Another country and another place to ride that I found thanks to my Instagram friends.
Janika Viihde, horse enthusiast, TV presenter and a model from Helsnki, advised that if we wanted to ride real Finn horses, we needed to go to Maastotalli Prerya, which is located about 50 km west of Helsinki.
I didn’t really think that it was possible to find a better place for my ride #34. Maastotalli Prerya has been owned by Marjo Norbacka for over 10 years. The place not only serves as livery facilities for privately owned horses, but also as stables, where Marjo runs her Finnish horse breeding program.
The majority of the horses on the farm are related to each other in one way or another. For example, my mount, nine-year-old Bono, named after the U2 lead singer :-), is the half-brother of Aurora, who was ridden by Katya. Their mother also still lives on the farm; Marjo’s 18-year- old mare is the mother of this five-year- old stallion.
As you can imagine, the genealogical tree of the Maastotalli Prerya herd is quite ramified.
Brushing the horses was easy and almost unnecessary, as with the temperature slightly below zero, they didn’t have a chance to get really muddy.
However, saddling was challenging—given a chance to not work for a few weeks, the ponies had stored enough fat and grown enough fur to make our attempts to buckle the girths almost impossible, even on the last hole.
Struggling with the saddle had its advantages; I finally stopped shivering and felt warm enough to take off my coat.
When all three horses were ready, we rode into the forest. For the first time in two days, we had some glimpses of the meager sun, giving us hope of taking some good pictures.
Finland’s nature was even more striking than we expected.
Barely half a kilometer away from the stable, we met a pair of wild deer. Well, we as humans would have certainly missed them, if it had not been for our horses. Katya’s Aurora stiffened and pointed her ears to the left, looking in the direction her ears were pointed we saw the deer.
It felt a bit unsettling to know that our human senses are so weak that an animal as big as a deer can pass by unnoticed 8-O. Later, Marjo told us that it’s not unusual to meet lynxes and moose in that forest.
The Finn horses were amazing. Nothing could stop or spook them. Aurora and Bono walked at the same tempo and speed on the roads covered with a thin layer of ice and over the logs blocking the narrow forest paths. Their broad, fluffy backs felt like comfortable sofas, be it walk, trot, or canter.
Marion explained their calmness, balance, and friendly behavior with the fact that all of them were born and raised on the farm and had never experienced ill will, so they simply don’t have a reason to be scared or mean.
On the way back, I thought that I would love to experience this place in different seasons, as I’m sure that it looks different every month, though always breathtakingly beautiful.
Maastotalli Prerya facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Maastotalli-Prerya-139840532761028/?fref=ts
Maastotalli Prerya site: https://maastotalliprerya.wordpress.com/in-english/