Damjan Žepič

Hello Damjan,
Tell us a little about yourself …
I’m an ex pro triathlete, now masseur therapist, husband, father and active in association for hunting dogs in need.

What are your sporting achievements till to day?
More than 40 wins in triathlon thru all Europe, 11 World Championship triathlon long distance, 17 times National Triathlon Champion, 1 World Champion cannicross master, twice 2nd place European Championship canicross master and winner of Trophee des Montagnes 2016.

During a stage of the TdM 2016

Tell us a bit about your dogs …
My dogs are adoptet pointers and Euro Sled Dogs from special breeding. They are all working dogs and they want to run.

What is your favorite place to train?
The forest behind our house is the best place to train. Soft hilly terrain with plenty of shade in summer.

What’s your best memory of a race?
My best memory is for sure the victory on Trophee des Montagnes 2016. After nine days racing, it was emotions very powerful. Experience once in live 🙂.

… and what’s the worse?
If you think on mushing, for sure first stage on my first Trophee des Montagnes. I experienced mental collapse.

– Do you have any advice or other suggestions for people who want to get into this sport?
Do it if you like the action with your dog.

– What sports do you practice “outside” your discipline or that you practiced before?
I do not have much time to do more sports. Just run and train dogs on scooter.

– What was your debut in the race?
It was race in Slovenia with borrowed dog. She did not want to cooperate, so I have a nice experience for the future.

– Why did you choose this sport?
I lost the motivation to run alone. With a dog in front it is much easier. You just follow and enjoy the speed. The dog it is motivated for both.

– How do you feel when you’re “in-action” with your dogs?
With the dogs we are also mentally completely connected. We feel we see and we hear the same thing. This state you can reach with daily work, not only in training. The best feeling you can get.

With Coppi during a race in Italy followed by Mattia and Simba

– What do you think it is the greatest benefit of this sport?
When I am working with dogs, for a moment I escape the chaotic world of people. Dog and myself I give what we needs. Movement, freedom and belonging.

Happy people … smiling 😉

– Do you think your dogs like this sport?
Of course they like the sport. This shows every day. Every dog is a working animal. My dogs are runners, so they need to run. That is natural for them.

 

How important is the “harmony” between you and your dog?
The team without harmony it is no team. It is natural that all members of the team feel like one. This is the point.

– What is your state of mind before a race?
Before the match I am completely relaxed. I trust the dogs and know that everything will be ok.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I do not have any strengths, maybe natural talent and hundreds races behind me. Weaknesses… ha ha, my age.

– What has been your greatest joy and your worst disappointments?
Years ago my wife and I saved pointer with extremely low self confidence and frightened. After years of work, he became a happy dog that can go to any competition and is looking forward to life.
There is no disappointments in the dogs world. Only successes and the desire to go forward.

– How often do you train?
We train 3-5 times a week in harnesses, plus free running with me.

Trophee des Montagnes 2016 award ceremony

How did you come to this sport?
That was my desire from my young age. Because of my lifestyle I had no opportunity to have a dogs, until now.

What do you need to practice your sport? I mean equipment but also attitudes, abilities, skills 😉
For mushing you need enough time, sometimes good nerves and feeling for dogs.

– Is it possible to practice your discipline even with small dogs?
Our smallest sled dog has 6 kilos – piccolo levriero italiano. Smaller and lighter dogs I recommend to the children and the slower runners. To enjoy the run with powerful dog you have to be ready.

Relax & Love 😉

Your sport must be considered “individual” or “team” sport?
Mushing is a team sport. Each team member has their important role.

– How long have you been practicing this sport?
In mushing sport I am from 2011.

What sparked your initial interest?
When you work with the animals you are closer to the nature, you can understand and feel what the others can not. And bonus, you get a healthy life.

What breed are the dogs you run with?
My dogs are hunting dogs, pure pointers or mixed with alaskan and greyhound. Some less some more. Bara has 70% german pointer, Trine 70% alaskan.

What’s your ideal dog?
Ideal dog have to be very self confidence with high energy potential and desire to work hard with good genetics. That is ideal model of racing dog. But like I say, a challenge is to work with not ideal dog.

Damjan Žepič Facebook profile

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