A dogsledder, or musher, takes a sideways look at Radagast’s bunny sled from The Hobbit. Bunnies pulling a sled? Could that ever happen in real life? Well, it depends. Recreational musher Teanne Byerts shares the pros and cons of hooking up rabbits to a sled, from the mechanical adaptations needed to the biological drawbacks. Along the way, we learn a lot about dogsledding.
Unlike driving horses, you do not use reins, only voice commands. You do not say mush to start your team, (you shout “hike!”, or scream “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiit, I’m not ready yeeeeeeeeeet!!!!”) Mush comes from a French word; “Marche!” to go, run. The French coureurs des bois and the voyageurs were the first Europeans in the Canadian Shield, so established many of the mushing traditions. The English speaking Canadians mangled it nicely into mush. We linguistically-impaired Americans adopted that. You say “gee” to turn right, “haw” to turn left, and “whoa” to stop. Then you converse like a mariner because your dogs are not stopping. Then you throw the sled over on its side. Or run into a tree and explain later that you were clobbered by an ent.
On-by, and ON-BY!!! (expletive deleted) are used when Radagast passes you on the trail and your dogs attempt to eat the rabbits.