Frank J. Buchman

Cowboy • Horseman • Writer

Skijoring Becomes Popular Sport For Skiers Pulled By Horses

Skijoring dates back hundreds of years but is relatively new in the states.

Combining skiing and rodeo events create a popular new pastime, according to residents of Leadville, Colorado.

Skijoring typically involves a competitor on skies trailing a horse, although dogs and even cars can be used in variations of the sport.

References date the beginning of skijoring to as far back as 13th century China. The Laplanders of Scandinavia adapted it as a way to travel in the snow and ice.

In 1901, the first skijoring competition took place in the Nordic Games. It’s first and last Olympic Winter Games appearance came 27 years later.

While much of the United States doesn’t meet the threshold of winter weather necessary to host such events, but Leadville, Colorado, has embraced it with open arms.

In the old mining town, residents head out to local streets that have been shut down to host some of the only skijoring events in the country.

A team made up of a horse, a rider, and a skier participates in circuit, relay, sprint, or freestyle jumping events along a course up to 1,000 feet long.

“You’re going about 40 miles an hour, the wind is just absolutely hitting your face, your face goes number,” said competitor Savannah McCarthy. “And then you get to the finish line, you hope your skier’s still there, and you do your best to stop your horse if you can.”


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