One of the coolest (at the moment also literally as the temperature hit -40 degrees in some parts of the country last night) things we have in Finland is our nature. Almost 80 per cent of our land is forest. No wonder we get lots of tourists from around the world come and enjoy the fresh air and serenity. And if you really want to experience winter wonderland, you should head to Lapland.
We spent Christmas in Levi, one of the bigger towns in Finnish Lapland (still quite small). Christmas is a magical time up north with the snow, aurora borealis and polar night. And what better way of exploring the gorgeous nature than on a horse.
We went on a morning ride with Polar Lights Tours. With the polar night, we were off to the woods at nine in the morning in bright moonlight. Our trusted means of transportation were our very own special horses, called Finnish horses. Yes, we have a specific horse breed entirely developed in Finland. They are cool and collected, perfect as both working horses and for riding. And they don’t get cold even if the temperature hits -30. These friendly creatures were all lined up waiting for us to get up on the saddle.
I’ve only ridden for a little while as a kid. My hubby J has ridden once in his life, when we were in Australia and went on a 3-hour ride in the outback with the following instructions: pull on the right rein and the horse goes right, left and it goes left, pull on both of them and it stops and kick a little and it starts running. And off we went in the bush.
Still with as little experience as we had with horses, we were very happy and safe to go out for a walk with these guys as they are so gentle, strong and calm. A bit like many Finnish people
Snow, frost, polar night, silence, nature, moonlight and horses. The feeling was unreal.
Allow me to introduce Timppa. He is one of the eight Finnish horses at Polar Lights Tours. Timppa is incredibly friendly, cool and calm and carried me with a steady pace the whole way. We even met mr. Moose and Timppa didn’t mind, just flipped his ears a few times. We bonded immediately.
We had the nicest guide, Tanja. As we chatted along the way Tanja told us how they arrange full-day horseback riding excursions in the summertime and ride all the way to the top of the Levi fjell. That sounds like something we would love to do. Just need to take a few riding lessons before as it requires a bit more skill and balance. But one day for sure!
Ever since that riding trip in Australia we’ve had a dream of riding in Lapland. This was everything we had in mind and then some. You can imagine it was not difficult to get in the Christmas spirit as we trotted along the narrow paths, the horses snorting every now and then with the cool air, admiring the beautiful landscape. And the horses were happy they got to go on a more speedy trip after us with some more experienced riders.
I reckon this is what riding is all about, at its best: enjoying nature together with the animal with no fuss about haute école rules. This way each and every one of us is able to get beautiful moments and memories regardless of their previous experience with horses. How brilliant! Highly recommended.
What? Horseback riding at Polar Lights Tours in Levi, Lapland. Available in various shapes and sizes, meaning there are 1-hour trips and longer excursions, for beginners and more advanced riders.
Where? Muoniontie 955, Sirkka. 179 km north of the Arctic Circle. 11 km from the Levi ski resort.
How to get there? Fly to Kittilä, have a great holiday in Levi and Polar Lights Tours will organise you transportation to their property.
For who? Anyone appreciating nature and horses.
Questions? Or just want to say hello to me or Timppa? Drop us a line in the comment box below! Cheers!
In cooperation with Polar Lights Tours. Big thanks to Päivi and Tanja, we had a ball!