Many of us have been marvelling at the extraordinary feats of athletes competing at this year’s Winter Olympics.
But one snow-based event that you won’t see at Sochi - husky racing - is being practiced much closer to home.
Husky enthusiast Pete Dowling not only owns an 11-strong pack of huskies, he regularly competes with them in races known as dry-land mushing.
Pete said: “Ever since I was little I always liked the husky breed. I bought the first one as a rescue dog for my partner and the pack has just got bigger and bigger ever since. I love their work ethic. As soon as you put a harness on them they are like a duck to water.
“I’ve been keeping huskies for the last four years and racing them for the last 14 months or so. It’s great fun and the dogs absolutely love it. It’s what they’re bred for.”
Dry-land mushing involves packs of huskies pulling their owners along a designated course on a three-wheel cart.
Pete, 45, of Marshalls Cross Road, Peasley Cross, rates his husky Demon as leader of the pack. He has imaginative names for the remainder of the pack too - including Mayhem, Havoc, Riot, Chaos, Anarchy and Mischief.
Pete and his team face their biggest challenge to date this weekend at a World Cup event in Norfolk which is set to feature 250 teams from across Europe. “There is an art to dry-land mushing too. You have to teach the dogs all the commands and make all the right calls as you go around the course,” Pete added. “I’ve found it’s best to teach them the calls and commands when they’re pups and then they grow up with it.”
Go online at www.sthelensreporter.co.uk to see a video of Pete and his huskies in action.