Skijoring: The Equine Sport That Almost Made the Winter Olympics

by | 02.18.2014 | 6:53pm

The Winter Olympics are without an equestrian event these days, but a recent article by Slate magazine points out that there was one horse-related activity that almost made the cut.

Skijoring, the Nordic sport in which a skier is pulled over a cross country course by a horse under tack, began in the 1800s as a means of transportation for army dispatches and became popular among adrenaline junkies at the time. Competitive skijoring was included in the Nordic Games, a predecessor to the Winter Olympics. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, helped bring the sport in as an Olympic demonstration sport at the 1928 St. Mortiz Games.

Without the jumps and obstacles common in modern courses though, the sport didn't catch on and was quickly dropped from the Olympic scene. Skijoring is still popular in Scandinavia and Switzerland, and is catching on in some regions of North America, too.

Read more at Slate

  • Glimmerglass

    Well the National Steeplechase Association effectively has an off season so this could’ve fit into the schedule. I think Jonathan Sheppard could’ve put together a competitive string together! “Now Darren, it’s just like jumping a brush fence ….”

  • Memories of Puchi

    We used to do this a little differently in St. Lazare, Quebec! Two longe reins attached to a breast plate (instead of the single rope). For recreation we would plow an oval racetrack in the front field. When the snow banks got high enough, we could ski right along the barn roof and fly off the end of the barn. For the races, a dirt road would be closed to traffic and the snow surface be packed down (kind of like the ski slopes for the giant slalom and downhill events). We would race two ponies, or two horses, against each other.

  • betterthannothing

    Great fun! Thank you for posting that video.

  • Bellwether

    Funny Horse video is too much…

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