It took me a while to get used to 17 dogs, but it has been long enough now that it feels normal.  My ATV weighs 650lbs not including me.  I keep the engine in 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear which slows them down.  I feel as though I have good control.

Sometimes is can be scary, but only sometimes.  Time to put away the camera and steer the ATV around the tree.

Homer likes to get himself nice and hot before we run, and he picked up a hitchhiker on the way.  "Mom, put away the camera, pull the leaf off my chin, spray the slime off my chin, and give me some water!"

Here is the team from the front.  This year, since it is an odd number, I decided to run 3 leaders.  Valeska always runs in middle lead, then I swap out the other 2 leaders each time we go out.  This day I have Lucas & Bobbi in lead with Valeska.  Most people train with 2 leaders.  Years ago I had read about Jeff King training with 3 leaders and I stored that info away for when I needed it.  I would not recommend unless you have a near perfect leader like Valeska to keep things going smoothly.

Lucas is doing well and he should race in lead for me again this season.  Of course, as usual, Valeska is Scott's main leader.  Bobbi is our new Northome girl.  She is running well, and will be used as Scott's backup race leader.

I'm hoping that Jadis will be a team dog only this race season, but she is still in the leader rotation for training.  Vale is doing AWESOME!  She shows great lead potential.  One day when she was in lead a chipmunk passed only 2 feet from her and she did not acknowledge it, something only Valeska will do.  We do not have any leaders that will chase animals, but they usually get excited and try to pickup the pace of the team when they see them.

This run Eve is paired with Circe.  I always run a young dog with an experienced dog.  I never pair up 2 young dogs. I also keep an experienced dog in front of the young dog.  That way the young dogs never learn to misbehave.

Mannie is Mannie, no complaints, always hardworking.  His daughter Solo is also AWESOME!  I love to run her in lead, so far she is doing very well.  I do not want to jinx myself, but the plan is for me to race her in lead with Lucas.

Virgil is doing good and he really loves to run with his dad Viktor.  Of course Viktor is doing great as usual.

Mark was determined to teach Lance the ropes.  "Son, always pull hard and stay focused.  When she waters you be sure to drink, but it is ok to flavor your water with grass and acorns.  When she drives the team close to a tree or sign you must jump under the line and push as far away as you can get, be sure to be real dramatic about she smashed you into a sign before, then go right back to your own side." "Ok, Dad.   I can do all of that except get back to my side of the line!"

Vince reminds me of Beaver in harness very hard driving and focused.  Homer just wants to go.

No complaints about Kermit and Beaver.  They are both wonderful working dogs.

Here we are with only 1 mile left to go, and they are still running strong.  You may notice that all of the dogs are now running on the opposite side of the line.  At the halfway point of the run I swap sides for each dog to help make sure that their muscles develop evenly.

We see annoying loose dogs while training.  We expect our dogs to pass all loose dogs without paying any attention to them.  This is where running experienced dogs next to the young dogs really helps.  Homer is ignoring the dog sniffing his butt, therefore young Vince pays no mind.  I was hoping to get a photo of the 2 Pekinese running at the team, but they were not out.

Here we go up our hill.  I feel bad that they always have to finish on a long hill.  They do well and pull all the way up without stopping.  What good dogs!!

Here we are at home!  I treat all of the dogs, but then make them stay lined out for 10 minutes to a half hour.  I will leave them and do chores while they stay lined out.  The dogs learn to relax and wait for me.  I'm proud  to say that some of these yearlings have already learned to lay down and wait.  Notice Lance is on the wrong side of the line because he had to jump way far away from the mailbox!  What a silly boy!