Riitta’s first research project after university studies (animal breeding, genetics and nu…
- 22 April 1969
Riitta’s first research project after university studies (animal breeding, genetics and nutrition) was to develop dry foods for sport and sled dogs. Research animals, that they used in the project, were sled dogs owned by Juhani Heikkinen. He was the first Finnish World Championship medallist in sled dog sports and he became her mentor. Riitta’s sport background was in athletics, skiing and karate. So, everyone can guess what will happen, if you give racing sled dogs to an athlete.
“I was hooked for the sport that had everything I loved: animals, sport and nature. Research projects started to prolong over the winter and racing season. Finally, Jussi did not get his dogs back until summer”.
When she began to race with sled dogs, she was quite soon asked to join the board of Finnish sled dog sport federation. Riitta had the privilege to be the president of Finnish sled dog sport federation for eight years (03-12).
Sisters Sohjo, Särmä and SumuEuropean sled dog24 July 2013
The S-sisters belong to the first litter of Alaskanhusky Raitanen (Chris/A.Laitinen and Rusty/E.Ellis). She was Riitta’s main leader, when she got the first WC medal in 2011. The father of the S-litter was GSP Akiina's Simeon (K.Hytönen). Raitanen was challenging to get pregnant and S-litter was inseminated in the very last minute. In addition to that, Sumu almost died in birth, but Riitta was able to revive it.
“These sisters were my leaders in WC 2015 at the age of 2 years and they have been leaders in many races after that. My old leader injured just before the WC 2015 and I had to put these rookies in lead. They made a stunning performance in that race. Sohjo and Särmä are qualified as breeding females in my kennel”.
- European Championships 2016, gold medal in Sp6 (Savalen, Norway)
- World Championships 2015, silver medal in Sp6 (Todtmoos, Germany)
- World Championships 2011, broze medal in Sp6 (Hamar, Norway)
- Scandinavian Open Championships, gold medal (2015, Kiruna, Sweden)
- Finnish Championships: 7 gold, 6 silver, 10 broze
- World Championships 2019, 6th in Sp6 (Bessans, Alps in France)
- European Championships 2018, 5th in Sp6 (Millegrobbe, Alps in Italy)