Horses at the Winter Olympics? Almost As Exciting as the Half Pipe!

Skijoring, originally uploaded by Nationaal Archief

Back in 1928, horses brought some excitement to the Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Skijoring, or racing on skis while being pulled by horses was a demonstration sport that year. And it was pretty exciting!

Notice that the horses don’t have blinders on their bridles. The long lines of the horse in the foreground have some sort of a parachute-like web in the lines–does anyone know what that is? And wouldn’t it slow the horse down? Or spook him? (Or was that the point?)

The photo, which is dated 1930, is from the National Archives of The Netherlands; it is otherwise unidentified but may well have been taken at St Moritz, during the resort village’s famous winter festival, which still includes polo and show jumping in the snow.

It’s hard to imagine anything more exciting than the half pipe and that wild short-track speed skating, but any sort of horse racing brought in the crowds back then. Adding horses to the winter games must have seemed like a natural thing to do, and the crowd must have loved it.

British Columbia, meanwhile, has about 90,000 horses, mostly right there in the southern part of the province. I’m waiting to catch a glimpse of one–come on, NBC!




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