The height at the withers of a Finnish Horse is mere 150–160 cm, but she is an immensely strong horse. She is able to pull twice her own weight–a world record in the horse kingdom! The Finnhorse is also the fasted cold-blooded horse in the world. She has a friendly character, she is co-operative and humble, but does know her own worth.
Original breed adapted to the harsh north
The Finnhorse is original to Finland and adapted to the harsh northern climate. If it wasn’t for the Finnhorse, the people of Finland would probably have died of hunger or lost their land in war.
War and the Finnhorse
16 per cent of the Finnish population fought in the WWII as did 11 per cent of Finnish horses. Logistics was nearly completely on the backs of the Finnhorses. They pulled for example cannons through the endless wilderness where snow could pile up to reach the horse’s chest.
Finnhorse finds her way home
At the end of a working day, a lumberjack would just tell his horse: “Let’s go home”, and the horse would make sure that her sleeping master got home. The horses that went to war were more than enthusiastic about returning home. A mare by the name of Tähti (Star) ran away from the railway station and galloped 25km, straight back her home stable.
More common than a car
Until WWII, the Finnish horse was a common vehicle than a car. This horse would help to plough the fields, transport timber from the forests and take care of almost all short distance transport of goods everywhere in Finland.
Trump card in the wilderness war
Thanks to the Finnhorse the wilderness became Finland’s trump card: the difficult terrain was utilised in attacking the enemy upon the sides. The Finnhorse could move silently and tread through demanding terrain. Sometimes the horse would sense where the ammunition hit.
In the old days, a Finnhorse was a member of a small farming family. She was born in her home farm and was part of the family’s everyday life; celebrations, free time and children’s games. She helped in farming work, transported milk for sale, carried people to the fair and Sunday church.
Tough working horse
A Finnhorse can estimate the load and his own strength, and keep his balance when driven. He patiently watches as the carriage is loaded and only moves when the driver is on board.
In peace time the Finnhorse was the farmer’s best mate. In war, it was a soul doctor to whom the most hardened of soldiers could tell his worries. The soldiers would share their bread with the horses.
There are several memorials dedicated to the Finnish Horse. In Punkaharju, a statue called Ajomies (Driver) was erected to commemorate the man and his horse doing forestry work. In Seinäjoki, there is a bronze statue of the Finnish Horse called Sotahevonen (War Horse). The statue depicts the strains of war and the horse’s vigilance. A memorial in honour of the fallen war horses was unveiled in Myllykoski on September 5, 2014.