An Alberta woman is significantly raising the profile of a little-known winter sport called skijoring after a video she posted to Facebook a month ago has since become an internet sensation.
On Nov. 30, Patty Kramps — who lives north of Edmonton — posted a video to Facebook of her miniature horse named Tonka pulling her business partner — who was strapped into a pair of cross-country skis — through the snowy wilderness of Westlock County. On Wednesday, the video surpassed the two-million views mark.
“That kind of went a little wild,” Kramps said, adding,”they [miniature horses] can’t do it for real long but it’s a burst of fun.”
The video depicts the sport of skijoring. The word’s roots lay in a Norwegian term meaning “ski driving” and is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a winter sport in which a person wearing skis is drawn over snow or ice [as by a horse or vehicle].”
Watch below: On Feb. 10, 2017, Brendan Parker looked into skijoring, a sport few know of in Alberta and one designed for life’s adrenaline seekers.
“Being able to get out in the winter and have some fun with the horse,” Kramps said when asked what the sport’s appeal is.
“A friend/client that is now from southern Alberta, she skijored with her dogs,” Kramps said when asked how she first learned of the sport. “She said… ‘why don’t you guys give that a try?’”
Kramps, runs Patty’s Pony Place, which bills itself as “Alberta’s only designers and builders of custom vehicles for miniature horses.”
Kramps said her company also makes harnesses for skijoring and has a waiting list of people from around the world wanting them. The harnesses have the safety of both the skier and the horse in mind — it includes a quick release snap that lets go to separate the skier from the horse in the event of a crash.
Kelly Miller is the head horse trainer at Patty’s Pony Place. Wearing a pair of snowblade skis (they’re easier to control and stay further from the horse), he demonstrated how skijoring works.
“If you can downhill ski, you can skijore,” he said on Wednesday, adding people usually laugh at first when they’re told about the sport.
“Then they think about it and then they’re usually prompted to watch a video… and then most people want to try it,” he said. “Big horse people don’t take miniature horse people very seriously as a rule, but once they get trying this, they get a grin on their face, they can’t quit grinning.”
Kramps said she got Tonka, who has his own Facebook page, at a horse sale in 2010 and the two have been inseparable since.
“I was not going home without him. I just knew I had to bring him home.”
She said she also has a miniature horse named Tank.
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