Shemhadar Kennel Dog Sled Rides
Frequently Asked Questions – Updated 12-20-2020
Due to Covid, we are not offering Rides this year. We are offering Kennel Tours, but no rides. Please schedule your tour on the Schedule a Tour Page.
Below or for normal years, not the 2020-2021 Season.
The “HOW”? Questions….
Reservation Donation/Deposit to book an Adventure: In order to book a ride with Shemhadar, there is a $250 Non Refundable Donation/Deposit to the Kennel. Do not make the deposit until instructed when you’ve made your reservation by phone. There is a great deal of time and effort in order to coordinate all the rides and reservations, and a year-round expense to feed and look after the dogs. If for some reason you cancel, this will help the kennel with dog food and expenses. If we cancel due to weather or unforeseen issues they you will receive $150 Donation/Deposit back. $100 will stay with the kennel to help support the dogs.
How many people can mush at once?
When we’re using the sled, one adult. The back part of the sled is for the Shemhadar Kennel Driver. However, the maximum weight per sled (excluding the Shemhadar Kennel Driver) is 250 pounds when conditions are excellent. So, total guest weight cannot exceed 250lbs per ride. Two adults cannot be on the sled at one time. While someone is riding, the rest of the riders wait at the kennel with cocoa, cookies and discussion!
How many people can come at one time?
As many people as you like can come for a Kennel Visit. When booking a riding tour, the number of riders is limited, but other family and friends can come for the kennel tour part only. It is quite exciting to watch the dogs take off and return, so non riders will get an extra thrill. (They can take soon-to-be-cherished photos of you too and hug and pet the dogs also.)
How many days advance notice is good?
As many as possible. Two months is not uncommon! Weekend days and holidays fill up early for the upcoming season. So try to book early as possible to get the day and time you’d like. We’re a small business (and we like it that way) so we only do a couple rides per weekend day… and not every day. You can see why they fill up quickly. We can sometimes give rides and tours the same or next day you email or call– but it’s not likely. That doesn’t mean don’t try–you never know!
How do I make a reservation?
Kennel Tour reservations can be made anytime. Please email us with your dates and desires to email@example.com.
How many dollars do you require for a deposit, and how many ways can I send it?
In order to book a ride with Shemhadar, there is a $250 Non Refundable Donation/Deposit to the Kennel. There is a great deal of time and effort in order to coordinate all the rides and reservations, and a year-round expense to feed and look after the dogs. If for some reason you cancel or the weather prohibits a safe riding experience, this helps the kennel with dog food and expenses. We ask that you honor our business by keeping the date that you reserved and please give us as much notice as you can if you need to cancel. In the past this has worked and our guests has blessed us with cancelling in order for us to rebook.
How many years experience do you have?
We’ve been dogsledding since 2003. We spent years racing before we decided to share the blessing of dog sledding with others and then we did, boy did it get fun!
How many ways can I find out more information?
You can email us with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org ; you can also learn about dog sledding through our podcasts with mushers and sled dog folk at www.sleddogpodcast.com . We have a wonderful audio series for children and adults on our podcast site call “Stories with Shony, the Retired Sled Dog!” These were written, acted and recorded right here at Shemhadar Kennels.
The OTHER Questions….
Do you have Gift Certificates?
We have stopped doing gift certificates. Please call us to book rides directly.
What should I wear?
Winter Mushing: Dress as if you’ll be in the cold and wind—such as skiing. Snow boots and warm hat and gloves are necessary. Other recommendations include long underwear, snow pants, an insulated parka and goggles or protective glasses or goggles. However, it can be much warmer when walking around in the dog yard, hearing presentations and the like—so layering clothes or at least being able to unzip or unbutton is recommended. Remember to wear chap stick if you need it. Our huskies like to jump and the kennel is outside, so wear clothes that can get dirty. If you like snuggling, don’t wear your nicest snowsuit!
What should I bring?
A good attitude! The dogs are always excited to see you and especially love to give and get hugs. Don’t forget your camera and batteries, etc. Things you surely don’t need on the ride are purses and other bags—they’ll just get in your way and perhaps fall from the sled… Besides, there’s nothing to buy out there on the trail! The doggies love dog bones and the staff loves chocolate, but just warm clothes, camera and good friends are needed.
What are the trails like?
Our trails are gorgeous! Fairly gentle too– so don’t expect an extreme, hold-on-for-your-life steep and dangerous trail ride. We head through wooded fields and heavy woods. There are exciting curves and hilly grades so you won’t be disappointed. Beautiful wilderness foliage will surround you, as well as the chance to sight local wildlife including deer, and wild turkeys. In winter, scenery always changes depending on the amount of snowfall, ice and temperatures, and every day is different.
Is it dangerous?
It can be. It is inherently so, but we do not need to offer the “extreme sport” kind of adrenaline…. we mush as safely as possible. The beauty of the scenery and the excitement of the rushing dogs is enough. However, it can be dicey if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing. Even when the best preventative measures are taken, incidents can occur which can cause harm to passengers, the driver or the dogs. For example, other animals like deer can distract the dog team or a branch could fall from a tree. One rider rose up to take a photo and fell out of the sled! People with health concerns, bad backs, etc; and women who are pregnant should consult their doctors and Shemhadar Kennels before booking a ride. It can be a bit bumpy at times. All participants must understand and sign a liability waiver. We do not require helmets be worn — our insurance company does not require helmets either. You are welcome to bring a helmet if you like.
How do I get there?
Apple Device: Shared Location Link Shared Location
Our address is 6925 S. 27 ½ Road, Cadillac, Michigan 49601. Please note that due to the ½ address, GPS and map programs sometimes have difficulty. Please consult below as well.
From Grand Rapids area: Travel 131 North and get off at the M-115 exit toward Frankfort or go left toward Cadillac/Frankfurt. Once you go over the causeway(bridge between lakes) and see McDonalds on the right, turn left on M-55 going toward Manistee. In one mile turn right on South Lake Mitchell Drive at the gas station called Thirsy’s and travel about 4 miles. Turn right on 27 ½ Road; you take this straight for 1/2 mile into our driveway-look for the Shemhadar Kennel sign.
From the Detroit area: Travel North on 127/I-75 until you get to M-10 going toward Clare. Take 10 to M-115. Go toward Cadillac. This is a 2 lane highway and will take about 45 minutes. Once you close in on Cadillac West, you’ll go over the causeway(bridge between lakes) and see McDonalds on the right, turn left on M-55 going toward Manistee. In one mile turn right on South Lake Mitchell Drive at the gas station called Thirsy’s and travel about 4 miles. Turn right on 27 ½ Road; you take this straight for 1/2 mile into our driveway-look for the Shemhadar Kennel sign.
Where can I get a good local weather forecast?
By visiting www.WEATHER.com <http://www.WEATHER.com> and entering our zip code: 49601. Please remember these are general forecasts and we tend to get a bit different snow fall than 5 miles down the road. Feel free to send us an email if you are concerned.
Do the dogs like to pull the sled?
Yes, yes and an astounding yes! They just love it… and cannot live happily without it. The pulling instinct has been genetically passed into these northern dog breeds for centuries. Similar to a lab, retrieving, or a pointer, pointing–running and pulling are what Huskies do naturally from the day they are born. For more information, visit some of the websites on our links page.
How are the dogs trained?
Sleddogs are trained just like human marathon runners and/or sprint racers preparing for their running season. They all start out running fairly slowly with short mileage, (usually in Sept when it’s cold enough) and then build up their strength, endurance and speed over time. After long breaks, say when it’s unusually warm and too hot to mush, we again start the Huskies running slowly for about a mile. Each week or so, the mileage is increased depending on the dog’s conditioning. Speed sprints are thrown in and maybe some weight pulling. Racing kennels add more speed work than touring and recreational kennels. Before snow arrives, the Huskies pull the cart and we continue to train with the sled when a base is established. Though not all of our dogs get to run in a race, but all our dogs run until they tell us that it’s time to stop. We continue to love them then and thank them for their service to us.
How many dogs will pull our sled or cart?
Well, that will depend on the total weight of riders and the trail conditions at that time. Usually six to eight dogs is enough for our double sled… sometimes a whopping 10-dog team. Any more and it’s harder to stop them when you want to! Mushing with too few dogs means the driver has to run alongside and help push the sled up hills, mushing with too many means you cannot stop, and occasionally, we like to stop.