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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
mush those bunnies... a recreational musher looks at Radagast's Rhosgobel Rabbits

swordwhale
Gondor


Dec 29 2012, 8:50pm


Views: 352
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mush those bunnies... a recreational musher looks at Radagast's Rhosgobel Rabbits [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been mushing dogs, not rabbits, for a bit more than a decade, and the first glimpses of the bunny sled made me howl... with laughter... and amazement... and merriment.

A. logical way to move through a forest. Wheels would catch, bog and break... runners slide out over stuff. there are pics in our family of my dad's family moving earth and rock with a mule and a stone sledge (how Dwarvish!)... not a cart. The gangline hitch (like a pinnate leaf... one long line with shorter "tugs" coming off of it) is designed for narrow twisty trails. In the open reaches of the arctic, Natives use a fan hitch (like a palmate leaf), each dog on its own line attached to the sled. Radagast is using a gangline. The brush bow (at the bow or front of the sled) is pronouned like the thing Kili and Legolas shoot. The bow or front of the sled is pronounced like what Kili and Fili do when they arrive at Bilbo's. The bow is designed to shed brush and obstacles; the sled kind of slides or bounces off them. Or, with an overly enthusiastic team, like my friend's, crashes into trees and breaks your face. And you end up in the ER with a nurse going, "... did someone hit you?" (yeah, an ent).

Goober: Radagast has his gangline attached to his brush bow. ShockedShockedShockedShockedShockedShocked This is a sure way to have your superpowered Rhosgobel Rabbits pull your sled apart. The gangline is attached by way of a network of rope, called a bridle, to every upright "stanchion" on the sled, spreading out the stress.

B. Wizard spit. A good team (say, the average Iditarod team of 16 dogs, weighing 40 to 70 pounds) can pull a sled over grass, turf, tussocks, debris. The Burn, on the Iditarod Trail, is notorious for not having much or any snow cover. Loaded Iditarod sleds traverse it all the time. A smaller team can pull a sled over frost. Let's assume some sort of Wizard spit on the runners. If you watch a film called Fast Runner (done by a Native Canadian tribe), you'll see, in the beginning of the film, a guy slicking his runners with ice... he is spitting water out of his mouth (warming it) onto a fur to rub on the runners.

C. The sled dog is the strongest draft animal on earth. I did a kids' program on sleddogs, and forget the exact percentage, but 1000 pounds of sleddogs is far more powerful than 1000 pounds of horse. I don't know about bunnies. But those are Rhosgobel rabbits.

D. The Hobbit was a read-aloud tale in the ancient oral tradition. It's much less serious than LOTR. There's lots of room for quirkiness. I quite like the quirkiness. Some may differ on that subject. Bofur's hat is the coolest... Radagast's resembles it, but with the earflaps tucked up like ears (appropriate for an animal protecting wizard). Both hats resemble something a Yukon musher would be wearing.

E. Radagast is not riding the runners like a modern musher. He's standing on a platform... his sled seems to be more like the sort of sleds I saw in Fast Runner, a platform with runners.... you'd run with your dogs, or jump on and sit on the sled with your hunting gear or the dead seal... Radagast does have a driving bow on his sled, and is leaning and swerving much like I would expect. A sled doesn't steer: you kind of launch it around with your body language and your dogs, or bunnies, pull it around corners. This is why your strongest dogs are the wheel dogs, right in front of the sled... they have to haul the darn thing around corners. A sled is also quite flexible; it's like being on skis with a handle. Radagast's platform thingie would cut down the flexibility of his sled.

F. Watch some sprint racing mushing videos, or ski-joring. It's terrifying. Dogs and mushers at full speed. If you are running on a not-flat trail, there is lots of leaping and crouching and swerving and general mayhem.

G. Sled dogs run in a team, following each other, because they still have the wolvish instinct to run and hunt in a pack. Rabbits zig and zag to avoid predators, and run in all directions at once. OK, those are Rhosgobel Rabbits.

Radagast is using some random sort of harness that looks more like what I'd use to walk my dog, rather than a sledding harness. (at least, as far as I can tell in HFR). The X-back or siwash is the standard for today's musher, though there are lots of other designs, including the "how we won Alaska" horse-collar style of the 1800's. The siwash is one piece without buckles or adjustments: easy to make if you are a hermit living in the woods with no forge or Dwarves nearby. I have used a walking harness on the Hobbit Husky (Max the Schipperke, all of 16 pounds) because I did not yet have an X-back for him. It worked, but he was mostly just trotting along with the big dogs, not pulling hard.

There is a toy poodle under ten pounds who has set weight pulling records; look up Maddie the Weight Pulling Poodle on Youtube... (she uses a special weight pulling harness).

H. Some mushers in Alaska used freighting sleds with a gee-pole. They would ski or snowshoe in front of the sled (behind the dogs) using this "bowsprit" to guide the sled. This was done at slow speeds, not with wargs chasing your butt.

I. Radagast appears to not have brakes. Crap. Holycrappoly. ShockedShockedShockedShockedShockedShockedShockedShockedShocked (There is a claw beneath a sled, which you step on to stop as you shriek whoa!, which the dogs are ignoring. There is also, often a piece of, ironically, snowmobile track dangling between your runners... you step on this to slow the team down. You can also just throw the whole sled over on its side to stop... mostly stop... depending on how big your team is. You set a snowhook when you get off the sled (like an anchor). Radagast doesn't have one of those either. Which is why I was howling when the bunnies take off and he is running to catch up to the sled.

Been there, done that. Which Is why I run with a safety line attached to my leaders. And a quick release.

Radagast in front of a pack of sprint racers or ski-jorers.... now there's a thought... speed records would be set.

You do not say mush. Ever. It comes from some French word and is descriptive of moving down a trail. You say "hike" to go, "gee" to turn right, "haw" to turn left, and "whoa" to stop. Then you converse like a mariner because your dogs are not stopping...

On-by, and ON-BY!!! (expletive deleted) are used when Radagast passes you on the trail and your dogs attempt to eat the rabbits...

Go outside and play...

Subject User Time
Another look at Radagast's bunny sled irodino Send a private message to irodino Dec 29 2012, 11:29am
    You're pushing it :) RalphDamiani Send a private message to RalphDamiani Dec 29 2012, 11:40am
        Radagast could have been handled soooo much better jtarkey Send a private message to jtarkey Dec 29 2012, 11:53am
            I liked the trading card much better RalphDamiani Send a private message to RalphDamiani Dec 29 2012, 12:07pm
    Maya/maia herzogian Send a private message to herzogian Dec 29 2012, 12:08pm
    Hmmm... Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Dec 29 2012, 12:49pm
    haha, I think we don't -need- to rationalise it. That's my argument. Xanaseb Send a private message to Xanaseb Dec 29 2012, 1:02pm
    Hoversleigh! Ruxendil_Thoorg Send a private message to Ruxendil_Thoorg Dec 29 2012, 1:43pm
    Actually, it may not be so "over the top". dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 29 2012, 3:03pm
        It didn't bother me too much, surprisingly. sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Dec 29 2012, 3:30pm
        thanks for the links... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 29 2012, 4:27pm
        I found it hilarious! Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Dec 29 2012, 4:39pm
        Thanks for the links dernwyn TheSexyBeard Send a private message to TheSexyBeard Dec 29 2012, 11:52pm
            Norse myth... swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 31 2012, 7:04pm
        thanks! swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 31 2012, 7:54pm
    I surprised myself Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Dec 29 2012, 4:35pm
    BUT LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUTE BUNNIES! painjoiker Send a private message to painjoiker Dec 29 2012, 5:59pm
        I actually kinda liked the rabbit sled sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Dec 29 2012, 8:17pm
            Me, too. Kimtc Send a private message to Kimtc Dec 29 2012, 9:30pm
    a musher explains how to make your own... swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 29 2012, 8:02pm
        *taps swordwhale on the shoulder* Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 29 2012, 8:14pm
            No, this is a different article... dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 29 2012, 10:10pm
                aha (will go read the new one) Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 29 2012, 10:25pm
            thanks! swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 31 2012, 7:10pm
        mush those bunnies... a recreational musher looks at Radagast's Rhosgobel Rabbits swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 29 2012, 8:50pm
            That was awesome. sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Dec 29 2012, 8:58pm
            Great post! Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Dec 29 2012, 9:47pm
            *mods up* Wizard spit! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 29 2012, 10:14pm
            Thanks! Briar Send a private message to Briar Dec 29 2012, 10:41pm
            in other words just enough credibility to make it possible sevilodorf Send a private message to sevilodorf Dec 30 2012, 12:32am
                beyond cool! swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 30 2012, 4:23pm
            Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing your insights! Roheryn Send a private message to Roheryn Dec 30 2012, 5:22am
                Mackey, the wizard of Mushing swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 30 2012, 4:26pm
                    Yeah, that one. :-) Roheryn Send a private message to Roheryn Dec 30 2012, 7:54pm
                        skating spaniels and (sigh) Uncle Lance! swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 31 2012, 7:09pm
        Awesome! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Dec 29 2012, 10:20pm
    You can't look at things as 'mystical' when they are never defined as such GoodGuyA Send a private message to GoodGuyA Dec 29 2012, 9:57pm
    Magic Randraug Send a private message to Randraug Dec 30 2012, 1:22am
    I loved the bunny sled morgul lord Send a private message to morgul lord Dec 30 2012, 1:33am
        Are people disliking the fact its bunnies than say dogs? imin Send a private message to imin Dec 30 2012, 1:47am
            Oh man... The Mitch King Send a private message to The Mitch King Dec 30 2012, 4:59am
            I was not a fan of the idea when it first came up and the movie Eruonen Send a private message to Eruonen Dec 30 2012, 6:44am
                over the top swordwhale Send a private message to swordwhale Dec 30 2012, 4:40pm

 
 
 

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