– I will be like the goalkeeper and soccer captain in the back.
That’s what Kristoffer Halvorsen, soccer coach and dog rider from Torpa says. He competed in the 1200 kilometer class at Finnmarksløpet 2022.
Halvorsen is on the back of a sled with 14 dogs in a team, and here he is:
– Here I stand and see that everyone is fine. My job is to direct and make sure everyone is comfortable.
And formed a team of dogs which he compared to taking out a football team.
– We depend on different qualities. All dogs can lead, but not everyone is good at it, he says and emphasizes more:
– All soccer players can play both defender and striker, but not everyone is equally good everywhere.
– Without a leader, it stops
There are 14 dogs that make up the team on the FL1200. The dogs are carefully selected based on their quality to get the best composition.
First and foremost you have a guide dog. Halvorsen called them the strikers in the team.
– The most important thing for a guide dog is to have the drive and desire to work. They have to set the pace. The striker applies the pressure first, then the rest of the team must follow. Without a leader, it stops, Halvorsen said.
Kræsj is one of the four guide dogs, and Halvorsen compares him to one of the world’s best football players:
– I might be able to be a handsome apple to say Ronaldo. Accidents are extreme in everything he does, and so is Ronaldo. That is a very good description. He is very extreme and serious.
Defense and midfield
Bolt is one of the dogs running behind the team. Halvorsen looked to him, and the other dogs in the back row, as defenders.
– Four rear dogs I want to be big, strong and strong, but they need to be able to handle speed and withstand a lot of things. They have the heaviest physical tension.
The dogs in the middle of the team have different roles.
– This is Jeppe. This will be Luka Modrić for me, simple and easy.
Halvorsen refers to Jeppe and the other team dogs as midfielders. They have to be able to complement each other both up and down, as players do on a soccer field.
– A good midfielder is someone who makes a positive contribution to the dog team, but also goes forward and does a good job as a striker – or can play at the back and do a good job at the back.
Have to adapt along the way
Even though Halvorsen had decided on the line-up of the team within the team, he was clear that the dogs would roll on the field. They have to adapt along the way in terms of quality, weather and dog behavior.
This also applies to guide dogs:
– There are some who are good at speed, good at finding tracks and good in bad weather, said Halvorsen.
And some dogs in the back may end up with the last paw in front:
– Suddenly someone took on a responsibility that he had never had before. It could be like that in extra in the Champions League final too. Suddenly it was the midfielder who stepped up, scored and took charge in the end.
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