November 29, 2015

Skijoring, Our New Winter Sport?

Hubs just isn't a horse person. I get it. After ten years I've come to accept that that is the way it will always be.


He loves skiing. He is crazy talented, as in skis backward through the trees to keep himself entertained while skiing with me. I am not talented at skiing.

Random Photo off Pinterest..sorry for lack of credit.

The other day I mentioned that I thought Gentry would be a good skijoring horse. Hubs, who usually tunes out my horse banter, was apparently listening and actually sounded like he might be somewhat interested in participating in such an activity. I have always been interested in skijoring, from the riding standpoint, ever since my college days, when nearby Hampshire College held a skijoring competition. Hampsire has the reputation for being the artsy alternative college. They always did fun an Easter Keg Hunt. That was a very long time ago. I am now old and so is my liver. You probably aren't, and will now start planning your own Easter Keg Hunt. Enjoy!

Anyhow, skijoring is actually a pretty popular activity in our area. We even have a skijoring club, the Gallatin Valley Skijoring Association. I've also discovered that it is more than just a random snow country horse activity, but an actual organized sport with rules and competitions on a national level; behold Skijor America.

Skijoring has become a legitimate thing. Given that my lack of indoor arena, an outdoor that is covered in snow, and roads that are equally snowy causing any desire I might have to haul to an indoor to evaporate, has resulted in my winter riding consisting of the occasional weekend trail ride if the weather is nice enough, I might as well consider a new wintertime horse "sport". Clearly dressag-ing in the winter is not happening these days.

This is how it has looked outside non-stop since Nov. 4th.
Winter arrived with a fury and hasn't stopped.

With a little research from the above links, Pat's article over at Pat Wolfe Fjords, and Lida Pinkham's video on youtube, I have figured out how to safely give this a go with my existing dressage tack. The only things I need are a breastplate and a couple ropes. That means I get to tack shop on Cyber Monday...or today!

Given that Gentry has never pulled anything before, I think I will need to start him off with pulling a tire first. I also plan on riding him rather than driving him. I don't know how to drive a horse, or even long line, so I will need to cross that bridge with him before I attempt to skijor and drive myself...but it looks wicked fun and I want to try it. For now, I plan on just getting him to the point where we can pull Hubs around the field or down our road. So, this is my winter training project for this year. Fingers crossed this all goes well! Who knows, maybe next year we'll enter a skijor competition?

Anyone have a good five-point breastplate recommendation?



  1. I've successfully skijored with a regular endurance breastplate. I put the tow rope (kind you use behind a boat with handle) around my saddle from front to back (letting it settle in thr gullet) have sheepskin cover for my saddle that I then put over all of this and it doesn't bother me when I'm in the saddle. My horses jumped right into pulling people without inanimate objects. It worked just fine as the people can just let go of the rope as we introduced them to it all. Never had a single problem!! Make WIDE turns and do most of it at the canter. Also helps if the skier gives a few skating steps to help get moving so the horse isn't so startled. :-) Have a blast and share some photos.

    1. Thanks for the tips, this is so helpful! We water-ski, so we have plenty of ski ropes laying around dormant in the winter. So, that should work for the rope aspect of things, and I went ahead and ordered a fleece lined endurance breastplate. It should be here on Friday. Then the fun begins!

  2. omg this sounds awesome - i hope Gentry loves it!

  3. YESSS. OMG this is going to be amazing. Make sure to get pictures and/or video!!

  4. I really love the Nunn Finer 5 Way Breastplate, although they're a bit on the spendy side. The good thing is that after the initial start, there really isn't that much pull on the saddle from the skier and rope.

    Glad to hear that you're jumping into the wild world of skijoring and we would love to see you at the Bozeman Event this January!



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