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 sledding and have been specially designed for the sport of sledding. 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” can cause injury to your dog.
The traditional type of sledding harness is the X-back, but in more recent times more designed have been made available for the different body stuctures of many breeds.
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/bungee part of the cord is used to reduce the strain and shock 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.
Helmet and Eye Glasses
All mushers must wear a helmet regardless of their level of experience. For the safety of all mushers wearing a helmet is a need to be able to run, some dogs can gain quite a lot of speed, in case of an accident of the musher falling off their rig/scooter/bike the helmet can protect them from serious head injury.
It is highly recommended that mushers wear safety glasses. The faster your dogs run, the more sand gets flicked to your face.
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.