If you have a dog or two who love harness dog sports and are looking for a way to effectively spend their energy throughout winter, kicksledding is a great activity to enjoy.
The principle of kicksledding is identical to dog sledding , but with a smaller team of dogs. Because of its weight and its design, the kicksled is ideal for 1 to 2 dogs. For teams of 3 to 4 dogs, it is preferable to choose our SIGMA dog sled which offers more control thanks to its weight, design and drag mat option.
As the number of dogs is limited at the front of the kicksled, it is preferable to practice this activity on well-groomed trails in order to offer the best possible sliding experience and thus allow your dogs to pull more easily and for a longer time. Depending on your 4-legged athletes' level of training and riding conditions, it may be a good idea to help them by keeping one foot on one skate and using the other to propel the kicksled forward on climbs or when conditions are more difficult.
If you want to start kicksledding but don't know what equipment is needed, here is the list of essentials to have :
- Kicksled : it must be light, equipped with a brake and offer a minimum of flexibility to facilitate handling. Our OMEGA kicksled fully meets these criteria in addition to being foldable (without having to remove hardware or use tools) to facilitate its transport in any vehicle. Entirely made of aluminum, it offers a perfect balance between lightness, sturdiness and durability. Its flexibility provides excellent control and stability in turns. A unique piece entirely made in Canada !
- Bungee : the pulling dynamics while kicksedding is very different from other harness dog sports such as canicross or bikejoring. Most of the time, you will be standing on the kicksled and let your dog(s) pull. The load pulled by the dog(s) is therefore much more static than in canicross where the runner is dynamic and propels himself forward while running. These elements mean that a regular bungee line cannot be used on a kicksled. The bungee line must have a very low elasticity so as not to cause a loss of energy by constantly stretching when the dog(s) pull. It must still absorb impacts to protect the dog. It is exactly with this in mind that our bungee for dog sled has been developed. It stretches and absorbs impacts when braking suddenly or when the sled is stopped by the snow hook but will not stretch constantly with each stride of the dogs. In spite of its name, our dog sled bungee is perfectly adapted for kicksledding;
- Tugline(s) : it is the line which, on one end, will be attached to your dog's harness with a brass snap and, on the other end, will be linked to the bungee by a simple loop. If you are harnessing two dogs, you will need a second tugline. They will split in a “Y” shape at the end of the bungee and allow your two dogs to run next to each other. In this case, the use of a neckline may be relevant to connect their collars and prevent them from separating too much from each other (because two dogs who decide to go around a tree, each on their side, does not always give good results);
- Dog pulling harness : when kicksledding, the attachment point of the pulling system is much lower than the dog's back, which causes the pulling force to apply pressure directly on the dog's hips. Therefore, it is essential to have a harness that is suitable for pulling and offers good back support (strap that forms an “X”) in order to distribute this pressure and free the hips. Kicksledding is a fairly intense dog harness sport, so good padding is essential to provide maximum comfort for your dog - our dog pulling harness uses dense closed-cell foam padding that offers waterproofness and very low abrasion compared to many harnesses available on the market;