Skijöring is an extremely fun and exciting winter sport that involves towing a skier behind a horse or dog. This sport originated in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Skijöring found its way to North America in the mid 1950’s, where ranchers tied the tow rope to the horn of their western saddles and galloped down a straight track.
Generally in Europe, the skier is directing the horse they are being pulled behind, but in North America, Skijöring typically involves two people and one horse. One person is mounted on the horse, while the skier is towed behind. The rider is in complete control of the horse and determines the pace and route. The skier just needs to hold onto the tow-rope, negotiate turns and enjoy the adventure! Skijöring also requires lots of communication between horse, rider, and skier.
The northwestern United States feature many professional Skijöring competitions that involve complex obstacle courses that each team must navigate. Skilled and highly successful Skijöring teams must be well-coordinated and have good communication between their three members (horse, rider and skier).
However, recreational Skijöring can be a lot of fun for people of all ages when it is carried out safely. For safety reasons, both the rider and skier should wear helmets for protection while Skijöring. Skijöring requires minimal equipment in addition to the horse’s regular tack. A breastplate to prevent the saddle from slipping back and a tow rope that is at least 5 metres in length with a quick release in case of emergency is all that is needed.
For the past 10 years we have been enjoying this fun winter activity which has always proved to be extremely safe for all of the participants. A helmet must be worn by both the rider and skier at all times and the footing has to be solid, so the horses can pull the skiers without slipping. Our only warning is that this sport is great fun and highly addictive. All of the participants who gave Skijöring a try enjoyed it and many could not get enough. Horses of the Sun is looking forward to offering Skijöring to clients this upcoming winter, so get your skis ready and experience a winter with horses.