Suzanne grew up in the Bavarian Alps, doing cross country skiing, as well as racing on snow with a sledge or on skis being pulled by dogs.
She moved to Ireland, and there wasn’t enough snow for sled dog sports. She bought a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and trained him to run in front of her mountain bike. This kept them fit and she enjoyed the sensation of rushing along woodland paths at speed.
Around ten years ago, when dog powered sports started in Ireland, Susanne was in the ideal situation to get involved. She already had a trained dog and experience of racing. There are different types of dog powered sports here. Canicross is the simplest, running behind a dog attached to a belt. Scooter-joring is the second type: the dog pulls you along on an adult-sized scooter. Susanne’s chosen sport is bikejoring, when the dog – or a team of dogs – run in front of the bike or “rig”, attached to a handlebar bracket.
Susanne excelled in bikejoring competitions. She began to compete internationally, representing Ireland in the world championships in Germany in 2011. Susanne finished half way up the field with her Rhodesian Ridgeback. She decided she needed a faster dog.
Soon after, she bought Neva from a Norwegian breeder. She’s a “performance breed” known as a Greysther, a cross between a German Short Haired Pointer and a Greyhound. She’s bred to be a fast, strong and intelligent dog, ideal for the sport.
Susanne started to compete with her in 2012, and in 2013, they travelled to Italy for the world championships, where they won first prize in the Ladies Veteran BikeJoring section. After a year off to have puppies in 2014, they travelled to Scotland with the Irish Canicross team in 2015 for the European championships. Again, Susanne and Neva won the top prize.
The dog powered sports competition season stretches from September till April. Susanne is currently training for this year’s European championships in November, as well as competing in many races across Ireland.
Susanne loves her sport, and she know Neva loves it too. She wishes more people would pay more attention to responsible dog ownership, giving their pets the work and exercise they need to be happier healthier dogs. There is nothing more rewarding than working with your dog in a natural environment.
It has the ultimate feel good factor and your dog is guaranteed to be your best ever personal trainer.
To learn more on dog powered sports, visit Canicross ireland or the Irish Federation of Sleddog Sports.