Page 12 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
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  During October 2018, 1st Military Working Dog Regiment (RAVC) had the privilege to host the first UK International Military Canine Biathlon.
This was held within St. George’s Barracks and hosted a wide field of competitors from Latvia, Belgium, the United States Air Force, Military Provost Guard Service, Ministry of Defence Police, RAF Police and Defence Animal Training Regiment. Several local and military VIPs attended including the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland, the High Sheriff of Rutland and the Infantry Sergeant Major who all watched the day of competition. Canine Biathlons are very much military activity and serve several purposes. Firstly, fitness; it is important that our soldiers and animals are fit for their operational role. Secondly, challenge; despite taking place on a relatively flat airfield, the addition of challenging, energy sapping obstacles ensured that this course was not easy – grit, mental strength and resilience were all thoroughly tested. Thirdly, skills; many obstacles were designed to test some of the core skills of a Military Working Dog Handler such as shooting ability, obedience, team bond and handler intelligence. Finally, opportunity; the event served to foster professional and personal relationships both internally between teams, between Squadrons, between Regulars and Army Reserves and with our international partners – a hand rail for interoperability.
The aim of the first day was to settle competitors in, whilst orientating them on the route, obstacles and Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT) Range. The second day was for the competition, with a 10 km course running through the camp and the attached airfield and woodland. The route contained more
than twenty-five obstacles, including two water obstacles and a shoot on the DCCT. The mystery obstacle easily went down as the favourite, a crawl through a dark padded tunnel and foam on several levels. However, there were several other charismatic and creative obstacles created by 1 MWD Regt. One water obstacle involved two large skips filled with freezing water and decorated with hessian, ground sheets and cam-netting, another novel addition to a biathlon was the brick carry. Competitors picked up a large brick with their number on it at the 9 km point and had to ensure it crossed the finish line with them; no other rules applied to the brick. This sparked some fantastic ingenuity with people strapping bricks onto their backs using an extra dog lead, others were carrying bits of rope which they used to make a handle and some wore day-sacks to carry the brick. However, my personal favourite was the use of a bag for life that had been stored within Pte Mo Morris’s pocket for the first 9km, earning him the biathlon brick award.
The day of competition went extremely well with the Belgian Team being overall winners for the Team Event, taking home the silver cup. Sgt Ivars Veisis from
Pte Daniel Stopher and MWD Pearl
the Latvian team took first place in the individual male category with an incredible overall time of 50 mins 47.6 secs. The Regiment didn’t miss out, with Pte Chole Jones from 105 MWD Sqn gaining first place in the individual female category with an outstanding shoot allowing her to pip Capt Gunda Sabanova from the Latvian team who took second place.
The event finished off with a BBQ and social event at the Dagon’s’ Den Bar on St George’s Barracks for the prize giving ceremony, which proved to be a most enjoyable evening and well deserved by everyone who took part. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved, as many in the Regiment had put in a huge amount of effort to make the event the success it undoubtedly was. Friendships were made, lots of photos taken and contact details exchanged. Hopefully those friendships will be renewed this year as another International Military Canine Biathlon is to be held at St. George’s Barracks in July 2019.
If anyone is interested in becoming involved in the next Canine Biathlon, then please contact the Regiment for further details.
1st Military Dog Regiment (RAVC) International Military Canine Biathlon 2018
By Captain William Blackley, 102 Military Working Dog Squadron
Private Chloe Jones and MWD Sky
  Sgt Ivars Veisis, Latvian Military Police

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