Practice Makes… Less Imperfect.

I know that most people reading this are probably friends, family, acquaintances, and fellow dog lovers who are either humoring me, like to see pictures of my dogs, just waiting for a train-wreck video, or think I’m completely hilarious. Or possibly genuinely interested and curious about this journey from Alaskan husky acquisition to skijoring. But with a few exceptions most are probably not actually skijorers or other forms of mushers.

The reason I feel a need to acknowledge this right now is that whoever you may be, you are about to watch two short videos. (Unless you for some reason found your way to this blog post and then decided you weren’t actually interested in it.) Two videos that really should be one video because they show consecutive events, but I leaned forward and shut the camera off with my body in between them. Two videos that, because everything went right, are relatively boring. And so I feel a need to explain exactly why you should be impressed by them:

1. That beautiful whoa. That beautiful whoa when a dog is crossing our path ahead of us. Are you kidding me?

2. That beautiful haw, when the dog that just crossed our path is gee.

3. I did not fall on the turn haw.

In fact, I did not fall once today, either by accident or on purpose. Which makes #1 even more impressive, because in the absence of brakes (oh, scooter, how I miss your brakes), prior to today I had to enforce a large percentage of WHOAs by falling to the ground and becoming dead weight. Apparently that kind of practice was exactly what the Mush Puppies needed to re-learn that WHOA is a word they should really pay attention to whether they are in front of a scooter or a skier. (Who knew that flinging yourself to the ground was a valid training technique? Whatever works, I guess.)






And although this is not visible in these short videos, I have one other thing I am proud of today. Usually I try to go early in the morning before there are a lot of other people in the park. Simply because the fewer distractions there are, the easier things are on me, and I like things to be easy. But although I lingered in bed far too long this morning to beat the crowds I decided to go anyway.

Because at some point I have to put away the desire for things to be easy, and instead be fair to my dogs… we are signed up for some skijor fun runs this winter and I can’t expect them to practice in isolation all winter and then show up at an event like that and adjust on the spot. So we need to practice around more distractions, and I need to trust them and their training to be able to handle those distractions. And if the results of practicing the falling WHOA are any indication, I don’t have anything to worry about.

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