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


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Celebration of (Finnish) mares and women

Happy International Day of Rural Women!

The International Day of Rural Women recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” (UN)

To celebrate this day, here are a few photos from the Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive, maintained by the National Defence University’s Production department. See more photos at http://sa-kuva.fi.

I searched for pictures of home front in 1939-1945, when women took care of the farms during the wars – and thanks to their hard work, ad the ever-so-humble Finnhorses by their side, Finnish people were able to survive through some very tough times. :)

AND, people still need food every day, so keep on going, rural women and men everywhere! :)

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

Nainen haravakonetta ajamassa

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

Nainen haravakonetta ajamassa

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

Photo: SA-kuva.fi

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Video: Uuras, the hard working horse (with English subtitles)

“A Finnish working horse in front of plow in the middle of Helsinki Town (geographical). A typical view here in the 19th Century.”

Video by TheRopotti


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Leonida won the work horse championship 2014

From Leonida pokkasi palkinnot Valtakunnallisessa työmestaruuskilpailussa (Hippos.fi)

leonida

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

Vikspertta pulling. Photo by Hippos/Eeva Karvonen

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Not just nostalgia

From Metsäsavotan paras työmies on jämäkkäjalkainen työhevonen (Yle.fi 30.1.2014)

Work horses are coming back in fashion. The Finnish work horse is endangered, riding and harness racing are still more popular sports with horses, but luckily there are more and more people who also take interest in this tradition and want to learn more.

Matti Pakarisella on tallissaan seitsemän työhevosta.
Photo: Yle / Susanna Vilpponen

Finnish work horses were  left unemployed and they practically disappeared after the mechanization of the Finnish society. Luckily now people seem to have found their way back to working with horses. The Finnish Work Horse Association organizes courses that introduce people to horses and traditional ways of working.

– People are interested in making their own firewood or other similar smaller tasks with horses as a hobby, says horseman Matti Pakarinen.

Pakarinen himself owns seven finnhorses. His stable is located in Rautalampi. He says that this hobby is not as popular as in our neighboring countries Sweden or Norway, but it’s growing. Working is good exercise for both the horse and his owner, and saves nature as well -a horse doesn’t leave any tracks in the forest.

There are only a few professional horse loggers left, and Matti admits that it’s a tough job to do for a living. Horses still have their place though, especially at environmentally sensitive areas, like national parks and cemeteries. Modern hydraulic equipment with four-wheel drive makes the work much easier, yet still demands a firm horse.

The horse is more than just a worker -it’s also a man’s best friend.

Video of a finnhorse in action (by Heikki Saukko)


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Christmas calendar day 9: Car Free Day

senaatintori

Photo by Satu Pitkänen / Rozpravka photography

Finn horses visited the Senate square in Helsinki. The church in the background is the Helsinki Cathedral.


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Christmas calendar day 6: War horse

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Photo by sgt Aunio/SA-kuva

Happy Finnish Independence day! This photo features a Finnish soldier fixing his horse’s tack, the photo was taken sometime between 1939-1945. See more photos at Finnish Wartime Photo Archive.

Today the Finnhorse association holds an online gathering on Facebook -last year we had a similar event and it got over 3000 “participants”, maybe this year even more? :) People add their independence day wishes, loads of photos of their finnhorses and touching stories of war horses on the event wall. Take a look.