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Guard HarnessEuropean Skijor Harness (Guard Harness)

Product Review by Ami Gjestson

I first became interested in this harness during the IFSS World Championships 2001 in Fairbanks, Alaska, when race vet Dr. Jerry Vanek asked me if I had seen the type of harness the Europeans were using and how he felt the design was better for a skijoring dog than an X-back harness.

This winter I have run a dog wearing a Guard Harness beside a dog with an X-back and I couldn't believe that I had never noticed the high angle of the tug line coming off of my belt. The X-back harness was being pulled up in back...could it be effecting how the dog runs or the transfer of power? I can't give a definite answer, but the new harness just makes sense. The following is an excerpt from the product description found on the Howling Dog Mushing Supplies web site.

The Guard Harness works better for skijoring than the standard sleddog harness. The line angle between the dog and skijorer (or biker, runner) is steeper than the line angle between a dog team and a sled. When a skijoring line is connected to a typical X-back harness, the steeper angle will cause a lifting force on the harness. The design of the Guard Harness creates a flatter line angle and the dog's pull force is more evenly distributed.

The only time I wouldn't recommend using a Guard Harness is when training a dog that doesn't keep a tight line. The tug line hooks in at the middle of the back and makes for easy tangles when hanging loose.

The Guard Harness can be purchased at Cold Spot Feeds at www.coldspotfeeds.com or Howling Dog Mushing Supplies at www.howlingdogalaska.com

Happy trails - Ami Gjestson & Gretchen the dog

gretchen.jpg (17093 bytes)


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