Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alternative Performance Events: Ski Joring

Photo from Butternut Farm

This winter sport is derived from a method of transportation, where someone would drive a reindeer, and glide along behind it on skis. This way, they could cover long distances quickly, and with a lower expenditure of energy.

The activity found its way to the rest of Europe sometime in the late 19th century. The first skijoring race in Switzerland was in 1906. That race in 1906 followed roads from one town to another, and racers started at one minute intervals, rather than racing directly against each other. Eventually, the sport was transferred to race courses, and the teams competed directly with each other.

When skijoring found its way to the United States in the mid 1950s, ranchers would attach a long rope to the horn of the saddle of a horse ridden at high speed, and race along long straights. Currently, sanctioned skijoring races in the United States take place in five states, and in these races, skiiers must negotiate jumps and other obstacles, sometimes spearing rings and going through gates.

What will I need for a skijoring set-up?
  • a moving pose horse (faster is probably better)
  • a doll
  • skis
  • saddle or harness
  • rope (with or without handle)
  • bridle with long reins
Where can I find out more?
North American Ski Joring Association
White Turf
Skijoring at

Check back next week for another alternative performance event!

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