There are many ways to get around Montana during winter, but none more full of charm and history than a horse-drawn sleigh or dogsled. While not a common mode of transportation, a sleigh or sled ride can be enjoyed as a unique way to glide over the snowy countryside.
Horse-drawn sleighs are commonly hitched to one, two, or four draft horses. When horses work in teams, the driver chooses two horses with equal strength and calm dispositions to work side-by-side. Breeds such as Belgians, Clydesdales, and Percherons are classic choices, as they were originally bred as workhorses — built to haul weight. These horses weigh around 2,000 pounds each and can pull up to three times their own body weight.
Dog sleds do not need a certain number of dogs, or even a specific breed. Mushers can drive a team of 16 dogs, or just a pair. Dogs are rigged to a sled by a tow line running along the entire length of the team. Tug lines connect each dog to the tow line, and many times, neck lines are connected from collar to tow line, helping prevent the rigging from becoming tangled. Many breeds of dogs are used to pull a sled, but Alaskan Huskies are light, fast, and love to pull, which makes them a popular choice for mushers.
This winter, bundle up and take a magical tour behind a team of powerful horses or sled dogs — it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Base Camp dog sled rides in Big Fork www.basecampbigfork.com
Sunrise Pack Station sleigh rides in Bozeman www.sunrisepackstation.com
Bar W Guest Ranch sleigh rides in Whitefish www.theBarW.com
Lone Mountain Guest Ranch in Big Sky www.lonemountainranch.com