Skijoring: the extreme winter equestrian sport

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Looking for a new way to spend time with your horse during the winter?  Welcome to skijoring, a winter sport that combines the thrill of skiing with the fun of equestrian.

Skijoring originated in Scandinavia, orginally as a mode of winter transportation. Today it is a recreational sport, often done with dogs providing the pull. In canine skijoring, the human has regular cross-country skiing equipment, including poles, and wears a belt attached to a dog harness.  In equestrian skijoring, the human wears skis and holds tug lines attached to the horse’s harness.

In some versions, the skijorer holds long reins for steering. Think ground driving on skis. Skijoring races are serious business in parts of Europe, where horses wearing special winter shoes gallop around a snowy track, pulling their drivers at remarkable speeds. In North America a popular variation is to have a rider on the horse while the skijorer holds a line attached to the saddle horn. With this western twist on the Scandinavian sport, skijorers compete behind galloping horses, steering themselves over sizable jumps.  

If you’re not an adrenaline junkie, you can still enjoy skijoring. At a slower pace, skijoring is a good way to provide your horse with some winter activity while giving you a chance to get outside the arena. Of course, strapping on some skis and putting yourself at the mercy of your horse is not something to do without proper instruction, or with a horse who is not accustomed to being driven. As with any winter workout, make sure your horse has appropriate footwear for working in potentially slippery conditions, and remember that trotting through the snow is a lot more work for your horse than trotting on flat ground, so don’t overdo it.

Now, grab a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy some videos of skijoring in action.


Skijoring at Bowers Farm in Leadville, Colorado

 


2009 Skijoring Competition in Whitefish, Montana

 

 

To learn more about the sport of skijoring, check out these sites:

North American Ski Joring Association

Northeast Ski Joring Assocation

Association Skijoering (France)

The Skijorer’s Source

Check out more fun videos from HorseChannel.com on our video page.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Weeehooo! Looks like something FUN to try during our LONG winters in Wisconsin!! I think I’d opt for a nice sled instead of skiis though!

  2. My mom used to do skijoring when I was little. I thought it was so… cool, and I still do. She gave it up when my brother and I were little, and a few years later her big horse died, but maybe someday I can convince her to do it again with me.

  3. Hi, can someone tell me where to buy the horse harness, tug lines and reins for skijoring. I must try this absolutely. Any volunteers to catch my horse ๐Ÿ™‚ ?

  4. My Sister and I did this back in the 70’s. She would saddle up and we used a lariet on the horn and back to me, I did the skiing and she did the towing on my Quarter Horse Palomino Bummer! Even made a jump to go up and over, me not the horse!

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