The Finnhorse is the only multipurpose horse breed in Finland. The earliest signs of this horse are dated back to the Bronze Age, and its known history is about a thousand years old. It has played an important part in all the events of the Finnish history, being used for various purposes in the army and as a workhorse, as well as a trotting and riding horse. Nowadays the main trend of using the Finnhorse is trotting. However, it is becoming more and more popular in other types of horse sports and hobbies, too.
The Finnhorse is about 156 cm high on the average and of a rather solid build. The most common colour is chestnut, and the hair is thick. It has a reliable and alert character.
The studbook for Finnhorses was founded in 1907. In 1971 it was divided into four breeding sections, which made it possible to specialize e.g. into breeding of trotters, riding horses and working horses, taking the use and the achievements of the horse as a basis. Nowadays there are about 19 000 Finnhorses, the most of which are trotters. The number of riding horses is about 2000, and the number of working horses about 1000.
The Finnhorse is not only the most many-sided horse breed in the world, but also one of the fastest coldblood breeds. The Finnish record 1.19,9a is held by the stallion Viesker.” – from Hippos.fi
THE FOUR BREEDING SECTIONS
Juoksija – Trotter
The first race horses were working horses which the farmers raced. The trotter section differented from the general studbook in 1965. Harness racing enthusiasm saved the finnhorse as machines started replacing horses in agriculture. Trotter is still the most popular breeding section, about 75% of the foals are born with hopes of trotting career.
Ratsu – Riding horse
The army needed light and fast riding horses besides the heavy draught horses. The R-studbook was created in 1971, and it’s growth has been slow but steady. Riding is now believed to do the same magic for finnhorse that harness racing did in the 1960s, “to save it”. A finnhorse may not show the boldest movement on the dressage arena or jump the highest fences, but on the other hand riding schools and pleasure riders have taken finnhorses to their liking due to their kind and steady nature and low rider-friendly gaits. Finnhorses have also redeemed themselves in riding arenas even in national level competitions and have sponsored classes of their own as well.
Työhevonen – Work horse
Nowadays the old draft lines are cut to narrow. The mechanization put draft horses out of work, but there still are people who like to use horses for agriculture or logging. The few horse timbers have found their place in national parks and other fragile environments. Modern work horse may even be a horse actor working in war re-enactment shows, theater or movies and carriage or sleigh rides.
Pienhevonen – Pony-sized horse
A finnhorse that is pony-sized, withers 148cm at highest. P-horses are most commonly used for riding or combined driving, though there are also a few successful trotters that are counted as P-horses. The P-studbook puts high value on horse’s kind character, keeping in mind that it should be suitable for junior riders as well.