Breeze Blog Almost all sports have their own special equipment. Racing sled dogs is no different. There is the sled of course, and then all of the accessories such as harnesses, collars, dog booties, rigging (lines), snow hooks and a sled bag too. Each piece has to withstand brutal environments, and hopefully be basic enough to be repaired quickly.
Let's start with a sled. Sleds come in all sizes and shapes. Size and cost vary depending on your expertise and dog team size.
Basic Sprint Sled
Higher End Sprint Sled
The musher stands on the sled runners (footboards) that are usually covered in a rubber tread. Between the runners is the metal brake and the drag brake. The metal brake is used to slow and stop the team. The rubber drag brake is used to slow a team without stopping and to assist in tracking the sled behind the wheel dogs. Watch this short clip of what it looks and feels like to ride a sled.
Now for the rigging, or lines.
My human is holding the gangline tight and checking for issues. The gangline is attached to the sled with a large locking caribiner
There are plenty of them, and they are essential to secure the dogs to the sled. Lines helps provide safety and comfort for the team.
2 dog gangline set up
A gangline (towline) connects the dogs to the front of the sled. It runs between paired dogs.
A snowhook is attached to a line off the sled. A snowhook is used to dig into the snow to secure the team temporarily on the trail. Snublines are used to secure the team for longer periods of time.
Along with the gangline, each dog is strapped into a harness. The harness fits across the dog's
shoulders, chest and back.
X back harnesses
A tugline runs from the back of each harness to the gangline. A neckline attaches each dog's collar to the gangline. It prevents the dogs from veering off left or right.
Now for foot protection. Feet are vital! A musher takes care each day to inspect feet and prevent paw injuries. That's where booties come in. Booties are used to protect the paws from cuts and abrasions. A dog with an injured paw will slow down the whole team.