For those living in frosty places like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, or the American states of Montana and Colorado, ski joring is nothing new. But now, the exciting sport has finally reached Ukraine.
"No one did it before in Eastern Europe – neither Russia, nor Belarus. We were the first to do it in Ukraine. Perhaps, in time, we will develop it into an international competition," said Petro Konik, co-organizer of the Ukrainian Ski Joring Festival. "Maybe, we will go to America to compete with Montana riders."
Several teams of men and women competed on a custom-built, snow-covered track at the Hidropark recreational area in Kyiv. Each team consists of a horseback rider and a skier; together they navigate a series of jumps and obstacles, trying to cross the finish line with the best possible time.
A professional horse theater of stuntmen is where the idea was first born in Ukraine, several years ago.
"Back in the 90's, we had to organize a horse show. So, we decided to incorporate skiers who are skilled to ride behind horses. Therefore, today we decided to try something we’ve technically tried before, but in a more serious and professional way," explained Yevhen Andreyev, another organizer of the festival.
They hope the sport will gain popularity so they can form a larger group of ski joring enthusiasts, like those that exist in other countries. Scott Ping, President of the North American Ski Joring Association, explained what makes the sport so exciting.
"I love the sport because there are three different heartbeats: there is the horse’s heartbeat, there is the rider’s, and then the skier’s. And combining those elements in both skiing and horsemanship is really kind of cool. I really enjoy doing it and I’ve been doing this for about fifteen years," Scott said.
Are you dating a daring Ukrainian woman? Would you attempt ski joring? Check out these pics!
Source, Photos: Worldwide News Ukraine