Being half Finnish and having the equine bug, I have become very interested in the horses that are popular in Scandinavia but particularly in Finland. The Finn Horse is a popular breed in the country and is used for both riding and draught work too. It is the only cold blood breed to be developed in Finland. The Finn Horse is sometimes known as the “Finnish Universal” as it is a brilliant horse for agricultural and forestry work, harness racing, and riding. In 2007, the breed was declared the official national horse breed of Finland.
The Finn Horse is claimed to be among the fastest and most versatile “coldblood” breeds in the world. The average height of a Finn Horse is 15.1 hands (61 inches, 155 cm), and the most typical colour is chestnut, often with white markings and a flaxen mane and tail. An official Finnhorse studbook was founded in 1907, producing purebred animals in significant numbers for many years.
Finn Horses are popular as recreational riding horses, and well-suited for use at riding schools, trekking and hacking. Of the ten horses currently employed by the mounted police of Helsinki, two are Finn Horses, though they are considered a bit small for the job! They are also competitive in many disciplines, and in the 1970s separate competition classes for Finn Horses were established at horse shows, which also helped to increase the popularity of the breed. While in eventing and horse racing, Finn Horses are too slow to compete directly against Thoroughbreds and the sport horse breeds, but they are a highly reliable mount for cross-country riding, particularly over difficult terrain and are ideal for endurance riding.
The Finn Horse is considered a reliable and fairly good jumper and is regularly seen in 130 centimetres (51 in) show jumping classes. Finn Horses have been quite successful at lower levels because they are clean and efficient jumpers, but their shorter stride at the canter and gallop keeps them from competing at more advanced levels.
In dressage, the Finn Horse is able to compete with warmbloods up to national levels, and at lower levels, it has the upper hand because it can easily perform the required movements, and has smoother gaits that allow for ease of riding. In 2010, a Finn Horse medaled in international para equestrian dressage competition. In higher level dressage, the breed however it is hindered by its less-flashy movement.
The Finn Horse is also well-suited to everyday riding, being calm and steady, hard-working, obedient, healthy and enduring. Many have also been trained for driving, and therefore are familiar with unusual noises and can be controlled from behind easily. All in all, they make a very hardy but versatile breed but not many are seen in the UK.
Upon researching into the Finn Horse, I came across a brilliant blog dedicated to the breed so please come and have a look at: