Nuuksion Ratsastajat (NxR) is a riding club that belongs to the
Equestrian Federation of Finland.
Stable Eqvus is located near Nuuksio National Park in city of Espoo, next to Helsinki. The club has been established in 1986.
Since 1996 the Nuuksio riding club has been arranging ski joring competitions with jumps.
Equestrian Ski Joring is a fast action event in which a horse and rider travel down the course as fast as they can go while horse and skier negotiates their own jumps. The skier is holding a rope (around 10 meters) attached to the horse's harness. The sport began several hundred years ago in Scandinavian countries as a way to travel during the long winters. Army has used it previously to transport soldiers on skis being pulled by a horse. Also in Switzerland, Alps, the ski joring has traditions and has lately spread to North America.
The competition course is about one kilometer long and typically we have used two parallel tracks to make the competition look more interesting for the audience and also more attractive for the horses as they are competing against each other side by side. The placement in the competition is determined by the time that takes to finish the course, added with possible penalty seconds e.g. by either the horse or the skier missing or knocking down jumps/barrels (typically 5-10 seconds each).
Horses have jumps up to one meter high on snow and also barrels to go around. Skiers have jump series (e.g. three jumps about 10 meters apart), rope throwing (throw rope over >1 meter pole), friction obstacle (hay spread to 3x10 meter area), accuracy obstacle (30 cm hole in hay stack or tires), and big jump (jump over a up to 3 meter high gap landing downhill). Typically skiers use downhill skies (as there are up to 1.5 meter drops at jumps, even 12 meter long jumps being made from the big jump), but some use snowboards or telemark skis.
It helps if the horse is fast in order to win, but that is not all. In some places the skier has to slow down in order to clear the obstacles, so skier has to agree with the rider about the speed and the rider has to negotiate with the horse (who is competing head to head with the horse next to him) about the speed. So the difficulty in this sports lies in the co-operation of all three; skier, rider, and horse.
The Nuuksio ski joring competition is held once a year on a Sunday at mid February (weather permitting; depending on snow conditions and coldness, max -20 C). The competetion is very exciting and entertaining happening for the whole family. In last years the popularity has increased bringing over thousand spectators to watch the competition.
Seek more info and pictures ('kuvia' in Finnish) of recent year's competitions from our finnish ski joring pages ('hiihtoesteratsastus' in Finnish).
Google search of equestrian ski joring.