It's all about the only native Finnish horse breed!

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“The head of the horse was made of stone, hooves out of rock and legs out of iron. The back of the foal was forged from metal.”

Today we celebrate the Finnhorse day, the day to honor our one and only Finnish horse breed with waving flags and respect. The studbook for the Finnhorse was founded 6th of September 1907, so our horse has been documented for 107 years and about ten generations now.


(The first) two generations of finnhorses on our yard. Elyse & Epeli.

The finnhorse is, has been and will be a significant part of the Finnish horse industry. This day is a reminder that there are thousands of finnhorse friends. Each and every finnhorse breeder, rider, trainer, driver and fan is important and there’s room for more. In my opinion, even internationally, which is the prime reason why I’m writing this blog in English.

About the headline quote

In the Finnish mythology the horse has an iron origin. Väinämöinen rode the iron horse (“Hiiden varsa”) above the waters of primeval sea, a malicious stranger shot his horse, and the old tietäjä fell into the ocean. Horses are also present in spells and incantations. Commonly spells were used to protect horses from hazards and to prevent them from escaping when horses were released to summer pastures. In some spells horse’s spirit is also called to banish malicious forces (kateet) or to assist the tietäjä in his work. Few spells that were used to stop wounds from bleeding call the mythical first foal (“Hiiden varsa”) to stop the blood flow. (Thanks again to Suomenusko/Anssi for this translation).

Follow the event on social media


Suomenhevostalkoot (page)

Suomenhevosen päivä – liputuspäivä (event)

#suomenhevostalkoot (tag)

Suomenhevonen, paras hevonen! (group)


Tags #suomenhevostalkoot, #suomenhevonen and #finnhorse will give you plenty of tweets to follow :)


#finnhorse, #suomenhevonen


Happy Finnhorse Day 2014!

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What’s your horse name?


My Finn horse name would be Veivin Tuiske.

Have you ever wondered, what would be your name if you were a horse? Better yet, a Finn horse?

No worries, there’s an app for that.

Fintoto published a fun horse name generator on their site. You can generate a name for yourself!

Generate your name by clicking here.

Check the tabs you wish (first column ori = stallion, tamma = mare, second column Lämminverinen = standardbred trotter, Suomenhevonen = Finn horse). Write your name in the open field and click the arrow button. The generator will give you a horse name. :)

Please do add your horse name to the comment field below! If I was a horse, my name might be Veivin Tuiske.

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Trotter King Candidates 2014

From Ravikuningas- ja kuningatarkandidaatit on valittu ( 22.7.2014)

It’s that time of the year again!

These  twelve stallions will take part in Coronation Trot event, a competition that consists of three races within two days. On Saturday they set the bar at 2100 m race, on Sunday they race first at 1600 m distance and the final race is a 3100 m, only few hours later.

The horse which performs best in all three races wins the king’s crown. These are the absolute best stallions of this breed at the moment, so we are once again looking forward to an exciting battle of the titans next weekend at Pori. :)

Here are some statistics on the King candidates. See the Queen candidates here.

Who’s your favorite?



Born 2003, breeder Pekka Luukkonen, owner Team Boker, trainer Esa Holopainen

Race statistics 112, 27-14-13, winnings 300.400€, records 1.21,0a – 1.21,4v

This year: 10, 1-0-3, 14.800€ 1.22,3a – 1.21,8v



Born 2006, breeder Jani Konnu, owner Itä-Savon Hevosystäväinseura ry, trainer Jorma Konnu

Race statistics 62, 19-13-4, winnings 110.394€, records 1.20,9a – 1.23,9v

This year: 7, 0-3-0 1.21,1a

Elias Intomieli


Born 2004, breeder Kainuun Ammattiopisto-Liikelaitos, owner Team Elias, trainer Timo Mäkäräinen

Race statistics: 68, 26-7-2, 103.270€ 1.221,a – 1.25,3v

This year: 13, 4-3-0, 43.600€, 1.221,a – 1.27,7v



Born 2003, breeder Kauppapuutarha Ylitalo Oy & Lähdekorpi Esa, owner Talli Hullumies, trainer Seppo Sarkola

Race statistics: 94, 25-11-9, winnings 164.630€, winnings 1.21,0a – 1.22,5v

This year: 8, 2-0-0, 7.100€, 1.21,3a – 1.22,9v



Born 2002, breeder Kyösti Hagert, owner Kolme Hevosta Tmi & Kilpiäinen J.& Varis M., trainer Jari Nylund

Race statistics: 57, 24-7-3, winnings 86.515€ records 1.22,0a – 1.23,0v

This year: 12, 4-0-1 13.575€ 1.22,1a – 1.23,4v



Born 2003, breeders & owners Korhonen Jyrki & Maija, trainer Jyrki Korhonen

Race statistics: 175, 27-21-16 winnings 276.880€, records 1.20,8a – 1.23,3v

This year: 14, 4-1-1, 42.700€ 1.22,3a – 1.23,5v



Born 2004, breeder, owner  & trainer Juha-Matti Paavola

Race statistics: 151, 20-21-22, 94.440€1.21,7a – 1.24,2v

This year: 18, 0-2-3, 8.700€ 1.21,7a – 1.24,2v

Rapin Aatos


Born 2006, breeder Mari Rautiainen, owner Fanfaria Team, trainer Jouni Miettinen

Race statistics: 82, 14-16-10, 101.546€ 1.21,1a – 1.23,7v

This year: 16, 2-2-2, 25.046€ 1.21,1a – 1.23,7v



Born 2006, breeder Eeva-Liisa Kortekallio, owner Ravitalli Juha Kortekallio, trainer Juha Kortekallio

Race statistics: 55, 19-8-4, winnings 94.910€ records 1.22,2a – 1.24,1v

This year: 12, 3-1-1, 32.450€ 1.22,2a – 1.24,9v

Tapsan Tahti


Born 2002, breeder Tapio Perttunen, owner Talli Rytmiryhmä, trainer Tapio Perttunen

Race statistics: 142, 16-18-21, winnings 116.800€, records 1.21,5a – 1.22,7

This year: 13, 2-1-2, 34.400€ 1.23,3a – 1.22,7v

Vieskerin Valo


Born 2004, breeder & owner Janita Bollström, trainer Pertti Niveri

Race statistics: 132, 24-21-13, winnings 129.260€ 1.21,3a – 1.22,9v

This year: 15, 5-1-1, 30.450€ 1.23,0a – 1.22,9v



Born 2005, breeders & owners Naumanen Jorma & Tiina, trainer Jorma Naumanen

Race Statistics: 92, 14-24-15, winnings 184.270€, records 1.21,0a – 1.22,1v

This year: 7, 0-4-1, 27.000€, 1.21,0a – 1.22,5v

 Photos: Hippos photo bank

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Trotter Queen candidates 2014

From Ravikuningas- ja kuningatarkandidaatit on valittu ( 22.7.2014)

It’s that time of the year again!

These  twelve mares will take part in Coronation Trot event, a competition that consists of three races within two days. On Saturday they set the bar at 2100 m race, on Sunday they race first at 1600 m distance and the final race is a 3100 m only few hours later.

The horse which performs best in all three races wins the queen’s crown. These are the absolute best mares of this breed at the moment, so we are once again looking forward to an exciting battle of the titans next weekend at Pori. :)

Here are some statistics on the Queen candidates. See the King candidates here.

Who’s your favorite?

Queen candidates



Born 2001, breeder Kiia-Karoliina Nieminen, owner Likan Talli, trainer Esa Heikkinen

Race statistics: 195, 15-21-18, winnings 94.105 €, records 1.22,5a – 1.24,0v

This year: 10, 0-2-1, winnings 5.650 €, 1.24,0a and 1.26,8v



Born 2005, breeder Good-Talli Oy, owner & trainer Anna-Mari Sipilä

Race statistics 76, 16-9-10, winnings 70.620 €, records 1.22,8a – 25,7v

This year: 11, 4-1-2, 1.23,0a – 25,7v

Kemun Tutu


Born 2006, breeder Pentti Hokkanen, owner Fanfaria Team, trainer Jouni Miettinen

Race statistics: 111, 9-23-16, winnings 68.225€, records 1.23,2a – 1.24,0v

This year: 22, 1-3-5, winnings 15.575€, 1.23,3a – 1.24,3v



Born 2006, breeder, owner & trainer Heikki Karjula

Race statistics: 78, 15-7-5, winnings  75.020€ records 1.22,9a – 1.24,9v

This year: 14, 1-0-0, 7.040€ 1.22,9a – 1.25,1v

Mian Mari


Born 2007, breeder Pekka Raudasoja, owner & trainer Jussi Isokoski

Race statistics: 56, 5-10-11, winnings 37.180€, records 1.22,7a – 1.23,8v

This year: 13, 0-3-4, 9.830€ 1.22,7a – 23,8v



Born 2003, breeder Kivimäki Seppo & Oravisjärvi Pekka, owner Flankkila E.& Salmela E.& S.& S., trainer Jukka-Pekka Kauhanen

Race statistics: 96, 21-21-10,winnings 65.160€ records 1.22,2a – 1.24,2v

This year: 14, 2-2-1, 6.725€ 1.22,5a – 24,2v

Saaga S

saaga s

Born 2006, breeder Keskimaunu S. & Keskimaunu J. & J., owner & trainer Ilkka Pyysalo

Race statistics: 65, 12-10-11, winnings 86.310€ records 1.21,9a – 1.24,7v

This year: 9, 1-2-1, 20.550€ 1.21,9a – 1.24,7v



Born 2002, breeder Petteri Salonen, owners Kallio T.&Järvinen P.&Tahlo J., trainer Mika Kallio

Race statistics: 273, 12-16-21, winnings 64.785€ records 1.22,5a – 1.24,7v

This year: 25, 1-2-2, 7.880€ 1.23,4a  -1.24,7v

Topin Musta


Born 2004, breeder, owner & trainer Topi Piikkilä

Race statistics: 84, 23-12-9, winnings 68.680€ 1.24,0a – 1.24,2v

This year: 11, 0-2-0, 4.850€ 1.24,3a – 1.25,3v



Born 2005, breeder Kari Viitala, owners Romsi H.& H.& Liimatta J.&Pennanen T., trainer Jouni Miettinen

Race statistics: 112, 18-14-15, winnings 76.225€ 1.23,1a – 1.24,5v



Born 2006, breeder Maatalousyhtymä Tuomaala, owner Saarinen Tomi & Sipilä Annamari, trainer Tomi Saarinen

Race statistics: 70, 15-7-5, winnings 86.720€ records 1.23,8a – 1.24,5v

This year: 7, 2-0-1, 11.850€ 1.23,8a – 1.24,5v

Yllin Kyllin


Born 2002, breeder Sanna Aaltonen, owner Merkkari Talli, trainer Teemu Okkolin

Race statistics: 99, 16-10-12, winnings 108.160 € , records 1.22,5a – 1.24,9v

This year: 8, 1-0-0, 3.100 € 1.22,5a – 1.27,1v

Photos: Hippos photo bank

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Early History Of The Finnhorse

From Finnhorse (

The Finnhorse studbook was founded in 1907. But what had happened before, and does the Finnhorse have much common history with Norwegian, Swedish, Russian and Estonian native horse breeds?


Finnish horses and a horse-drawn tram in Turku, 1890

The ancestors of the modern Finnhorse were important throughout Finnish history, used as work horses and beasts of burden in every aspect of life from antiquity well into the 20th century. The modern breed’s precise line of descent is unclear, but numerous outside influences have been recorded throughout the history of Finland.

The earliest hard archaeological evidence of horses existing in what today is Finland dates to the Finnish Middle Iron Age (400-800 CE). The Finnhorse and its progenitors later became an indispensable asset for military forces from the region of Finland during the times of Swedish and Russian rule, and since independence as well. In addition to functionality as military and working horses, the Finnhorse has also been bred for speed in harness racing, and it can be argued that this sport was the main factor in the survival of the breed after its numbers crashed during the later half of the 20th century, from approximately 400,000 animals in the 1950s to 14,000 in the 1980s. In the 21st century, the numbers of the breed have stabilised at approximately 20,000 animals.


Although multiple hypotheses exist on the origins of the horse in Finland, an indigenous wild horse origin is thought improbable, as significant numbers of domesticated horses were imported from earliest times. The Finnhorse is most likely descended from a northern European domestic horse.

One theory suggests that horses arrived from the west, brought to what today is western Finland by the Vikings during the Viking Age, circa 800–1050 CE. These Viking horses would have been of northern European ancestry. The other main theory suggests that non-Viking peoples, who migrated into Finland from the southeast and south, brought with them horses of Mongolian origin that had been further developed in the Urals and Volga River regions. Both theories have merit, as there were two distinct horse types in the eastern and western regions of Finland that remained distinct from one another until at least the middle of the 19th century.

The eastern origin of the breed was first proposed by archaeologist Johannes Reinhold Aspelin, who published Suomalaisen hevosen kotoperäisyydestä (“On the Nativity of the Finnish horse”) in 1886–1887. Aspelin proposed that Finnish horses descended from an animal that had accompanied the Finno-Ugric peoples’ migration from the Volgaregion and middle Russia to the shores of the Gulf of Finland. A similar idea was suggested over a hundred years earlier by natural historian Pehr Adrian Gadd, and this theory has continued to receive some support into modern times. The veterinarian Ludvig Fabritius considered the proposed prototype a side branch of a “Tartarian” breed, and considered it possible that the same prototype also influenced Estonian, Swedish and Norwegian horse populations.


Contrasting early types: A small, stocky roan Finnish horse from Karelian Isthmus, photographed in 1909. 12.3 hands (51 inches, 130 cm) high. A roan (?) Finnhorse, 130 cm, from Karelian Isthmus, Finland, in 1909 Unknown – Photographed from Liinaharja: Suomenhevosen taival (Pesonen et. al, published by Otava)


Contrasting early types: A more refined flaxen-maned chestnut Finnhorse from Central Finland, photographed in 1910. 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm) high. A flaxen-maned chestnut Finnhorse, 141 cm, from Central Finland, in 1910 Photographed from Liinaharja: Suomenhevosen taival (Pesonen et. al, published by Otava)

Later, agronomist Axel Alfthan (1862–1934) and veterinarian Kaarlo Gummerus (1840–1898) expanded Aspelin’s hypothesis, proposing that the horse population later diverged into Eastern Finnish and Mid-Finnish types, which had remained distinguishable as late as the turn of the 20th century.

Photographs support these claims: the small Karelian horse was blocky and stout, with pronounced withers, a short neck and large head. The small horse from central Finland, on the other hand, was “more noble”, with a longer body, lighter neck and more refined head. The Swedish professor Eric Åkerblom even suggested that the Finnish horse spread along river valleys to Troms, Norway, and was the ancestor of the Nordlandshest/Lyngshest, found around the Lyngenfjord.

The Norwegians continue to utilise Finnhorse bloodlines, having purchased the Finnish pony-type stallion Viri 632-72P for stud use in 1980. However, Åkerblom dismissed the possibility that the eastern Finnhorse came from same prototype as the western pony breeds.



Nordlandshest “Ninni”, Photo: Nimloth250

In 1927, veterinarian and professor Veikko Rislakki (then Svanberg) proposed a different theory in his doctoral thesis. He argued that three types of wild horses existed in Europe, one of which he believed to be the Przewalski’s Horse. Rislakki believed this unrefined and notably large-headed type was the horse the early Finns encountered about 1000 BCE.

He sugggested that the Finns later encountered other peoples and horses south of the Gulf of Finland, and that these peoples had better proportioned horses with a shorter muzzle and wider forehead, descended from the Tarpan. In addition, Rislakki suggested that the Finns came across European horses of Spanish and French origin during the first few centuries CE, larger in size and with narrow foreheads. Rislakki believed that his craniometricexaminations, carried out in the 1920s, proved the influence of all these three horse types.

Almost 20 years later, during the Continuation War, Rislakki also measured Karelian horses, and proposed they also came from an original Northern European animal descended from the Tarpan.  Modern studies have discredited theories suggesting modern domesticated horse breeds descending from the Tarpan or the Przewalski’s horse. The modern Konik horse resembles the extinct Tarpan however.


Only known photo of an alleged live Tarpan, which may have been a hybrid or feral animal, 1884

In the early 20th century, English J. C. Edward and Norwegian S. Petersen, proposed that Finland and the other countries surrounding the Gulf of Finland were the home region for the so-called “yellow pony”. A later ethnologist, Kustaa Vilkuna (1902–1980) supported this view, proposing that an “Estonian-Finno-Karelian pony” descended from a small forest horse previously widespread in the lands surrounding the Gulf of Finland.

Earliest horse equipment (bits) found in Finnish graves date from the Finnish Middle Iron Age, beginning from circa 400 CE. Breeds considered to descend from the same early types as the Finnhorse include the Estonian Native horse, the Norwegian Nordlandshest/Lyngshest, the Swedish Gotland Russ, the Mezen horse from the region of Archangelsk, Russia, and the Lithuanian Žemaitukas.


Estonian Klepper, photo by Rozpravka

At some point in their history, not clearly documented, horses bred in the western regions crossbred with horses that originated south of the Gulf of Finland. This made the western Finnish horse type larger and better suited to farming and forestry work. The characteristics of the original western Finnish type prevailed, however, even though influenced by outside blood and traces of outside influence could be detected for a long time. Later, this mixed type was further crossbred with larger horses from Central Europe during the Middle Ages. Foreign horses were also brought to Finland during military campaigns, and additional animals were imported to manor houses for driving. The crossbreed offspring of Central European and Finnish horses were larger than their Finnish parents, and even more suited for agricultural work.


Gotland ponies in Slottsskogen, Gothenburg. Photo: Malene

The earliest known documentation of Finnish trade in horses, both as imports and exports, dates to 1299, when Pope Gregory IX sent a letter of reprimand to the merchants of Gotland, who were selling horses to the non-Christianized Finns. Apparently the Finns succeeded in improving their horse population, as the predominant form of Finnish trade in horses eventually shifted from imports to exports.  A Russian chronicle from 1338 mentions “Tamma-Karjala” (“Karelia of the Mares”), presumably denoting a place of good horse breeding. As early as in 1347, King Magnus IV saw it necessary to put limits to the horse exports from Karelia to Russia.

Later, the 16th century writer Olaus Magnus mentioned the high quality of the horses used by the early Finns; in the 1520s, Gustav Vasa found the Finns exporting horses by the shipload to Lübeck, and strictly prohibited such trading, banning the sale of horses under the age of 7 years.

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Finnhästar i Sverige & Fredens öar

Great news for our Swedish speaking readers!

There’s an open Facebook group for Swedish Finn horse owners and fans! Click here to find Finnhästar i Sverige (Finn horses in Sweden)!

Check out also Finnhästar på Fredens öar – group, these guys live in Åland Islands (which is part of Finland but they speak mostly Swedish).

For those of you seeking general information about Finn horses in Swedish, check out Bekanta Dig med Finnhästen (pdf).

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More photos of the little one

They grow up so fast – this set of photos was taken on his birthday, 1st of June:

In these photos he is one week old, little prince charming (and his mommy who just loves to have her coat covered in that wellness-spa mud treatment all summer long…) :)

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It’s a boy! :)


Little colt!

A surprise was waiting for us in the stable this morning! Elyse, that sneaky, sneaky mare, had given birth to a little colt while I wasn’t watching! Luckily everything seems to have gone by the book and both are ok. Whew!

Peppi’s little brother is sired by a fine trotter stallion called Vieskerin Valo. Who, by the way, holds the 8th place of the Trotter King ranking for now. ;)

More posts about my journey as a horse breeder so far:

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Leonida won the work horse championship 2014

From Leonida pokkasi palkinnot Valtakunnallisessa työmestaruuskilpailussa (


Leonida won the work horse championship for finnhorses 2014. Photo by Hippos/Eeva Karvonen. See more photos at the Hippos photo bank

This was the first time Leonida attended the competition. One could say she cleaned the prize table. She was the fastest in the trot test, the best mare to attend and the best first-timer. Second place went to mare Vikspertta, who was the youngest horse to attend – only five years old! Two-time work horse champion, mare Vilpotar placed third. The first prize was 1 500 euro.

- It’s great to see that hard work pays off. Leonida is an honest, fine family horse, told Matti Pakarinen, whose wife Tarja and daughters Veera and Viivi also like to take part to the daily stable routines back home.

Pakarinen has had Leonida since last October.

- I appreciate the work that Veikko Herranen (the previous owner) has done with her. Leonida felt good, but I didn’t expect us to win, since there were so many good horses against us.

 Again next year?

- Maybe not. She might be in foal next year. But if she’s not, we’ll come to compete again.

Leonida lost a shoe during the competition, but managed to pull through all the tests. There were about 500 people watching the competition. This was the 30th anniversary for the work horse championships, which has been organised annually since 1984.

The work horse championship is an annual competition for studbook inspected mares and stallions. There are three tests: 1000 m trot, 500 m walk with 500 kg carriage, and finally the pulling test, where the horses pull a sleigh in sand. The start weight is about 500 kg, the horse pulls 20 m at a time. More weight is added to the sleigh during the breaks. This continues until the horse stops or the vet calls it off (the horses are naturally under strict surveillance throughout the tests). The horses receive points for each test and the horse with most points wins the title of the champion.

Matti had a camera with him through the competition. Click here to watch it on Facebook.


Vikspertta pulling. Photo by Hippos/Eeva Karvonen

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Elitkampen winners 1986-2014



Viesker is the only Finn to win the Elitkampen multiple times. He won the race five times 1996-2000. Here he is greeting the Coronation Trot audience at Kuopio in 2013 (age 24). Photo: Hippos/Satu Meriluoto

Elitkampen Winner 2014, Neslands Loke, comes from Norway and so did the other two medalists Føynland Kongen and Rokne Eld. Great day for Norwegians! Finnhorses took the next two places, Rapin Aatos placed fourth and Camri fifth. :)

Traditional race

This race of the best Northern codblood trotters is a traditional part of the Elitloppet weekend. For the last few years mostly Norwegians and Swedes have taken the brightest medals, but luckily the Finns have had their moments in the history of Elitkampen as well. This year the horses were good, but others were better. We are still waiting for our next international superstar. ;)

Ponseri was the first Finnhorse to win the Elitkampen in 1994. In 1996 the legendary Viesker took the crown and kept it for five years in a row. After him only Järvsöfaks has been able to do the same.

Elitkampen winners 1986-2014

Year Horse Driver Country Winner odds Time
2014 Neslands Loke  Åsbjörn Tengsareid Norway 39,28 1.20,8
2013 Tekno Odin Öystein Tjomsland Norway 1,43 1.20,6
2012 Hallsta Lotus Ulf Ohlsson Sweden 1,23 1.19,9
2011 Feseth Lynet Jan-Ove Olsen Norway 9,20 1.20,4
2010 Hallsta Lotus Ulf Ohlsson Sweden 8,13 1.19,7
2009 Röste Bo Åsbjörn Tengsareid Sweden 3,62 1.20,3
2008 Vinning Kos Thor Borg Norway 17,48 1.20,7
2007 Moe Odin Asbjörn Mehla Norway 3,66 1.19,4
2006 Järvsöfaks Jan-Olov Persson Sweden 1,10 1.19,6
2005 Järvsöfaks Jan-Olov Persson Sweden 1,29 1.19,4
2004 Järvsöfaks Jan-Olov Persson Sweden 1,05 1.18,9
2003 Järvsöfaks Jan-Olov Persson Sweden 1,11 1.19,1
2002 Järvsöfaks Jan-Olov Persson Sweden 1,25 1.20,2
2001 Sagi Knut Jorma Kontio Norway 39,66 1.21,2
2000 Viesker Kaarlo Ahokas Finland 1,17 1.20,2
1999 Viesker Kaarlo Ahokas Finland 1,25 1.22,7
1998 Viesker Kaarlo Ahokas Finland 1,46 1.21,2
1997 Viesker Kaarlo Ahokas Finland 1,40 1.21,7
1996 Viesker Kaarlo Ahokas Finland 2,00 1.21,7
1995 Åslands Kvikk Edvar Kristiansen Norway 4,01 1.23,1
1994 Ponseri Anssi Niininen Finland 1,76 1.23,3
1993 Atom Vinter Rune Wiig Norway 2,54 1.23,3
1992 Verner Jim Frick Sweden 3,41 1.21,5
1991 Atom Vinter Arve Gudbrand Blihovde Norway 3,80 1.22,1
1990 Atom Vinter Arve Gudbrand Blihovde Norway 8,73 1.21,9
1989 Svinten Kenneth Karlsson Sweden 4,00 1.23,3
1988 Alm Svarten Tore H Larsen Norway 1,23 1.23,7
1987 Alm Svarten Ulf Thoresen Norway 1,36 1.21,5
1986 Alm Svarten Ulf Thoresen Norway 6,19 1.23,0


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Camri and Rapin Aatos to Elitkampen 2014

From Camri ja Rapin Aatos Elitkampeniin (

The Elitloppet race weekend takes place at Solvalla, Stockholm from May 23th to 25th. Finnhorse stallions Camri and Rapin Aatos are heading to Sweden to represent Finland in this international coldblood race.


Camri, photo: Hippos/Ilkka Nisula

Camri was the big name of last week after Erkon Pokaali last Saturday. He fought tremendously against Tekno Odin, after 1.18,5 opening and 1.19,5 lap! At the end he finished second after Tekno Odin, but nevertheless did what no one believed he could. You can watch the race here.


Rapin Aatos visiting France. Photo: Hippos

Rapin Aatos has also had a good season so far, for example he placed fourth in Vincennes, France last February.

Hopefully they are both heading to Pori in August as well!

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Happy 30th birthday, Pette!


Invitation for Pette’s party (click to enlarge)

Pette was born on May 13th, 1984 at Ypäjä. He made a great career in racing. He won the Trotter King title as well as the Nordic Championship for coldblood trotters TWICE in 1993 and 1994. These are just a few merits on his list. Altogether his career included 163 races with winnings over 200 000 euro. He retired from the race tracks in 1997.

Being an active horse, he didn’t settle for just resting in his retirement days. His owners decided to introduce him to riding, and started schooling him for dressage and jumping.

Pette was inspected for J (Juoksija, trotter) studbook with first prize in 1995 and for R (Ratsu, riding horse) studbook without a prize in 2004. He has sired 112 foals to date, and is standing at stud this year as well.

Here’s a beautiful short document of Pette, made by Ville Virtanen in 2013 (in Finnish).

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Peppi’s first show

We took Peppi to her first (official) show a few weeks back. What an exciting day in Peppi’s life! She experienced what it was like to travel alone, without mommy on board.

She received a II- prize (range from III- to I). She was the second best of her class with good points: type 7, barrel 8, legs 7, hooves 8, walk 7, trot 7 (scale 1-10).  She is now 132 cm at withers and 136 at croup, which means that she is growing quite fast at the moment but is still a bit smaller than the others (most of them were around 135-140cm). Maybe she wants to be a pony after all? ;)

All results (pdf)


A bit worried look… “What’s happening?”


Posing for the jury


Swish! Look what I can do!




Feeling pretty!


132 cm at withers, 136 at croup

Photos by Jaana Hohti and Satu Pitkänen/Rozpravka Photography, see more at Peppi’s Sukuposti page.

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Foal cam is working!

It’s finally working! Not every horse has a WLAN in their stable, but these guys do. ;)

If you’d like to see what Elyse is up to, check out the online live stream by clicking here.

The little one shouldn’t take too long to arrive -maybe within days, maybe in a week or so. Exciting times!!

(note: the camera is switched on for the night, if you can’t see anything, just check back later :) )

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Crib-biting and its heritability in Finnhorses

From Crib-biting and its heritability in Finnhorses (


Digging into genetics research helps breeders to produce healthy horses. These horses had nothing to do with the study, though. :) Photo by Smerikal

Finnhorses are an interesting population for scientists because they are so well-documented: each horse is registered and their  pedigree data is documented and available for more than 10 generations.

Here’s and interesting abstract of a recent study about crib-biting behavior:


Crib-biting in horses is a stereotypical oral behaviour with a prevalence of 2.8–15%, varying between breeds. A genetic basis for crib-biting has been suggested by many researchers, but due to incomplete information on families or the lack of a sufficient number of verified crib-biters, heritability has not been determined for any horse population. However, the involvement of inheritance in behavioural traits has only been indicated by a few studies in horses, and evidence for a genetic component in stereotypies mainly comes from studies on other species.

Our aim was to estimate the heritability of crib-biting behaviour in a Finnhorse population. The cold-blood Finnhorse is a native breed that has been pure-bred since 1907. All Finnhorses are registered in the Finnhorse register, and pedigree data are available for more than 10 generations. A cohort of 111 crib-biting and 285 non-crib-biting (control) Finnhorses were recruited through advertisements. Our hypothesis was that crib-biting is a quantitative trait with a reasonably high heritability (h2), because there is some anecdotal evidence that the trait is expressed in certain families. To our knowledge, this is the first time that h2 has been estimated for crib-biting behaviour in any horse population.

The crib-biting behaviour of Finnhorses was described in more detail through an owner questionnaire. Crib-biting appears to be performed by Finnhorses in quite a similar way to other breeds. According to the owners, Finnhorses most frequently crib-bite shortly after feeding on concentrate or titbits and in stressful situations. The habit typically begins during the juvenile years or after some traumatic phase. The proportion of mares among cases was smaller than among controls.

Linear and threshold animal models were tested to estimate the heritability, but the estimates did not converge within allowed parameter space. Hence a more robust linear sire model was used in the final analysis. The estimated heritability of the trait was 0.68. Higher than moderate heritability suggests for further association studies at the genome level together with pedigree studies to identify risk loci. In addition, resolving genetic correlations between performance traits and crib-biting is of great interest for breeding purposes. This study represents a preliminary stage in genetic research of crib-biting.

Key words
behaviour; crib-biting; heritability; horse; stereotypy

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The new Coronation Trot ranking system explained (go, Valo, go!)

From Vieskerin Valo viikon ranking-nousija (

Vieskerin Valo

Vieskerin Valo at the coronation Trot in Kuopio 2013

Traditional Coronation Trot ranking system has been given an update this year.

Vieskerin Valo (the sire of our next horsey baby, by the way :) ) received 20 more points by winning the Killerin Kimara race at Jyväskylä on Saturday 26th of April (You can watch the race here), so he got mentioned in the weekly report. Go, daddy, go!

Here’s an example of how the new system works:

Valo has 47 ranking points at the moment, which earns him the 9th place at the ranking. Horses can earn these ranking points in 11 categories. The best horse of each category gets 15 points, the second 12, third 10, and so on by 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. For example Finnish records, high earnings from this and last year and good records from each racing distance (1600, 2100, 2600, 3100 m) give the horse quite good points in this ranking.

  • Vieskerin Valo earns 15 points for having the best record at 3100 m distance.
  • This year’s best results at 2100 m autostart races. Vieskerin Valo’s newest 23,7a is the second fastest this year, so he earns 12 points for it (ranking leader in this category is Villihotti).
  • In this year’s earnings category the points get multiplied by three. Vieskerin Valo is placed 8th in the earnings category, so he get 4 points, which adds up to 12 ranking points.
  • He earns 7 points for having the fifth best record at 2600 m distance (volt). Plus he earns one point at earnings of 2013 ranking.

See the full ranking tables by clicking here. The online ranking page updates weekly.

“What’s this Coronation Trot you speak of?”

The Coronation Trot is the biggest annual finnhorse event, the biggest trotting event and one of the biggest summer events of all in Finland, gathering about 60 000 people to watch the best finnhorses race. Stallions compete for the crown of a Trotter King and the best mare is crowned as the Trotter Queen. This year this event takes place in Pori on 2.-3.8.2014. The ranking defines which horses get to participate the race.

This English-spoken video from a couple of years back sums up quite well the history and present day of the Coronation Trot event:

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Video: Under the Northern Star

A beautiful video about finnhorses by Tiina S on Youtube.

The song used in this video is called “Olen suomalainen” (I am a Finn / I’m Finnish).
It’s a rewritten version of Toto Cutugno’s “Sono l’italiano“.

Here’s a rough translation of the Finnish lyrics. They are quite different and more melancholic than the original Italian ones,  written to fit the Finnish state of mind, I guess… :)

Voi jospa tietäisivät maailmalla,
Oh, if only people out there knew

Nyt mitä voikaan olla taivaan alla,
What can exist under the sky

On täällä kansa, jonka kyyneleistä aikaan saisi aika monta valtamerta
Here is a nation, whose tears could fill oceans

On täällä monta yksinäistä, mutta
Many of us are lonely, but

Niin paljon kiellettyä rakkautta,
So much forbidden love

Nyt ettei siitä riitä kertojaksi taulut eikä ikävöivät lemmenlaulut…
That paintings or longing love songs could not explain…

On täällä elämä raskasta työtä
Life here is hard work

Ja siinä harvemmin on onni myötä,
And luck is rarely on our side

Sen tietää vain, yksin suomalainen
A Finn knows it

On pohjantähden alla
Under the Northern Star

Tää koti mulla mainen,
This earthly home of mine

Mä elämästä laulan,
I sing of life

Sillä oonhan suomalainen
Because I am a Finn after all

Mä rakkaudesta laulan,
I sing of love

On siinä mies ja nainen
There is a man and a woman

Pohjantähden alla,
Under the Northern Star

Elää suomalainen
Lives a Finn.

On tässä maassa itsepäinen kansa,
The stubborn people of this country

Ystävät jos pitää toisistansa,
If friends are close to each other

Ei siinä erottaa muu, silloin voi kuin yksin kuolema ja virkavalta vain
The only thing to separate them is death or official authority…

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Finnhorse belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List, says Jussi Lähde

From Jussi Lähde: Suomenhevonen kuuluisi UNESCON maailmanperintökohteiden listalle ( 5.4.2014)


Finnhorse is a part of Finnish culture and heritage. That alone makes it worth preserving.Photo: Smerikal, CC by S-A 2.0

Jussi Lähde, the editor in chief for Finnish Hevosurheilu and Hippos papers, gave a touching speech about finnhorse and its effect on the Finnish society at Hevoset 2014 event in Tampere.

Briefly translated, his main message was that finnhorse is a significant part of our culture and worth preserving.

“Finnhorse’s role in building the Finnish landscape and culture has been significant. The Finnhorse has been a work horse, trusted companion and for many Finns, a family member.
When compared to other horse breeds, it is internationally interesting and valued. Even though its origin is somewhat a mystery, it is one of the most studied and documented horse breeds in the world. Both Finland and finnhorse have much to give to the world.”

There are a few Finnish properties on the UNESCO world heritage list. The Old Church of Petäjävesi, the Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki, Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Old Rauma and Verla Groundwood And Board Mill in Jaala. We also share properties with Sweden in Kvarken Archipelago and Struve Geodetic Arc, which actually spreads over ten countries.

I’d say finnhorse would fit great on this list. How come we haven’t thought about this earlier?

Contact information for Jussi:

Jussi Lähde
+358-40-594 4444

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Would you like to be a (Finn)horse owner?

From Raviliiga 2014 tulee avaten mahdollisuuden myös suomenhevosille ( 26.2.2014)

Ostrobothnia will get at least one new Trot League team in 2014. Photo by Raviliiga

Trot League, or Raviliiga in Finnish, is a project that aims to provide positive, low-risk experiences of horse ownership. The idea comes from Sweden, where Rikstravet is already a thing. Finnish Raviliiga started in 2013 with eight teams and eight standardbred yearlings, each of which has 700 owners. In 2014 the amount of shares will be 800 per horse.

Soon these young horses (now 2-year-olds) will hopefully start their racing careers. The project goes on for three more years, and the winner of this competition will be the horse with most winnings. It’s not the main point, though. I’m sure that with 700 owners Pamina Hip, Grainfield Fanny, Golden Luxi, Stone Capes Olive, Oberon, Lady Adele, Sahara Crack It and Arctic Madonna won’t be short of apples, carrots or admiring looks for a few years. ;)

One share of a horse for three years costs 100 €,  with no additional cost whatsoever. You could say this must be the easiest and also a very cheap way to own a horse! The horses live and train in professional trainers’ stables, so ownership doesn’t require any experience about horses. People have a great opportunity to get to know people and structures behind horse racing as a horse owner.

The League started off so well, that the project received an award for its success. It has introduced hundreds of new people to horses. In my opinion this is the way to market horse racing -through horses themselves, not betting or other trivia.

2014 – Finnhorses step in

The project has received quite much feedback, mostly positive and excited. But what seemed to trouble people the most was the fact that there weren’t any finnhorses in the league. In 2014 the new teams have a chance to choose between a finnhorse and a standardbred -both breeds get their own leagues.

Each team chooses a professional horse trainer, and trainers get to choose the horses. The standardbreds are bought as yearlings and finnhorses as 2,5-year-olds.

The participating race tracks will announce their choices (finnhorse or standardbred league) soon. I have to say, I’m excited!

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The Mythical Origin Of The Finnish Horse

Source: Suomenusko (native Finnish religion) Facebook page, posted 6.9.2013


Photo by Sini Merikallio

In Finland horses have assisted people in their work and in war probably since the Stone Age. The early presence of domesticated horses is evident from the fact that the word for a horse (hevonen) is known in all Baltic-Finnish languages. In addition, the words for ‘steed’ and ‘riding’ also have the similar origins in these languages.

The prehistoric horses around the Baltic Sea region belonged to the same Northern European common breed. Modern Finnhorses descend from this same breed. Horse-related objects as bridles have been found in Iron Age graves, which tells that horses were highly valued in the Iron Age society. Prominent men and women apparently had their horses buried with them.

In medieval Europe, Häme and Karelia regions for known for their horses and horsemen. Trade flourished around the Baltic Sea. In 1229 Pope Gregory IX complained in his letter that people of Vuojola (Gotland) dared to sell horses to the heathen Finns. Karelia, sometimes called Mare Karelia, provided horses for Hansa merchants who exported them to Central Europe along with other goods.

The head of the horse was made of stone, hooves out of rock and legs out of iron.

In Finnish mythology the horse has an iron origin. The first foal was said to have been forged in a smithy located in a sacred grove or inside the world mountain. The head of the horse was made of stone, hooves out of rock and legs out of iron. The back of the foal was forged from metal. As Väinämöinen rode the iron horse above the waters of primeval sea, a malicious stranger shot his horse, and the old tietäjä fell into the ocean.

Horses are also present in spells and incantations. Commonly spells were used to protect horses from hazards and to prevent them from escaping when horses were released to summer pastures. In some spells horse’s spirit is also called to banish malicious forces (kateet) or to assist the tietäjä in his work. Few spells that were used to stop wounds from bleeding call the mythical first foal (Hiiden varsa) to stop the blood flow.

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Photo shoot with the girls

We had a little photo shoot with Elyse and Peppi the other day 1) to follow how the filly grows, 2) to see how the horses change over the years and 3) train for the upcoming shows. These were taken in February 2014.


“Like this? Hind leg forward, front leg forward… Wait a sec…”


“Look at me, posing like the big horses!”


“I’m in shape. Round is a shape.”




Behind the scenes  ;)

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Finnhorses in Paris

From (20.2.) and Paris-Turf (23.2.2014)

Rapin Aatos was the best Finn by placing fourth in both races. For others it didn’t go so well this time, but nevertheless it must have been a great experience -once again. At least the Finns undoubtedly had the best cheering team. ;)

Photo gallery

Photos from Hippos photo bank. Click to see larger versions. :)

Results from Thursday 20th February

Cl. Cheval S/A Ferr. Dist. Réd. Km Temps total Driver Entraîneur Rapp. Ouv. Rapp.finalPMU Rapp.finalLETURF
3 Doktor Jaros NOR M7
Déferré pour la première fois des antérieurs
2100 1’24″7 2’57″90 G. Gudmestad G. Gudmestad 15.0 12.0 11,81
7 Juni Kongen SWE M6
Déferré pour la première fois des 4 pieds
2100 1’25″1 2’58″70 J.-O. Persson J.-O. Persson 14.0 9.0 9,18
1 Norheim Jaerv NOR M6 - 2100 1’25″3 2’59″10 T.-E. Solberg G. Svedrup 7.0 3.5 3,40
10 Rapin Aatos FIN M8
Déferré pour la première fois des 4 pieds
2100 1’25″6 2’59″70 M. Forss J. Miettinen 42.0 21.0 22,95
6 Halands Liz NOR F10 - 2100 1’25″7 2’59″90 J.-H. Undem P. Hvistendahl 25.0 38.0 34,17
2 Mofaksan SWE F8 - 2100 1’26″2 3’01″10 M. Olsson M. Olsson 32.0 33.0 36,12
12 Hiskin Muisto FIN M9 - 2100 1’27″8 3’04″40 H. Koivunen J. Miettinen 47.0 61.0 46,15
4 Krusen SWE M8 - 2100 M. Von Krusenstierna M. Von Krusenstierna 3.8 5.5 6,80
5 Suikun Rilla FIN M10
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100     J.-M. Bazire H. Sulku 6.5 11.0 12,49
2e dai
8 Närby Kalabalik SWE H7
Déferré pour la première fois des 4 pieds
2100 E. Raffin J.-O. Persson 5.3 8.8 7,14
9 Jaervso Ole NOR M7 - 2100 F. Nivard O. Tjomsland 6.5 5.5 5,18
11 Metkutus FIN M10
Déferré pour la première fois des 4 pieds
2100     J.-M. Paavola J.-M. Paavola 21.0 32.0 45,05

Results Sunday 23rd February

Cl. Cheval S/A Ferr. Dist. Réd. Km Temps total Driver Entraîneur Rapp. Ouv. Rapp.finalPMU Rapp.finalLETURF
7 Doktor Jaros NOR M7
Déferré des antérieurs
2100 1’24″3 2’57″06 E. Raffin G. Gudmestad 3.0 3.0 3,06
6 Juni Kongen SWE M6
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100 1’24″6 2’57″59 F. Nivard J.-O. Persson 5.0 6.5 6,29
8 Halands Liz NOR F10 - 2100 1’24″8 2’58″15 J.-H. Undem P. Hvistendahl 61.0 62.0 87,46
11 Rapin Aatos FIN M8
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100 1’24″9 2’58″29 H. Koivunen J. Miettinen 28.0 26.0 33,40
5 Norheim Jaerv NOR M6 - 2100 1’25” 2’58″49 T.-E. Solberg G. Svedrup 9.0 9.0 7,90
9 Närby Kalabalik SWE H7
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100 1’25″3 2’59″10 J.-O. Persson J.-O. Persson 12.0 6.3 9,43
4 Jaervso Ole NOR M7 - 2100 1’25″5 2’59″51 O. Tjomsland O. Tjomsland 7.8 8.0 9,94
10 Hiskin Muisto FIN M9 - 2100 1’27″5 3’03″73 J. Miettinen J. Miettinen 59.0 70.0 166
1 Mofaksan SWE F8
Déferré pour la première fois des 4 pieds
2100 M. Olsson M. Olsson 29.0 30.0 10,11
2 Suikun Rilla FIN M10
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100     H. Sulku H. Sulku 59.0 62.0 115
3 Krusen SWE M8 - 2100 M. Von Krusenstierna M. Von Krusenstierna 7.3 8.0 7,65
12 Metkutus FIN M10
Déferré des 4 pieds
2100     J.-M. Bazire J.-M. Paavola 12.0 14.0 11,64

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