Skijoring in Ottawa

Talk about horsepower! Speedboats don’t have anything on this adventure.


Hold your horses—*tightly.* Because at Pat Wolfe’s Horse Skijoring Clinic your Norwegian beauty will be going 12 miles an hour with (or without) you behind it.

Skijoring is typically done by hooking up a harness and a tow bar to a big dog and gliding behind it on a pair of skis similar to water skiing. The equestrian version of the sport started in Scandinavia as a faster way to travel long distances over snow.

“I use horses because I have two poodles,” cracks Wolfe who teaches a number of clinics from his Butternut farm, about an hour outside Ottawa, ON. As horseback riding is less popular in the winter, skijoring is a great exercise for horses and humans alike and there are competitions all across North America and Europe.

But it isn’t all horsing around. Wolfe says the tricky part isn’t the speed but holding on to the tow bar with one hand while steering with the other. For his clinics he usually hops on the horse to steer so beginners can just enjoy the ride.

Skiing behind a 1,000-pound Fjord horse who can make sudden stops and turns may not be everyone’s idea of fun so Wolfe also offers skijoring with ponies for children or those who want to start off slow. And for those chomping at the bit, Wolfe sometimes rigs up two horses for thrill seekers to ride behind.

Wolfe’s all-day skijoring clinics will be held on January 21 and February 18. Remember to bring your own riding helmet and skis (with boots) as they are not included in the $60 price but a hot, yummy lunch is.