Sledding or Sled Dog Racing: Educational Program for Beginners

Dogs have accompanied humans for centuries. They have become indispensable hunting and pasture assistants, excellent guards and companions. But we should not forget about such an area as sled racing. In this you will read about what is dog sledding, Is sled dog racing cruel? Do people still race sled dogs? Can sled dogs be run to death? Is dog sledding one word?

This spectacular and colorful competition has its origins in North America, where dog sledding was one of the affordable and practical means of transportation.

Now there are more than 5,000 professional athletes and a huge number of amateurs who prefer this sport. Let's talk about what a beginner needs to know and what to look for when studying this topic.

The history of the development of sledding sports

One of the first mentions of racing occurs in 1850. The place of the competition was the route between the cities of Winnipeg and Saint-Paul. And the next event, which left documentary evidence of its holding, was held in 1886 in the same American city of Saint-Paul.

History shows that the true development of this direction of sports fell on the period of the "Gold Rush". It was during this period that the prospectors actively conquered the vastness of the White Desert. The mines were located in remote parts of the country, so the use of dog sleds to move people and equipment became the most affordable and effective solution.

Within a short period of time, a special class of drivers, called mushers, is formed. Their main task was the delivery of miners and food to remote mines.

And already in 1907 in the city of Nome the first real competitions were held between the best mushers and their teams. One of the significant figures of the competition was its founder, Scotty Allen. But no less popular at that time was the silver medalist of the 1932 Winter Games Leonard Sepalla.

Experts say that one of the reasons for such a resounding popularity of this sport in the United States was the story of the dog Bolto. He was the leader of the team, which, under the leadership of the musher Gunnar Kaasen, accomplished a real feat.

Musher and his dogs were able to deliver diphtheria serum during the epidemic. The team managed to break through a cruel blizzard and its leader became a hero of the United States.

Sledding gradually migrated from North America to Norway, and then to other European countries. An expedition led by Rasmussen and Nansen played an important role in popularizing such races.

They used dogs to transport cargo and move people across the vastness of the North. Adherents of racing began to unite in special clubs only in the seventies of the twentieth century.

In the Soviet Union, competitions were held at the level of the northern regions and the media did little to consecrate this event. But already in 1990 a race called "Beringia" took place. Its length was 250 km. And just a year later, the dream of sports fans came true and an incredibly long race was held.

Its route passed between two settlements and ran from Nome and Anadyr. In 2014, the Russian Sledding Sports Federation was created, uniting scattered amateur clubs under its wing.

Dog racing - what is it?

The main task of the mushers is to compete for speed, agility and endurance. Sled dogs are used as draft. The musher, depending on the conditions of the competition and the weather, the presence of snow cover and other factors, can use any of the types of equipment permitted by the conditions of the race.

Permitted equipment includes:

  1. Scooters
  2. Sleigh
  3. Cards
  4. Skiing
  5. Bicycles, etc.

A huge selection of equipment and tracks makes this sport accessible to any person, regardless of their training. But the greatest recognition is enjoyed by participants in long distances, the length of which can be up to 2000 km. The number of dogs in the harness ranges from 16 to 20, and the duration of the competition is several days.

Sled sports and its varieties

In the process of development, sledding sport was divided into several directions. The modern classification combines them into two main groups:

  1. Snowless racing, which is collectively known as dryland . Their feature was the use of equipment designed to move around the area without snow;
  2. Winter sports designed for a specific snow depth and temperature conditions.

In turn, each of these areas developed in different vectors and led to the formation of disciplines with unique equipment and rules.

Dryland includes:

  1. Canicross: Musher runs after his pet. The dog and the person are connected by a leash going from the collar to the wearer's belt attachment;
  2. Dog tracking: A feature of this direction was the ability to move at any speed convenient for the musher and the dog. Ie running, walking, etc .;
  3. Bikejoring: The team consists of 1-2 dogs. The musher moves on a bicycle, and the harness is attached to the handlebars or a bracket specially attached to the bicycle;
  4. Scooter: 1-2 dogs that are part of the team with the help of ammunition must be fastened to the scooter on which the musher is located;
  5. Karting: A team of 4-10 dogs participates in the competition. They must be connected using ammunition with a special device. Depending on the modification, it has 3-4 wheels.

The disciplines traditionally conducted in the snowy northern regions deserve special attention. They are divided into:

  • Skijoring: A skier and 1-2 dogs take part in it;
  • Pooling: Participants are 1-4 dogs and a light sled. The harness is attached to the sled with a cable;
  • Sled race: The classic version, in which the number of mounts is from 2 to 16.

Depending on the length of the track, the competitions are also divided into several types:

  • Sprint: Its length is no more than 40 km ;
  • Average distance: Its length ranges from 40 km and can reach a length of 500 km ;
  • Long distances are over 500 km .


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