Rhik Samadder tries … mushing: ‘I’ve never known animal joy like it!’

What a ride! The huskies and I were travelling as one – who knew such magical transport existed? More than anything I’ve tried, this experience has stayed with me

I have a dream: that dream is to ride a dog like a horse. That isn’t possible. But I’ve heard the next best thing is possible, which is why I’m freezing in a field in Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire may not be Lapland but it’s where you can try mushing, organised by Arctic Quest. Single-handedly charioteering a sled powered by huskies? Sounds like a Christmas miracle to me. I gape in awe, as countless lupine beasts emerge from a trailer, yelping with excitement. It’s a few weeks before Omicron gathers strength, and I’m here for one last shot at feeling free.

Vickie Pullin – a superb candidate for nominative determinism – set up Arctic Quest, and is a former world champion dog-sledder in four divisions, an achievement never equalled. (You have to be driven to get into husky sledding, ironically.) She has 36 dogs in total, all smaller than I imagined, total cuties with names like Azera, Frappe, Mocha and Cino. It would sound like a sitcom premise, were it not for Pullin’s no-nonsense demeanour. “The blue-eyed, fluffy husky thing? Hollywood PR,” she snorts.

Continue reading…