The third consecutive Winter Dog Fest-2019 took place in Kharkiv, in Lisopark area (Ukrainian: “Wooden park”) on February 2.
This year, the participants weren’t only from Kharkiv but from other Ukrainian regions: Kyiv, Dnipro, Poltava, Kryvyi Rih and Sumy. About 35 sportsmen and 60 dogs, including huskies, bjelkiers, Yakutian Laikas, Staffords, flat-coated retrievers and dogs of other breeds took part in the event.
Athletes on skis and sleds competed on the 4.5-kilometer long track. There were two, four and even six dogs in each sled team. Dogsled’s speed is extremely fast so the participants had to show skillful agility to hang onto sleds or skis.
Natalia Sinopalnikova, a contestant from Kharkiv, took part in the competition for the third time with her dog Khantey. She found the track interesting and exciting. Natalia even expected it would be more complicated but there were enough descents and ascents, precipices and gullies and lots of trees all around.
Denis Sakun came from Kyiv. “In addition to choosing dogs for the contest, it’s very important to find a good dogsled. Every sled is unique and meets the relevant requirements of its musher,” he notes. It’s crucial to take care not only about a dog-driver but the welfare of the dogs. “Among other things, the sleds are equipped with a canopy. It is designed for carrying a dog if it injures a paw and cannot finish the race. The musher puts it inside the canopy. The dog is clipped on the collar, fastened and finishes along with the whole team.”
The results were monitored by time-keeping judges, recording the start and finish time. These results were noted in the tournament report. The winners were selected in different nominations: women, men, veterans, young men, riding and nonriding dogs. All these categories were divided into skis and sleds, and according to the number of dogs in a sled. The participant from Kyiv on a 6-dog-sled achieved the best result, covering 4.5 kilometers in 13 minutes and 9 seconds.
All sorts of activities were organized for the spectators: people could take photos with dogs, take part in the contests and master-classes or ride sleds.
According to event organizers, the festival aims to popularize sleddogs sports and animal welfare.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: izvestia.kharkov.ua, dozor.kharkov.ua, vecherniy.kharkov.ua