Mushing allows me to combine my two biggest passions: love for animals and outdoor sports, says Marta Bosch Malé, an athlete from Catalonia

Next Thursday, January 31, 2019, the World Championship of Mushing will be held in Bessan (France). Martha Bosch Malé, an athlete from Catalonia, will take part in this sporting event for the first time. On the eve of the championship, she told about this unusual sport, her training and how to take care of sled dogs:

“Mushing is a sport that unites disciplines in which athletes compete in various distances using the help of one or several dogs.

Sled dogs were first used in Siberia (Russia) and the USA – they were harnessed to the sled in order to aid with transportation (the first mention dates back to 1607).

Today this sport is especially popular in North America (Canada), Scandinavian countries (Norway and Finland), France and in the Czech Republic. Recently, racing sled dogs is becoming an increasingly important sport in Spain and Catalonia.

The principle of this sport is this: a dog with a harness is tied to an athlete’s belt or a vehicle. Competitions may be held in a sleigh with the participation of at least two dogs.

There is also kanikross – a riding discipline in which the dog pulls a running athlete.

Other varieties include bikjoring (a riding discipline in which a dog tows a bicycle), dog scootering (pulling a sportsman on a special scooter) and skijoring (one of the disciplines of riding sports in which the skier-rider moves in their own free skiing style with one or more dogs).

I practice kanikross and skijoring, speaking on behalf of Catalonia and at the state level. Next Thursday, January 31, 2019, I will take part for the first time in the World Mushing Championship (IFSS test), which will be held in Bessan (France).

The championship will be held over a few days: from January 28 to February 1 but the competition for skijoring for girls will be held on January 31. I am very pleased with this opportunity. I feel a great responsibility and my goal is to make the most of it and enjoy this event, bring home many good impressions and continue training in my favorite sport.

To participate in the World Mushing Championship, I had to qualify and be one of the top three athletes in Spain. And I managed it. I took second place in the competition in Baqueira Beret.

At the Catalan level, the musing is supervised by the FCEH federation (La Federació Catalana d’Esports d’Hivern), at the Spanish level – RFEDI (Real Federación Española Deportes de Invierno). To speak on behalf of Spain you need an RFEDI license.

I train at the Catalonia ski stations Tuixén La Vansa (Alt Urgel) and Lles (Cerdanya). I spend the whole weekend here (if I don’t have competitions) plus one or two times a week. I also go to Peramola to workout (Peramola).

My maximum speed is 37 km / h. We reached it with a dog named Achilles.

Mushing allows me to combine my two biggest passions. On the one hand, this is love for animals, and on the other, the opportunity to do outdoor sports. Doing sports with my dog ​​gives me a lot of positive emotions, distracts me from my everyday worries and allows me to change my life for the better. Now my whole life revolves around this sport. During the day I teach music at an institute, and I dedicate my evenings to train, feed and care for my dog.

The dog breeds most suitable for this sport are Graysters and Alaskan. These breeds are a mixture of hunting and hound breeds. They can be bought in Catalonia, Spain, Slovenia, Norway and the Czech Republic.

The minimum age of the dog (regardless of its gender) to participate in competitions is one year. Their diet is based on mostly meat. I buy food from a well-known Spanish brand, which provides a good combination of the energy component and the quality of ingredients. This is a specially developed food for dog athletes, it provides 4800 kcal / kg and includes the addition of salmon oils and avian fat.

If I am asked about some interesting or amusing facts that have happened to me, I always tell the story about my participation in the Pirena. It is a mushing event that covers all the Catalan Pyrenees. I was able to participate in the last edition. I was lucky to be accompanied by my dog ​​Duc, a Labrador, and another dog Kylie. In the penultimate stage of the Pirena, I was disqualified because my dog was tired and barked after a woman. Today it is a funny anecdote to tell, but at that moment I did not understand the disqualification. Duc is a hunting dog and he competes with other high-level dogs specialized in these races. Despite everything, Kylie allowed me to finish the Pirena! ”

Irina Rybalchenko

Read more: Opinion ...