I first discovered the sport when Andy joined the family a year ago. Coming from a German Shorthaired Pointer breeder in Czech Republic, she was the ‘unskilled’ teenager of the litter, being too close to her owner to be any good in hunting exam. Myself coming out of a dark phase of my life due to previous injuries, I can accurately say that meeting her brought back some light in my life. Through the help of my girlfriend who has been racing with her rescues for a while, I discovered bits by bits the whole extent of the discipline, planning trainings, working on Andy’s condition, learning all the tips to keep her motivated and happy.
Coming from the world of high level show jumping and other equestrian sports, I was exposed very young to competition and animal welfare. Working hours every day in boiling sun to raise the horses I competed with, hard work has never scared me, devoting all my energy to getting the horse ready for the big day. However, unlike a lot of riders in my surround ings, I always believed in the welfare of the animal being above everything. A few years later, biking and running with my dog has confirmed those values I cherish. Racedays are for us a way to work hard as a team, measuring up to our work, and spending a good time in amazing atmosphere, sharing my passion with tens of other people living for the same goal. I usually overlook results; of course, it is always pleasant to place well, but my dogs are young, and feeling that adrenaline rush throughout the whole track, watching the power and joy of my dogs, is definitely much more important. The feeling of doing one with your dog cannot be rightfully described; changing directions, pushing, slowing dog, overpassing… Sharing the same mind, determination and goal with your dog is something I wish for everyone to experience.
Scott later joined the pack in a similar way as Andy did; an unwanted gentle giant from the breeder. We like to nickname him the lit tle pony of the squad; very clumsy at first, past his one year old the discovery of the harness has helped dealing with his huge puppy clumsiness. While there is no denying on Andy’s motivation when it comes to traction, jumping on the start literally like a kangaroo to speed up the process, Scott has a thing for speed, loving every second in bikejoring.
Bearing in mind that we value furthermost the atmosphere of the race and welfare of my teammates, we usually build a calendar of all races happening around us in Slovakia and Czech Republic, later deciding closer to the day based on picking the ones we would enjoy the most, avoiding 30 degrees sunny field races for instance which endangerers the dog physically and mentally, or races with too much distance or too little recovery t ime.
The irony of the story? Through all this bonding and education with the harness, my dogs have grown mentally to turn out as fine hunting dogs, placing first in national exams. This just confirms my belief that good happy dogs are dogs sane in their body and their mind, and thankfully bikejoring and canicross offers both.