How to beat the winter blahs – Ashley

Well, winter has finally decided to show its face. I’m not really a huge fan of the cold and snow but since I live in Canada, I’m going to have to deal with it (or spend my winters down south). One of my favourite winter pastimes is skijoring. For those who are unfamiliar, skijoring is where a person on skis is pulled by a motor vehicle, or more commonly, dogs or horses. It can be done either riderless (with the person on skis driving the horse while skiing behind it), or with a rider.

skijor 1

I had seen a number of videos of it and I really wanted to try my hand it. Like any horse sport, it is dangerous and there are lots of things that can go wrong. I wanted to learn how to do it properly so I began researching clinics. The only one I could find in Ontario was at Butternut Farm (http://patwolfefjords.com/workshops) about an hour outside of Ottawa. I rounded up a bunch of friends who were equally as nuts as I and we made a weekend of it. The clinic was a blast and we came home full of knowledge and confident enough to try it ourselves.

Learning how to skijor with Pat
Learning how to skijor with Pat
Driving and skiing at the same time.  Lots of coordination is needed!
Driving and skiing at the same time. Lots of coordination is needed!

 

We did lots of prep to prepare the horses before we even attempted to ski behind them. We rattled the plastic chains around to get them used to the noise, we got them used to the feeling of the chains on either side of them, and accustomed them to pulling something behind them. We spent quite a bit of time in the indoor arena with one person leading and the other person walking behind the horse, simulating what was eventually going to happen. Fortunately, the first attempts were very uneventful (and a blast), although Lindsay discovered that her horse Zero responded to voice commands much better than she thought he did and she went for a tumble when she was unprepared for him to go from 0 – 60!

Here’s hoping the snow sticks around long enough for me to get out a few times this year (and of course this will be updated with new pictures and video)!

 

North American Skijorring Association – http://www.nasja.com/

Video of a skijoring run – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a2JXcR4w0w&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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