Descriptive Essay: Dog Sled Racing

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Dog Sled Racing; The timed competition of teams of sled dogs that pull a sled with the dog driver or musher standing on the runners. I have been participating in dog sled races since the age of four. Over the years it has become a family tradition to spend every winter packed in the truck for hours on end to compete in these races. I could have a great dog race, or a horrible one, but it all starts with organizing my sled and dogs. Repeating the process of preparing my team has become a set routine. Although there are not many steps to complete the preparation they must be fulfilled.
At least thirty minutes prior to the start of the race, the dogs must be let out of their boxes to make certain that the dogs have plenty of time to use the bathroom.
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It is traditionally made of wood and the base is two wooden boards about 3” by 2” thick, with plastic grips, called the runners, to prevent boots from slipping off. The front of the sled comes to a semi-circle, called the brush brow, where the runners bend upward. Coming up from the back of the runners, is a handle bar wrapped with black friction tape along the curved top. Holding the two runners together is a basket lined with wooden boards across the bottom. Between the runners, on the outside of the basket is a metal brake shaped as half a square with rounded edges; its purpose is to stop or slow down the dogs. To prepare the sled, I place a waterproof, ventilated dog bag in the basket. The bag is designed to dry snow off of itself quickly and so it does not become wet inside. The only time this would be used is if a dog became injured or slowed down the team during a race. But, in all of my racing career I have been fortunate enough to avoid having to do this. The bag clips around the edge of the basket where it meets with the sides of the sled. Beneath the sled there is polypropylene rope, running from the brake to the brush brow. At the end of the rope, hanging under the brush brow, is a carabiner, where the line and tug rope hook up to the sled. The line is used to hook all of the dogs to the sled. The dogs are connected by the hoop on their collar and to the back of their…show more content…
Depending on the size of the team, the number of helpers may be as little as one to as many as fifteen, but I only need my family of five to assist my four dog team to the starting line. But, when there is a large team, volunteers become essential for holding onto the harnesses of the dog and making sure they do not chew on the line or jump onto their running partner next to them. I have someone stand at the front of the line, pulling the line with all of their weight in order to keep tension on the rope. I have another person stand on the sled, holding the brake down for the reason that when all of the dogs are hooked up, the sled will bounce around and this could cause damage to it. When hooking the dogs up, it is easiest to begin with the most calm dogs first, the ones who stand there and do not jump these dogs typically do not need volunteers to hold them because of their usually skittish personalities. Once all of the calm dogs are placed on the line, the wheel dogs are next, and I work my way up to the lead dogs from there. The wheel dog’s position is furthest to the back, usually the strongest and the hardest working, where the lead dog’s spot is nearest to the front their job is to lead the team by the trail. Some dogs must be either hooked up before or after other dogs based on their personalities and how they interact with each other. For instance, my dog Cheeka can not be

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