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Torppi Stables – Torpin talli
It was with the horses of Torpin talli (Torppi stables) in Pukkila when we realized what kind of riders we really are. We found the place on the web while searching for stables that would take even beginners for a ride outside the arena, and started going there in August 2010, soon after the Husö riding camp. Since then Torpin Talli has been one of our favourite places with their bunch of Icelandic horses, who, despite being pony size, are strong, fast and eager to go, but also good-natured, obedient, safe and reliable on any kind of terrain, any type of weather and climate – in other words, real ‘professional’ trekkers (by today I have ridden with most of them, so I should know what I am talking about). The trails go through beautiful countryside scenery, fields, track roads, forest paths, and all along the journey the two guides monitor the group in order to give useful tips such as how to ride tolt, one of the extra paces for which Icelandic horses are famous.
Driving to Torppi from our home takes one hour, which is not too bad at all, especially if after that you can spend 3 – 3,5 hours on horseback outdoors, split by a 1–1,5 hour break by an open fire, grilling sausages, drinking coffee, eating sandwiches and chatting with people who are equally keen on riding and horses as yourself. As it was too expensive to make the trip and the ride every week – not to mention the obvious fact that there wasn’t always space for us – we searched and found some Icelandic horse stables nearer our home, too, which would take us on 2-3 hour rides maximum.
One of them, a small sympathetic stable of less than ten horses when we first started there, is called Vantaan Islanninhevostalli Fagur, and is situated very near our home. At first, during the winter the treks used to take off from an idyllic old rural village called Voutila in the Vantaa river valley, and during the summer just a stone throw further from Seutula, where the horses graze during the warm seasons. Out of all the stables we have been to, Fagur was the most urban while situated in a quite densely populated neighborhood with riding routes running across and along main roads as well as public pathways that take you past housing areas, through parks, over bridges and even round a reservoir, making the rides all the more exciting and fun. There is a video in YouTube where you can watch us galloping on a field near Voutila, and another video of a gallop along the River Vantaa.
Since autumn 2011 Fagur shifted most of its riding activities to the new stables built in Seutula, a relatively rural district of Vantaa with much more varied and peaceful horse trails than before. Although the number of horses has nearly doubled along with the new larger premises, Fagur has maintained its welcoming, sympathetic and relaxed small stable atmosphere.
Another stable we often visit is Minzu’s Stable (Minzun Issikkatalli) in Nurmijärvi, with about twenty horses. It’s only a generous half an hour drive from our home, easy to book, easy to find, and it comes with easy going, relaxed atmosphere and sweet, reliable horses in many different colors, shades and patterns, all Icelandic. The stable offers riding lessons, treks of 1-3 hours (or even more with a picnic lunch), and many kinds of recreational riding packages for private riders and businesses.
A fourth Icelandic horse stable we regularly visit, and which is situated near us (a half hour drive) in Espoo, is Fageräng Stable (Talli Fageräng). If you want the experience of riding without saddle and stirrups (even without the bit!) again and again, this is the place to go. The stable not only takes you to guided 1-2-hour treks, but also gives you the option of going independently with their horses for 1-2 hours, providing you have enough riding experience and already know the regular rideable routes of the area. And this is what we started to do there, sometimes taking also our daughter, son or my niece with us.
One of our all time favorite Icelandic horse stables is Toivonharju Riding Farm (Ratsutila Toivonharju, see also in Facebook), which is situated quite far from us in Mikkeli, but has never failed to offer us a beautiful, intensive riding experience worth all the three-hour drive each way and more. The treks Toivonharju offers span from two hours to three days, and we have had the chance to try all of them except the shortest ones. Here is a Youtube video of one of our first rides in Toivonharju.
The pack of Icelandic horses of Toivonharju consists of the most forward going, most professional, happiest, fittest and longest tolting horses I have met in Finland so far. All the riders are encouraged to try even the fastest gaits and, above all, to take the horse under their own control instead of just traveling in a horse train pulled by the leading horse and the guide. In effect, in Toivonharju I have done my most independent, fastest, longest and loveliest gallops and tolts in Finland, as well as waded in the river, walked through deep mud, dense bushes and broken terrain into magical green forests on horseback, and stopped for lunch breaks round the fire by glittering lakes and streaming rivers…
In spring 2013 I found Sólfari, a small stable run by one lady, Jaana Huttunen, located in rural Karjaa about one hour drive from where we live (see Sólfari on internet and Facebook). Besides a small herd of really cute, really well behaved, kind and happy horses, the farm is home for a flock of sheep kept for meat and wool, which may occasionally be bought. The area is well in the countryside offering great rides, ranging from two hours to three days, through beautiful farmland scenery and forests, along small track roads, reaching as far as the seaside Snappertuna.
As popularity of horse trekking, particularly with Icelandic horses, has recently boomed in Finland, we have been lucky to see some new Icelandic horse stables starting their operation. One of the new stables, King’s Garden (see Internet and Facebook), was founded by three women we knew previously because they had been guiding and teaching in other stables we have visited. Their stable is situated in Tukkila estate by Porvoonjoki river, where the treks take off towards the beautiful forests paths, fields and village roads surrounding it.
The facilities of King’s Garden are really good with spacious paddocks for the horses to relax, hang around together and move about, with good size arena and a luminous manege for riding lessons, and a round pen for training horses. On weekday evenings, King’s Garden offers riding lessons for all levels of riders in different ability groups. Horse treks of two to three hours are mainly organized during the weekends, but on request also daytime during the week, and the owners are also planning longer treks in future.
Although the people are super nice and there are also two charming donkeys and a cat living in the Tukkila estate, stealing hearts of the visitors, the best thing about King’s Garden are, of course, their horses. Despite all of them being relatively young, they are incredibly sweet, calm, well behaved, soft gaited and suited for almost any riders, i.e. perfect horses to make horse trekking as safe and enjoyable as it can be.
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