Download this introductory guide to the sport of dog sledding!
Topics covered include:
- Equipment needed
- Calendar of events
- History of sled dog racing
- Mushing commands
- Getting started in mushing
- FAQ about sled dogs
- All about harnesses and towlines
- Mushing with pride: feeding, watering, housing
- Bloat - the mother of all emergencies
- Mushing equipment suppliers
About the Intro to Sledding Day
The occasion is a social event and competitors participate for the enjoyment, not usually to win. The grounds are open all day but visitors can aim to gather after 1pm. Come and meet our Committee and member mushers who would be happy to talk to you and answer your questions, and help you get kitted up for a run.
Heats begin when the temperature drops around 4-5pm, and beginner heats are always held while there is still plenty of daylight. The mushing tracks are marked out on the trails that run throughout the plantation pines, and the compacted dirt is a surface for the dogs to run on. The beginner course is several kilometres long and takes 10 or 15 minutes to complete. Mushers and dogs can go at their own pace and marshalls are posted at each turn to help guide which way to go. A pee-wee class is often also run for younger mushers who need to be accompanied by an adult.
You don't need a husky to be able to participate (but it helps) and dozens of new mushers turn up each year with dogs of all breeds, for some fun running in harness. Please make sure your dog is fit, healthy and able to participate though, else the day won't be any fun for you or them.
And for those who prefer not to run, the event makes a great spectator sport, particularly if you stay for the night-time races that follow and watch the 4 and 6 dog teams come home.
You don't need experience or equipment in order to participate, just yourself, your dog and a sense of adventure. All mushers must wear a helmet as a safety requirement though, so please bring a cycling helmet with you.
The usual mushing kit consists of:
• A scooter for 1 and 2 dog classes
• A harness for your dog
• A tug line to connect the harness to the scooter
All this equipment is available for you to borrow on the day and a variety of sizes are on hand to ensure a proper fit. Our sledding committee will show you how to fit and use all gear properly before you head out.
So bring your friends and your camera, and enjoy a day of mushing fun!