Horseback Riding – A Unique Way of Exploring Lapland
Have you ever imagined of riding a horse through snow-covered forest? Finnish Lapland is there to surprise you by offering this imagination to come true.
In Finland, there are quite a few companies offering horseback riding in summer, but among that very few offer excursions during winter. When we were in Saariselka we stayed at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and came to know about Kamisak Farm near to the Kakslauttanen West Village from their reception. Kamisak Farm offers 2hours – 2days horseback riding trips year round and also runs husky trips from November to April. They have two farms, one located in south of Ivalo beside the road to Rovaniemi and the other is in Santa’s Resort at Kakslauttanen which usually runs winter trips.
We booked 2 hours horse back riding (€139 per person) and waited for the tour guide near the resort reception at 9am. The guide, Sanna was on time and took us in a van to the west village. There one more couple joined us and then we moved to the Kamisak Farm in Santa’s Resort at Kakslauttanen. Before visiting the farm, we had a thought that horses wouldn’t survive in such a tough land. But when we reached the farm it turns out to be wrong, we were surprised by seeing many Finnhorses grazing in the snow covered farm area.
Finland is home to its own breed of horses. Finnhorses are called as “cold-blooded” as they are muscular and heavy-set horses that are bred to be calm, steady and patient. Finnhorses typically have thick manes and tails, and the legs have light feathering. The common color of Finnhorses is chestnut and we could also see a white horse in the farm. From Sanna we came to know that the white horse believes herself as the queen and she never allow any other horses to take up her position. We loved Sanna and Milka who manages the farm, they were very helpful and friendly. They shared more information about Finnhorses and gave us necessary instructions before the ride. They have a good collection of boots, helmets, gloves, jackets and we picked them according to our sizes. After listening to the instructions from Sanna, we went to the stable where the horses are ready for the ride.
There were five horses for the four of us and Sanna. As we were first time trying a horse ride, Sanna offered Ella and Tara ❤️, the finnhorses for us. She told us that they are the easiest to handle and more obedient. I got Tara and Binil took Ella, Tara is a female horse and Ella is male. Tara is the tallest among their horses and she is very pretty. Ella is very handsome with a long thick beautiful tail. Both are well trained, calm and friendly. Sanna took the white horse as she is bit difficult to handle.
Leaving the stables in a line behind Sanna, we slowly started our journey to the wintery snow-covered landscapes. Initially I fell down as Tara got anxious as we were little bit away from Ella in front and she increased her speed. But it didn’t hurt me and it was fun to fall right into the thick-packed snow 😊. The moment I fell, Tara stopped and Milka helped me to get on Tara. By this time Ella became restless as he saw Tara being stopped and away from him. There we good see the true bonding between the horses ❤️. Binil was handling Ella, and they waited till we reached near them.
It was difficult to hold on to the reins with the thick gloves, we are not supposed to drop them as Sanna already gave instructions that by holding reins tightly we can make the horse listen to us. Our horses were well-behaved and were very happy to do whatever we asked them to do. We never got faster than a slow walk, but that was okay for us as we could admire the beauty of snowy landscapes without worrying about falling off.
The travel path was between pine trees in the dense forest and also we noticed frozen rivers and lakes. It was amazing to explore Lapland beauty on a horseback. Whenever our horse take a stop, we used to see pure white fluffy rabbits running out of the snow. We wonder how the horses were able to see the rabbits hiding inside the snow because we were able to spot them only when there is a movement while they run. In mid way, Sanna was sharing some information about the rivers and lakes nearby. Tara quite frequently turns her head back at me to ensure that I am comfortably enjoying the ride. Even though the horses were very tall, they couldn’t easily walk through the meter of snow built up next to the cleared path. After every walk through the terrain, we pampered our horses and used to motivate them by saying “good job”. Sanna suggested us to do so, as it will make the horses more energetic to face the next hurdles.
The horses took us into the heart of the Lapland forest and everything was a picturesque blend of snow. Everything appeared magical when covered in fresh sheet of snow ❄️ and the snow was sparkling when they were caught by sunlight.
After one and half hour ride we arrived back at the stable. We used time to capture pictures with our horses and thank them for the wonderful safari through the arctic jungle. Later Sanna and Milka welcomed us back with hot berry juices and biscuits.
Horseback riding is well worth a try, even without any previous experience. It is even suitable for children. It is unique way to explore the magical beauty of snowy Lapland. The steady feets take you to wonderful sceneries which you will definitely fall in love with 💙.