Rough translation from Suomenhevoset nousukiidossa (Heidi/Satulahuone blog 15.9.2011)
Haavekuva has done a career of 45 starts in harness racing with record 1.28,2. After that he has redeemed himself in top-class dressage. He was inspected for R-studbook in 2005 with II-prize. Photo by Jasmina Sulkumäki
We have come a long way from those days, when finnhorses were looked down at. Today’s ridden finnhorse is rarely a good-for-nothing-ex-trotter, with zero actual gait. Besides breeding work, finnhorses have received professional riding and schooling – and look at that: the war horse has turned out to be pretty good riding horse as well.
Finnhorse is not for dogmatics
Finnhorse has become sort of an status symbol for a rider. If you own a finnhorse, you must be laid-back and down-to-earth person, regardless of the discipline you have chosen. Finnhorse brings the fans together -anyone can attend to a conversation about this years champions’ pedigrees.
There are multiple reasons for risen interest in finnhorses, but one of the biggest must be the fact that Hippos and other organisations want to support it. Even before the Millennium many professional riders saw a chance to earn the petrol money for driving home by attending to a finnhorse class.
Finnhorses have had their own classes in jumping, eventing and dressage. Even though the competing level has been quite low, pony- or young horse level, the prizes are often higher than in a regular warmblood class. So it has become a trend for even professional high-level riders to have a few finnhorse projects in their stables.
Nowadays finnhorses have received the same proper schooling as the warmbloods. Most of the top-class finnhorses have experienced, skillful riders on their back. Actually it feels like every national level rider should have a finnhorse in their stable nowadays.
There are pearls waiting to be found
Despite of the risen quality of finnhorses, their prices are still quite low. This is also one of the encouragements for a finnhorse buyer. Sometimes an ex-trotter can make a great career in riding, if it has good gaits and if the rider knows what to do on the saddle.
The biggest improvement has been the quality of riding. Owners have started to realise how important it is to have a proper schooling for their horse, and the fact it is not the same than just sitting into the saddle and starting to wonder “which way should we go at what pace and gait”. The performances got high up as the professionals got interested in finnhorses.
Finnhorses bring attendance records to riding stadiums
Making prizes bigger makes finnhorse classes more interesting to attend, and it is a known fact that finnhorse classes interest the audiences as well. The annual finnhorse riding championships weekend at Ypäjä is currently one of the most popular riding events in Finland.