This Friday I’m featuring a great shot of reindeer racing taken by Katalin Waga from Our Life, Our Travel Blog.
Katalin is a Hungarian geographer who has been living in Finland for 5 years.
That’s where she met with her husband and started to study (and work with) forestry. She likes nature, travelling, hiking, swimming and keeps learning winter sports.
Photo Story: Reindeer Racing in Inari
I saw hundreds of reindeer during the five years while I have been living in Finland, but this was a special day as it was my first (and only) reindeer race I have ever seen.
Reindeers are an important part of the life in Finnish Lapland.
Traditionally Sámi people were herding reindeer, but currently, it is open for anyone who resides in Lapland.
Nowadays about 200.000 reindeer live almost totally free in the reindeer herding districts which covers a third of the country.
They are mainly kept for their meat, fur and touristic value, but also used for this traditional sport.
Finally, a small dream came true: I had the opportunity to watch a reindeer race!
Several smaller events are organized throughout the winters but we lived still over a thousand kilometre from them, so I had to wait patiently.
This race is the biggest and oldest one in Finland, and takes place on the – frozen – lake of Inari!
If you have seen horse races then the concept should be familiar. Usually 4 reindeer and their jokey race once at a time.
They are pulled after the animals on skis while motivating them to run faster.
Pretty exciting for someone like me who is from the south and hardly can imagine to ride and stay alive on skis while sliding with such a speed.
I have spent over 3 hours in the cold (-10°C) near the finish line to take pictures of the race. My friends asked if it had worth it. I just kept smiling.
Reindeer racing in Finland was arranged for the very first time in 1930’s, reindeer races are still held in different parts of the reindeer husbandry area in the spring, such as Inari, Salla and many other.
The season is finalized in the Reindeer Championships where the best of the best compete for the number one positions.
The most common form of reindeer racing places one lycra clad skier behind one reindeer with 2-6 human-reindeer pairs racing in any one race.
The reindeer are trained to run in a harness trailing a rope. The jockey holds onto the rope and tries not to fall and reach the finishing line first.
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