither of the dogs in the ring has suddenly fallen from out of space. Oddly enough, in the ring it wasn’t tense. I was just very happy to be where I was. Pyewacket had his 1st CC and we were in the Best in Show ring at our breed club’s biggest event. What’s not to love? Minnie is a gorgeous girl and both dogs totally deserved to be where they stood. I knew the referee would choose the dog who happened to carry it off best in that little snapshot moment and I would have been happy whichever way it went. As it was, on the last couple of goes around the ring, Pyewacket pulled a bit of something extra out of the bag to go Best in Show, clever boy. The big moment was actually caught on video. I am trying not to giggle as I've clearly got the whole tumbleweed/Dodge City theme playing out in my head.

Fantastic day and everyone made it feel very special to me for which I’m hugely grateful. Uneventful drive home too, thankfully, with lots of giggles.