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rwelshm

Canada
56 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  4:54:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi There,

I lost my team for the first time this weekend. I wiped out was dragged 50 feet and away they went. My lead is usually pretty good and will stop the team when I use the "whoa" command but in this particular instance the team in front of us had two females in heat and my unfixed male went all together stupid and wouldn't listen. Even when the rest of the team wanted to stop he just wanted to go and of course the cascading effect the lead thought we were moving and away they went. I swear my arms are 3 inches longer today :)

My question is it worthwhile attaching yourself to the sled to prevent them for getting away totally? I was thinking using my old skijor belt with a quick release. I run with 5 siberians.

This is only my second year sledding and the first with 5 siberians last year I was running with 4, The 5th dog is a noticeable difference.

Cheers

Ray

RSmith

USA
3105 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  5:18:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit RSmith's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I always attach myself to sled. I have had two bad incidents and now am a firm believer in attaching musher to sled.
It started with only 6 dogs: Large, powerful and fast sprint dogs got away from me and ever since that time I attach myself since I would rather risk injury (possibly even serious injury) than to loose an Open Class dog team (currently).

I attach a 'gee line' to the caribeiner right in front where all my other things attach.

Only problem is of course hooking up; a team CAN get away then too. Been there done that too.

Where I train theres just so much other stuff that can happen when a loose dog team is running down the trail or tangled. Snowmobiles, house pets, people thinking there helping the dogs by trying to untangle and getting bit, dog fights (yes deaths sometimes too), etc, etc,
SO, personally I attach myself.

And one doesnt need a super fast/powerful,etc. dogteam for problems to arise.

Two cents worth.

Roy Smith
Adirondack Kennel
Skandinavian Hounds/Stagsters
http://www.adirondack-kennel.com

Edited by - RSmith on 12/18/2007 5:19:08 PM
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sallydawson

USA
831 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  9:18:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ray - it's called a suicide line! And yes, I use one - skijor belt on a long shock cord.

Sally J. Dawson and the Mushing'dales
N1BCF; "RED HAT" Musher
Live each day as if it is your last
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P, Ann Nelson

USA
438 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  10:22:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit P, Ann Nelson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have wanted to use a suicide line for a few years, but then hear horror stories and start thinking whether it is really a good idea. (for me, anyway)
I've seen some people use a monkey knot at the end of a 24" rope hanging from back stanchion of sled...but doubt that I would have the coordination to grab it if I fall!
It was a horrible feeling to see my team disappear in the distance...but somehow, I am glad that I wasn't attached to the sled when I fell and broke my leg last January. That would've been a "bumpy" ride!
Been working on "whoa" with the team, but when we are on snow, I think that my leader wouldn't stop unless everyone stopped. She is only 36 lbs, and the dogs behind her range from 50-60 lbs, and if they kept running, she would too. Also, as long as they don't feel any resistance, I doubt they'd all stop. My older leader will stop if I fall, and since I am a klutz, and do not have the balance I enjoyed in my youth, he's gotten a lot of practice! I can train alone with 8-10 dog teams with the Quad, but on a sled, I am in terror of losing my team again. Not in a race, but around here, where we do our training. If my team ever was hit by a car, or a dog got tangled and hurt...well, I guess everyone knows what CAN happen. So...do you really think it is wise to attach yourself to the sled, ( am I just being a big worry wuss? ) By the way, it wasn't fun having to sit out 90% of the race season! Thankful that my team didn't get injured, but it was a helpless feeling to lay there and watch them take off down the road, knowing that I couldn't do anything to help.

Ann Nelson
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northwapiti

Canada
455 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  10:40:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit northwapiti's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm not passing judgement on a suicide line one way or another - but anyone thinking of using one needs to be aware of the story of Peter Zimmerman
http://www.everythinghusky.com/features/more/peterzimm.html
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Rogue

USA
1158 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2007 :  10:52:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My husband uses a suicide line...but mainly it's the tie off rope that we attach to the handlebar. If a rough section is coming up, Manny will slip his hand through the loop and hold it. This way, if he dumps it, he can hang on...or, if it's too dangerous, he can let go. I also do this now as I've lost the team a few times over the years...though I don't put it on my wrist, I just hold the loop in my hand. I remember hearing about that happening to Peter, which has caused me not to tie myself. However, I know that sick feeling one gets in the stomach watching your team disappear without you. Luckily when I lost my team, we were able to get them within just a few yards or so...except one time, I had to walk quite a ways, but found them with the hook planted (a rollover hook), lined out, like they were waiting for me. Talk about a huge feeling of relief!

Happy Trails!
Tammi

"The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs."
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THZSteele

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2007 :  12:23:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit THZSteele's Homepage  Reply with Quote
wow...that story about Pete Zimmerman is an eye opener...I had not heard that one before...I've had a close call in which I got drug pretty good by lashing myself to the sled...I used to do it all the time and then only when I'd take the kids for a ride...I choose not to do this anymore as for me it's not worth the risks...when I got drug I very well could have dislocated my shoulder or worse...in Pete's case it sounds like he's lucky to be alive...
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crescentmoon

USA
321 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2007 :  03:27:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit crescentmoon's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow, really re-inforces my not liking the sound of being lashed to the sled. I think there was a thread on the subject of being attached to the sled last winter or the winter before.
We did used to get a real kick out of seeing THZ drug down the trail behind his sled screaming like a little girl.
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rwelshm

Canada
56 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2007 :  09:15:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's scary with Peter Zimmerman, my team is usually well behaved and my lead last year stopped the team when I fell off about 50 feet or so down the trail. This was only the second run of the year and I will wait and see how it works out. The one male was determined to catch the other team (with the two willing females). I took them for a short run after and everything was fine. I guess it was a sinking feeling watching them keep going after I yelled Whoa whereas they have always stopped this time they didn't. I did realize that I'm not strong enough to hold 5 siberians back when they want to go, all in all a very humbling experience. Time to start some intensive training again.

Cheers

Ray
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Doug R.

USA
230 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2007 :  10:39:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Suicide lines are a bad idea, for obvious reasons. Most races don't allow the mushers to attach themselves to their sled. I sometimes trail a long drag rope behind the sled with a few knots tied along its' length. It gets in the way sometimes, but it's better than the alternative.
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sallydawson

USA
831 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2007 :  10:52:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Factored into the decision should be 1. the size of your team; 2. the amount of verbal control you can have at any given time.

I have considered the hand-held line, but because my hands are critical to the work I do, I would rather risk injury to body rather than hand/wrist. But with "only" 3 dogs running at present, my body is a pretty good anchor.

Sally J. Dawson and the Mushing'dales
N1BCF; "RED HAT" Musher
Live each day as if it is your last
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tye

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2007 :  8:02:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I hadn't thought of losing my dogs before really. I know never say never.........I don't think I'd ever attatch myself to them though.
I've trained my leader with an "emergency" recall. It means HERE NOW!!! It works very well, I've called him away from fights and back from chasing deer with it. If he comes charging back to me, I'm assuming that the rest of them will follow.
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