Dog Mushing New Hampshire Mushers Association

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					        Dog Mushing                                                                          New Hampshire
                                               Come                                        Mushers Association
              The Dogs
    Everyone pictures the handsome
                                                See                                             reminds you to
Siberian Husky pulling a sled, and           Sled Dogs
many Siberians do just that. They are
often seen on the trail pulling sleds for        in
both racing and recreational mushers.
Traditional northern breeds such as
Malemutes and Samoyeds are also
common on the trail. But you may be           Sled Dog Race Schedules
surprised to learn that people “mush”           and Other Resources:
other breeds of dogs as well including
Setters, Dalmatians, Labrador Retriev-          New England Sled Dog Club:
ers, and even Border
Collies. Perhaps the                                Sled Dog Central:
most common dog                         
seen today at races
                                                    NH Bureau of Trails:
in New England is
the Alaskan Husky, a
mixed-breed dog                                 NH Snowmobile Association:
that is bred specifi-                      
cally for racing. The                            NH Mushers Association:
only absolute requirement for a sled   
dog is that it is athletic, in good physi-
cal condition and has a love of running.
                    If you attend a sled
                dog race or happen to        Snowmobile and ATV Riders:
                encounter a dogsled          • Share the trail – be aware that you
                team on the trail, the         may encounter dog sled teams.
                first thing you’ll notice
                                             • Use caution when approaching
                is that the dogs abso-
                lutely love what they
                                               curves or passing.                               Promoting Safe
                are doing. You can see       • Maintain a safe speed.                           and Enjoyable
                them at races leaping        • Remember safety on the trail is
                in the air and barking,
                                                                                              Experiences For All
                                               everyone’s responsibility.
                as they impatiently wait                                                     on Trails Throughout
                their turn. Or you may                Funding provided by:
                                                                                               New Hampshire
                see them on the trail,       New Hampshire Bureau of Trails
moving swiftly and silently through the        Recreational Trails Program
snow. Sled dogs love to run!
                                             the mushers responsibility to keep his
     What to Expect                          team safe on the right side of the trail.        What Mushers Do
    When You Meet a                              Most trails are used by snowmo-              to Promote Safety
                                             biles and ATVs as well as dog teams.
    Team on the Trail                        Sled dogs are accustomed to motorized         Safety Guidelines for Mushers
                                             vehicles — and dog teams follow the          Winter trails in New Hampshire are used by

Y  ou may encounter teams with any-
   where from one to twenty dogs on
the trail. Such teams may be pulling a
                                             same rules as snowmobiles. However,
                                             given the hilly and curvy nature of our
                                             trails in New England, riders of motor-
                                                                                          many and as such, all users have the right to
                                                                                          expect safe use of these trails. You should
                                                                                          expect to meet nearly anyone and anything
sled or skier through the snow — or a        ized vehicles may                            on the trails. Your presence on the trails
                                                                                          should not present a safety issue to anyone.
wheeled cart, car chassis, or ATV when       not see or hear an
                                                                                          These guidelines were adopted in a joint
there is no snow. Generally, dog teams       approaching team.                            effort of mushers and the State of New
are configured as a line of dogs in          Accidents can                                Hampshire.
                   pairs, with the driver    occur when snow-                             DOGS — Dogs should be up to date with their
                   (called the musher)       mobiles meet each                            immunizations. You are totally responsible
                   riding behind.            other, or dog                                for the conduct, safety and well being of your
                                             teams, unexpect-                             dogs.
                       Keep in mind that
                                             edly on the trail.                           EQUIPMENT — Make sure your equipment is in
                   a team of dogs may
                                             Riders and dog teams should be               sound working order and you are able to
                   be moving very fast                                                    stop and remain stopped on the trails.
                                             aware of each other on the trail and
                   and is incredibly
                                             use caution when approaching or              CONTROL — Never take more dogs than you
strong. Driving a dog team is like water                                                  can safely control! Trained dogs and proper
                                             passing. Maintaining a safe speed is
skiing — the length of the team may be                                                    equipment are the key to successful control.
                                             the key to everyone’s safety. Many
dozens of feet long, and control of the                                                   You are responsible for the behavior and
                                             snowmobilers enjoy stopping to admire        control of your dogs.
sled depends on maintaining tension in
                                             or photograph dog teams. Above all,
the line. As with water skiing, it takes                                                  VISIBILITY — Being seen gives others the
                                             please don’t hesitate to talk to the         opportunity to be alert to your presence on
quite a distance to turn or stop. How-
                                             musher when in doubt or just to be           the trails. It does not mean they have an
ever, sleds don’t have steering wheels.
                                             neighborly.                                  obligation to give any special right of way.
The driver controls the team through
                                                                                          They may as a courtesy, but are not required
voice commands alone.                            Many trails are also shared by           to do so. The responsibility for being under
                                             hunters, cross-country skiers, hikers,       control and in the right place on the trail still
    Of course, the dogs are the key to
                                             equestrians, and others. All trail users     falls on the musher.
this sport, and it’s useful to understand
                                             should be aware of snowmobiles and           REFLECTIVE MATERIAL AND LIGHTS— The brighter
their behavior. Experienced sled dogs
                                             each other as well as dog teams on the       the better. Reflective jackets (or vests) are
pretty much ignore all distractions and                                                   best. A headlamp and some sort of light on
                                             trail. And if you bring your own dog
keep on running. However, younger or                                                      your lead dogs should be considered the
                                                            along, please be particu-
inexperienced dogs may be frightened                                                      absolute minimum requirement for safe
                                                            larly cautious. All trail
by loud noises or distracted by                                                           operation during darkness.
                                                            users, including mushers,
passers-by. And while mushers train                                                       TRAIL USAGE — The safest possible way to run
                                                            are responsible for con-
their leaders to stay on the right side of                                                dogs on the trails is to have an “escort
                                                            trolling their own animals    vehicle” (snowmobile, ATV). Though not
the trail, most dogs have a natural
                                                            to avoid accidents. Safety    always possible, it is the safest. KEEP TO
tendency to “cut the corner” when
                                                            on the trails is everyone’s   THE RIGHT! Rules of the road indicate that
going around turns. None-the-less, it’s
                                                            job in New Hampshire.         users should keep to the right. You must
                                                                                          train your dogs to run on the right hand side

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