The equipment used for this sport is a little out of the ordinary. The main items required are as follows:
- Scooter, Rig or Bike
This is the most important part of your equipment. These are specially designed for dog sports and can be made to order for each individual dog, therefore the better the fit. Having a correctly fitting and designed harness is more comfortable and safer for your dog while running.
You cannot just use any harness, you must get one that is designed for this sport, using walking harnesses or “No Pull Harnesses” will cause injury to your dog.
The traditional type of sledding harness is the X-back, but there are a lot of other options out there, the best option is to come to beginners days/ camp and try as many options prior to purchase.
This is a slightly elasticated cord that runs between the front of the scooter/rig/bike and connects to the rear of the dogs harness. The elastic or bungee part of the cord is used to reduce the strain on the dogs back as it takes off or pulls hard. The number of dogs you run will depend on what gangline configuration you use.
A small cord/rope that connects adjacent running dogs’ collars to help them from drifting apart while running. These cords are made to come apart to prevent injury in the event that the dogs go either side of a tree/obstacle. This doesn’t help the poor musher but the dogs will be fine.
The scooter is the most common wheeled device used by dryland sledding mushers. It generally has mountain bike wheels, a bike front and a footplate for the musher to stand on. The scooter is used for teams of 1 or 2 dogs. Any team bigger than this will require the musher to incur the cost of purchasing a rig. Rigs are a 3 or 4-wheeled version of the scooter and provide better stability when running 3 or more dogs. The more dogs you have the faster you generally go and the rig provides better handling for this.
The club rules state that all mushers must wear a helmet regardless of their level of experience. Our insurance only covers us when people are competing or training with a correctly fitted helmet.
As per recent ASSA rule updates in 2017, all helmets must meet Australian Safety Standards. This is assessed by having the Safety ticks on a sticker inside the helmet.
Cutters are an essential item for racing and training. These can be utilised should your dog’s ever get tangled and the lines or collars need to be cut for the safety of the dog.
In 2017, ASSA introduced a new rule that all cutters carried by mushers must not have an open blade meaning no knives or the like. A popular option is seat belt cutters available at most hardware stores.