I met Annukka online at Haynet, the social network for equine bloggers. She told that she had moved to UK from Finland and brought her finnhorse with her. Annukka was kind enough to write a guest post and share their story with us. :)
Two years ago my family moved to UK. That family includes two horses and it was not an option to leave them behind.
Just before we found out that we are moving here I bought a Finnish Horse called Sarasteen Simeon. His nickname is Simppa and he is now five years old.
When I considered the breed I was going to buy I had couple of options but I knew I would need a cold blood. They can be outside 24/7 and they are so easy to look after. In the end I chose Finnish Horse as I have always thought we should need to support more this rare breed so that it would not disappear. My father was always telling stories how Finn Horses were helping with the farm work as he was a child. They were always very loyal, hardworking and the gentlest horses he knew.
We always had horses and I have had my own Shetland pony since I was ten years old. I was so sure that even though I buy a youngster he will be my best friend for life like my Shetland. That belief vanished quite quickly. I didn’t have a clue what to do with a youngster. Luckily since the beginning I have found the best people to help and support us.
Since the beginning everyone told me that I have found a horse with whom I have the best chances to succeed. They were so right. Even though I didn’t really know how to train him and how to be a good leader for him he still was kind to me and did everything I asked from him. It has been nice to grow together and as I have gained more experience I´m like a part of our small herd now.
In UK I found classical riding teacher who was also very good at ground work. She introduced me to Parelli Natural Horsemanship. I knew about it already but never really had the time to look into it.
I didn’t go very far within the program as I felt something was missing. It’s a good program but nowadays I follow several horsemen and take from them what I think are the most useful parts and mix them together. Mostly I have been concentrating on our ground skills but I have also tried to improve my riding.
I’m going to see Monty Roberts in a few weeks. I haven’t ever seen his clinics. There is so much mixed opinions about his work that I thought it´s better to go and see it myself. I´m very excited what I will learn from him.
In Finland it seems that horsemanship knowledge is disappearing and only few people can help if you have problems with your horse. Here it is not a problem to find help but you have to be very careful to whom you turn to. It´s good to follow they work closely so that you know that you like the way they handle horses and how they teach.
I have to admit that in the beginning I really had my doubts if I had bought the right horse. I felt I didn’t connect with him and I didn’t know how to help a young horse. I didn’t even realize how nice horse I actually have. The more I learned the more he opened my eyes to look at him differently. He seems to be very dominant horse but partly because he is young and doesn´t really know enough about life. After bringing him over to UK he was a bit unconfident but he hasn’t travelled a lot and everything was new to him. I think both my horses got used to UK very quickly. At least I didn’t notice any problems. They were happily grazing on the pasture since the arrival.
I think that life will not be boring with Simppa. We have so much to learn from each other and life. But life will be a lot easier than I thought. Almost all of our problems I have created with my inexperience. I have now learned that he has a huge play drive, he learns very quickly and always wants to please. As he learns quickly he also gets easily bored and finds something else to do. I used to confuse that to naughtiness. He is not the easiest horse for me as he is young but his heart is pure gold. I haven´t earned his heart yet but I´m sure he will be the best horse I will ever have.
In our new home country our Finn Horse has got some mixed comments. Some people love him right away and his huge head gets lots of attention. That is only sign to notice that he is actually a draft horse. It’s quite difficult to say what people think of him. Some people are interested and want to know more about our breed but some look at his direction maybe once and return to their warmbloods. But that is something you’ll find also in Finland. Many people have noticed that he is very laid-back horse even though he is very young.
I believe his size, stamina, characteristics and versatility for use might be something of interest to people here. Finn Horse is after all able to pull as much as 110 percent of their own body weight and can carry even very big men on their backs even though they are quite small horses.
I don’t know yet what we are going to do in future. If it’s dressage, TREC or if we are just one of the happy hackers I once participated onto clinic where one of the instructors told us who were there with young horses “Don’t give them their last names yet.” And he was right. We will figure it out, we have time.