Skijoring: Not Just a Sport for the Dogs, but Horses Too!
If you happened to have stumbled across the latest issue of the Lebanon Times, you might have seen my "Animals Rule" article and interview with Fran Plaisted about skijoring with dogs.
If not, I'll give you a quick bit of background. According to the AKC, skijoring itself requires little equipment, a dog who weighs enough, a pair of skis, and a harness attaching you to your dog. To race, you need to have a dog who obeys their training and is polite and respectful to other dogs.
Skijoring - photo credit ruffwear.com
Fran pointed out that the most important thing is excellent cross-country ski skills; otherwise, you or your dog are likely to get hurt. She, like many resources on the internet, also noted the importance of being able to snowplow and practicing falling.
However, working with dogs is just one way to enjoy the sport. Skijoring with horses is another that is, well, a whole other ballgame.
According to horsechannel.com, in equestrian skijoring, the human wears skis and holds tug lines attached to the horse's harness. The skijorer then holds long reins for steering.
A popular variation is to have a rider on the horse while the skijorer holds a line attached to the saddle horn. Skijorers compete behind galloping horses, steering themselves over sizable jumps while keeping hold of the line on the horse.
Check out some crazy skijoring:
And here's an example of skijoring without the jumps.
So perhaps this year we will see more of you out there with your dogs or your horses, trying out the sport of skijoring!
Featured image photo credit Getty Images