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What on Earth Is Skijoring?

Skiing by itself is tough enough. Now imagine skiing while being hauled forward by a horse. They actually have a name for that. It's called skijoring, which translates to 'ski driving' in Norwegian, and it's a competitive winter sport. (You can learn more about equestrian skijoring in the video above, but there are other variations of the sport,ย in which dogs or jet skis do the pulling.)

"It sounds relatively easy, but when you are doing 40 mph behind a 1500 pound animal, it gets to be pretty exciting," says Darn Anderson, a skijorer from New Mexico. Anderson has been skiing since he was 2 years old and racing for over two decades. For him, skijoring is a rush unlike any other.

In this fun fast-paced sport, the rider, skier and horse essentially become one. The course itself is pretty flat, which is why the skier depends heavily on the horse to accelerate and pummel down an 800-foot obstacle-filled track. The objective is to make it over three jumps while collecting three sets of rings and trying not to fall or lose balance. In the end, the fastest time wins.

Unsurprisingly, this can be quite dangerous. "A lot can go wrong in 17 seconds," says Richard Weber III, a fourth-generation horse rider. "Skiers can crash and horses can crash and anything can happen."

But for the participants, the danger seems to be part of the appeal. Skijoring is terrifyingly unpredictable, and the thrill of that keeps people coming back for more.

Not quite your thing? We have 7 Winter Workouts to Switch Up Your Routine.


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