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Relaxing holiday on horseback

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From Elämys Ypäjällä vailla vertaa -Hevosvaelluksella rentoutuu ja aktivoituu (Iltalehti 17.6.2003)

“Great finnhorse and silent wilderness. That’s all you have to concentrate on a trail ride.

From wilderness to mansion milieu -variable views

As I drive away from the city heading to Ypäjä horse county, my stressed pulse goes down ten beats in a quarter. The final holiday pulse is reached when I see the white fences and tidy yard and the horses of the Equine College Ypäjä. There is so much horsemanship in the air, you could cut the air with a farrier’s knife.

The feeling gets even stronger when our group heads for a test ride around the stables with the finnhorses from trail stable. It’s important to know your horse before heading to a long trail. The first canter practice at the arena shows that these horses are not like the dull riding school horses I got used to back in the city, but the instructors assure me that horses calm down when we head to the trail routes.

Icelandic horse trails have become very popular in the past few years, you could even call it a hype. Those calm, fluffy, often pony-sized Icelandic horses are great for trail rides when the riders are beginners. They feel steady and safe for beginner riders and for advanced riders they are more of an opportunity to relax. For those who are looking for similar but a bit more challenging ride, a finnhorse is the best choice. The bigger, well-built horse itself gives an impression of going, not trying.

Big hooves make the landscape run past you, sometimes you need to wait for the brakes to be found in faster gaits. Each finnhorse has their own personal edge even though they are very calm coldbloods in general, which makes it interesting and could be the best part of the trail for a more experienced rider.

Talking about the different horse personalities was the spice of our trip. When the basics are taken care of, the personalities of the horses become only  a good thing. The trail route has been thought through, including small forest paths and wider roads for gallop stretches. Once we find our way to the halfway point at Perho farm, we let the horses to a paddock for a break and have a three-course meal ourselves.  In the afternoon we get going again. The sun is setting down already, but I only need to give some rein for my horse and he will take care of the details on the way. On horseback we get to see more wildlife than when walking ourselves, or at least so it seems when we spot two deers, birds and hares on our way. In my opinion the finnhorse is still the king of the forest, let the bears and elks say whatever they want.

After a few hours of riding we arrive in our accommodation for the night. Horses have their own small stable and a small paddock at the equine colleges cottage, the riders get to bathe in a sauna and enjoy a meal of traditional sauna-sausage and a full meal. We bring water to our horses from a forest pond. Next morning we continue our journey to have pancakes on an open fire -this feels like we are in one of Enid Blyton’s books, having a picnic every few hours!

A ride back wouldn’t go without a small rain falling over us, but at this point it felt only refreshing. As I look the relaxed people riding, I find it hard to believe that a few days ago some of us admitted they were a bit nervous. Now the sight of the equine college makes us feel sad, not relieved. We have three days, about a dozen ridden hours and 75 kilometers behind us.”

As experienced by Maria Sjövik

 

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