The Northern lights, Midnight sun, Kebnekaise mountain, Sami culture, reindeer sledding, the famous Ice hotel, dog sledding, snowmobiling….
Often referred to as Europe's last remaining wilderness, Swedish Lapland has a lot of exotic and exciting things to experience.
Your host couple Kerstin and Matti are Sami who cherish the nature and wildlife. They have a well-managed horse farm a few miles outside Kiruna with Icelandic horses, dogs, a couple of goats and a herd of reindeer staying out on the mountain.
In the winter, they also have up to fifty moose that jump into the paddocks and eat of the hay together with the horses.
This is a destination suitable to visit all year around. In the summer you get the opportunity to ride in an amazing area of pure remote wilderness. This is a real outdoor wilderness adventure with campfires, sleeping in Sami tents (Lavvu) and learning about the Sami nomadic culture. Enjoy total silence, the Midnight sun and freedom from all media noise.
During the winter when not flying around the country on sleds or snowmobiles, there is the wonderful peace and calm of riding in the wilderness covered in a blanket of snow. And a night at the world-famous Ice hotel is an experience you shouldn´t miss.
A holiday here will stay in your memory forever!
In winter: snowmobiling, skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, reindeer sledding.
In summer: fishing, hiking, biking.
Accommodation & Food
The horse farm
The horse farm is located 25 km outside Kiruna in the direction of Nikkaluokta with a fantastic view of the mountains and Kalix River, during the winter you see the northern light and during the summer the midnight sun.
A few miles west are Nikkaluokta and Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise.
If you want to live close to nature, have animals on the knot like moose and reindeer and experience the silence, this is the place for you.
The accommodation in the yard is in double room with shared shower / WC.
On some rides you live in a common mountain ridge and can swim in the river.
Ratekjokk is a small Sami village located on the south side of Kalix river, a bit below the tree line. You stay overnight there on the riding and snowmobile tours. Both Matti and Kerstin have their roots in Ratekjokk so this place is really “home” for them. They have a few houses there, a sauna right by a small river and the horses have lots of pasture there in the summertime. Matti’s family has lived and worked there in the roadless land, with water from the river but with luxury like electricity. You cross Kalix river to get there, by boat, snowmobile, skies or on horseback over the mountains.
Here you live in a multi-bedroom. There is electricity, sauna, river to swim in and outdoor toilet.
A Sami community (village) is not what we normally would call a village, but an economical and administrative community that care for the reindeer in the area of the Sami village. There are about fifty Sami communities in Sweden and the reindeer herding area covers around half of the area of Sweden. Just a small part of the Sami population are members of a Sami community. A lot of the Sami culture is carried by the reindeer and that’s why it is so important.
Leaváš and Girjas are Sami communities in the mountain area. Here the reindeer normally are in the west, close to the Norwegian border, in the summer and in the lower mountains during autumn and spring. In wintertime they are more east in the forest land.
Within the Sami culture, reindeer and moose meat is an important part of cooking, often smoked to last for a long time when you are out for several days in the mountains. Other local specialties in this area are river fish. Also, berries and herbs from the immediate area are important ingredients, such as cloudberries, blueberries, lingonberries, moose grass, etc. During the rides, hot food is cooked over open fire even at lunches. Which is both good and cozy.
Meals are served with lingonberry drink, coffee and tea.
If you want beer and wine you are free to bring it along yourself.
If you want a special diet such as vegetarian, lactose-free, gluten-free etc (remember to send it to email@example.com when booking).
The Icelandic horse
Characteristic of the breed are individuals who are brave, strong, persistent, intelligent, curious and calm. Today you use the horses very widely in everything from tour riding in light or difficult terrain, to take part in gait competition or more speedy events. Several individuals can develop a good jumping technique and can be educated in classical dressage. But most common is to have the horse as a family member and a riding horse for the whole family. Most Icelandic horses can adapt to the rider and therefore the youngest person in a family can have equally fun with one horse as an adult. You often hear that a horse with lots of will and strong character can be complicated for the most experienced rider but still calm and obedient with a child on its back.
What makes the Icelandic horse extra interesting is the four or five gaits. Apart from walk, trot, and canter most individuals have tölt and some pace. You separate the horses in four-gaited or five-gaited horses consider if they have the pace or not. The gait tölt is the Icelandic horse’s specialty. It is a soft and smooth gait which most riders prefer. It’s possible to ride the tölt in different speed, from slow collected tölt to a speed where they can keep up with canter. A good tölt horse has an even beat, is smooth with high front legs movement, and can carry itself with proud radiance.
The individuals who have the pace and are five-gaited have “the fifth gear”, a two beated gait with a flying moment where the same side front and hind legs move simultaneously. Flying pace is very fast and speed-pass is used as a race on shorter stretches of 100-250m. You can also compete in show pace.
Since the breed has its origin on Iceland it has had to adapt to living outdoors in a cold climate and with the limitation of feeding much of the year, it is somewhat more resistant to weather than other breeds. Even the thick coat helps to isolate the body from chilly winds and rain. In Sweden, the Icelandic horses live both outdoors all the time and in stables, the way that suits for every individual and its owner.
The official breeding goal for Icelandic horses is to breed a healthy, fertile and durable riding horse, who is sturdy but still elegant. A multi-purpose horse with five gaits. The size of the Icelandic horse can vary. A wrong belief is that the horses are much smaller than they actually are. The average size of the horses that are shown is around 140 cm, and a height between 130-150 cm is most common. The colors of the breed are the most varied in the world with 40 colors and up to 100 varieties. The most common colors are chestnut and black, and the rarest color is true roan.
On the farm there are around 30 horses. Most of them imported from Iceland. There are horses suitable both for beginners and advanced riders.
Max weight for riders: 90 kilos
Minimum age: 12 years
Ability description: Trail Ride level 2-3
Included in the price: 3-6 nights (see each program), ridning, fullboard, transfer
Not included: Other activities, alcoholic drinks (you can bring your own).
Travel: Fly or train to Kiruna. You can find time table at www.sj.se +46 771 75 75 7.
Transfer: Transfer from Kiruna is included.
Arrival: During afternoon on all trails except on Feel Well.. when latest arrival is at 12.00. Departure after breakfast.
Season: Year around
Single room: There are no single rooms.
Age limit: Min. 12 year
Group size: Min. 3 max 10
Credit card: Yes
Tipping: Optional but appreciated
Wifi: Yes on the farm, but not in the mountains
Pool: No, but sauna on the farm and, Kalix river
Special diet: Inform when bookning.
Riding equipment to borrow: Riding helmets, rubber boots, rain clothes. In winter there are snow mobile overalls, mittens, socks, balaclava and snow mobile boots. Helmet for snow mobile is also available to borrow.