The shock absorber in the harness...
A small post about such an element of sled equipment as a shock absorber...
This adapt was invented in order to protect the dog’s backs from sudden jerking loads (for example, if an inexperienced tree inside the turn hit a sledge on the face, this is probably the most common situation). Imagine - joyful dogs are selflessly running forward, and suddenly the main tow line pulls them back sharply. If this jerk for the tow line does not soften, then the inertia of the running dogs will give them a lot of unpleasant feelings. It's like running into an obstacle with your chest in full swing. To reduce this overload, mitigate this jerk, we put a shock absorber. Thanks to its stretching during overloads, it dampens that instant jerk that dogs experience when they stop too abruptly. In addition, the presence of a shock
absorber that is correct in terms of stiffness reduces the likelihood of breakage of the sledge in such situations.
Very often I see in the photo and video that the shock absorber is stretched when the harness moves, so it no longer realizes its functionality when catching obstacles. That is, when the sledge collides with the tree, the dogs will stretch the rubber to the end almost without loss of speed and stumble on a hard cable is a
limiter, getting hit in their chest. It should not be so if we care about their health, and not just the formal presence of a shock absorber in the harness. And another negative point of a too soft shock absorber. Try to pull the sledge with weight firstly by the rope, and then for an elastic band that stretches even when you pull off your sledge, but does not stretch to the end. Compare the feelings. Will you be comfortable working with the elastic? You will not be able to put your full strength on the strap if it does not support you. Constantly looking for a balance point, constantly encountering the inability to "feel" the movement of the load through lines - this problem exhausts you faster than even increasing of this load, but on hard line. Dogs, like people, should "feel" the load, then it is more comfortable for them to realize their efforts.
Please, do not consider the rubber burner, which is built into the cable and simply picks up the slack from the sagging pull, to be a shock absorber while choosing equipment. This rubber burner only reduces the likelihood of a sledge running over the tow line. With extreme jerk loads, it will be of no use.
Sincerely, Roman Karev