A SWINDON musher and her two Alaskan malamutes powered their way across Salisbury Plain in the annual Working Dog Trek covering 60 miles in just two days.

Suzy Fithern from Broad Hinton used four-paw drive provided by Bertie and Rosie who pulled a three-wheeled rig that replicates a sledge.

The 41-year-old’s journey was broken down into two 25 miles per day runs and also a 10-mile night run.

Suzy said: “It was a very tough experience due to the terrain, mud and rain – every mile was different to the last.

“The second day was especially difficult and it was hard work for the dogs. They dug deep and we got through it together.

“The trick was to keep Bertie and Rosie excited and interested, I did this by talking to them and making random sounds – there were smiles and wagging tails all round.”

The challenge provides owners the chance to run their dogs in harness over longer distances. Malamutes, which are similar to but larger than huskies, were originally bred for strength and endurance.

They were used by Inuits to pull supplies and transport people on sleds.

Organised by the Alaskan Malamute Working Association, the route takes teams across the military training area, which is normally home to tanks and four-wheel drive vehicles.

“Salisbury Plain is an ideal venue with its wide range of terrain and conditions,” said John Binding the event organiser.

“It is the perfect place to learn about the dogs’ abilities and to work together as a team. The weather once more was ideal for our canine competitors.

“The dogs do genuinely enjoy working in harness. They tend to get very excited and at times noisy and just want to go.

“It’s the stopping that can be fun. It is however, about knowing your dogs and their capabilities. You work as a team, competitor and dog alike.”

Last week’s event attracted more than 40 entries over the two days and up to 60 sled dogs took part. Some owners travelled from as far away as Lancashire and Essex to compete.

Competitors had a choice of three distances - eight, 13, or 25 miles and team sizes ranged from one to eight dogs. The only control over the canines was by voice commands.