For many of us, we are content to spend a snowy winter day sipping hot chocolate in the comfort of a warm fire. Dori Hollingsworthhas a different perspective. Dori is a World Champion in the rugged sport of sled dog racing. She and her dogs brave Alaska’s frigid temperatures, steep mountain inclines, and blinding snow for miles at a time. Together, they have thrived in this punishing environment.
Dori’s team has set track records and claimed multiple championships, including the 2001 IFSS World Championship. Dori has continued to set important benchmarks for competitors. An important edge for Dori is her training program, which includes NATRAflex’s SUPERflex Pet Formula velvet antler supplements.
Dori and her husband, Daryl, live in Seward, Alaska. They have two daughters. The idea of sled dog racing grew from a simple concept. “I asked Daryl to make a sled for the girls,” reflected Dori. “The idea was that the family pet, a Golden Retreiver, would pull the girls around. One thing led to another. Pretty soon we had 25 dogs in the yard and were heavy into racing.”
Dori competes in several race classes, including 6-dog, 8-dog, and the open class. The open class allows a racer flexibility, and the ability to stock the team with any number of dogs. Dori typically uses 12-14 dogs in open class races. The 6-dog races are usually 6-8 miles in distance. Most Championship races are more than one day. For example, the 2001 IIFSS World Championships went three days of 8 mile legs each day.
THE EFFECTS OF VELVET ANTLER Dori first learned about velvet antler by accident. She found it while looking for something to extend the racing life span of her older dogs. The sport can be especially hard on larger male dogs. They tend to suffer from joint deterioration sooner than normal, which can contribute to injury, slower speed, and lower endurance.
“The real clincher was with a big male named Ruffian,” explained Dori. “He was suffering from a wrist injury. I started him on NATRAflex’s SUPERflex Pet Formula, which really helped his recovery. Then, we ran out just before traveling to one of our big races. But, since he was doing fine, I didn’t bother to get any more. Right after the first race he came in with a swollen wrist. I figured he was out for the rest of the season, until I remembered the velvet antler connection. I called NATRAflex, and got some more. After a week, the swelling had gone down, and Ruffian was back to running with the race team. He finished out the season without another problem.”
The dogs get one SUPERflex Pet Formula tablet in the morning and one at night. “If one of the dogs need it, we will increase the dosage during the racing season,” explained Dori. The dogs are on a high quality dry food in the summer. Dori adds meat to the food during Fall training. By the time the main racing season starts in February and March, the dogs are getting two-thirds meat and only one-third dry food.
THE FAMILY HOBBY Sled dog racing is a hobby for Dori and Daryl. Both have full-time jobs. However, they take racing very seriously. ?We are not doing this for the money,” joked Dori. “Our goal each year is to win enough races that we can at least pay the dog food bill. Sometimes we actually do. We do this because we love spending time outdoors with the dogs. It’s also a great sport that our whole family can participate in, especially training and taking care of the dogs.”
Training is year-round in sled dog racing. In the summer, Dori and family takes the dogs out four at a time, and lets them run free about once a week. Starting in September, the dogs begin a conditioning program. “We will hook them up in front of the ATV & keep the speed slower than they would normally run,” explained Dori. “We seldom run faster than 15-17 mph on the ATV, but we race at 20+ mph. Fall training is much like weight lifting. We start out a couple of times a week at 3 miles, then increase to four times a week at 6 miles. When the snow starts falling, we switch to the sled. We increase the mileage to whatever race we are working towards. We seldom run more than 16 miles. We are very consistent with our training schedule.”
VELVET ANTLER NOT JUST FOR THE DOGS The most noticeable impact of the velvet antler on the dog team was the lack of injuries. Dori also noticed that their joints responded much better to wear and tear of the racing season. “We were so impressed with the results of SUPERflex Pet Formula on the dogs, we decided try NATRAflex’s product for men and women, Premium Velvet Antler, for ourselves,” expressed Dori. “I first got it for my husband, Daryl. He is a professional jazz musician, and plays the string bass. So, it’s important for his hands and joints stay in good shape. I started taking it myself shortly after Daryl.”
Dori and Daryl were both impressed with NATRAflex’s Premium Velvet Antler. “I had an energized, overall good feeling,” commented Dori. “An unexpected thing happened too. About a week after I started taking the velvet antler, I noticed that a rash that I developed prior suddenly disappeared. I have found it to be much better than regular glucosamine, so I would highly recommend it to anyone that is using that. Seriously, I think you could probably reduce the vitamin pile with this one product!” Dori and Daryl continue to take three capsules daily.
MORE TESTIMONIALS FROM THE NEIGHBORS Following her own positive experiences, Dori convinced an elderly friend to try NATRAflex?s Premium Velvet Antler. “Now he is raving about how his arthritis is not bothering him any more,” responded Dori.
Stay updated on Dori’s race progress at www.SledDogCentral.com.