Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tools of the Trade-Sled Dog Harness
Jen from My Brown Newfies asked, "What type of harness do you use for sled pulling?" So I thought I'd share what I know and my experience with sledding/pulling equipment starting with the harness.
You can get away not having all the fancy dog sledding equipment, but one item I would definitely recommend is a pulling harness. A pulling harness is designed to work with a dog's body weight and strength for pulling. They are relatively inexpensive (approx. $20-$50). A good fit is most important and are usually sold based on your dog's weight and measurements. You can also find good used ones online or local sled clubs.
There is also a type called a Yukon Sledding Harness. It is the same basic design, but without the "X" crossing in the back.
Most sledding harnesses are made of 1" heavyweight nylon webbing and are padded through the neck, chest and under leg area to absorb shock and for comfort. Most sites that sell harnesses also have a choice of colors. You can also have them custom made for just the right fit.
There are also specific harnesses for carting, drafting and weight pulling that are designed just for these purposes.
A site I use and have been quite please with is Black Ice Sledding Equipment. They have a ton of dog sporting equipment, along with books and info catering to anyone interesting in dog sledding or other dog-related sports. (I am not endorsing or being compensated in any way for Black Ice, the site was recommended to me through a friend when I needed a new harness and a gangline and was very impressed with their quality of service)
Thank you Jen for your question. While I'm no expert in the field of dog sledding, I have come to know some of the basics, mainly through other dog sled racers, books and online. All I can share is my experience and probably quite a few "what not to do's." :)
Next week I'll talk about sleds and other pulling equipment.