Ready to run

Photos by Joe Kline • The Bulletin
Published Nov 30, 2013 at 12:01AM / Updated Nov 30, 2013 at 08:07AM
Joe Kline / The Bulletin And theyíre off! The 12-dog team pulls a four-wheeled cart with mushers Karen Yeargain and Spencer Egbert on a dirt road through La Pine State Park. Yeargain usually starts training for the racing season in mid-October, or when the weather is consistently cold. Running on dirt trails helps the dogs get conditioned for the snow, as well as letting them work on passing, train as lead dogs and learn other behaviors that turn these dogs into competitive racers.
Joe Kline / The Bulletin Karen Yeargainís harnessed sled dogs are eager to get started running through dirt roads and trails at La Pine State Park earlier this month. Yeargain ran 12-dog teams harnessed to carts and ATVs, which sheís been doing for years as part of La Pine Mushing Weekend, in part to prepare for Januaryís sled dog races in Chemult.
Joe Kline / The Bulletin Karen Yeargain gives one of her dogs a treat while preparing a flavored water drink at a campground in La Pine State Park. This drink ó ìGatorade for dogs,î Yeargain says ó provides calories prior to a run.
Joe Kline / The Bulletin Karen Yeargainís dogs are ready to get started during La Pine Mushing Weekendís last day, Nov. 11. Yeargainís main line of sled dogs is a combination of dogs sheís bred or bought from other racing kennels. She also fosters dogs from local shelters, training them to run while she looks for the right home. ìA dog who has a job is often very content and less likely to be a problem for the owners,î Yeargain said.
Joe Kline / The Bulletin Karen Yeargain and Spencer Egbert chat as Egbert controls the 12-dog team from the back of the cart. Egbert, of Bend, started as a student of Yeargainís, doing chores around the kennel and learning how to mush.
Joe Kline / The Bulletin The sled dogs relax after finishing a 6.5-mile loop through the trails. Yeargain recommends anyone interested in sled dog running, or skijoring, come out to watch the races or sign up for classes, which she offers in the spring. For more information, visit Yeargainís website,