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Instead of meeting the usual tihane (chickadee), interesting tõug (breed) of dog, or other friendly suusataja (skier) while out on the trail, I was lapped (mercilessly) today by not one, but kaks hobust. Photo: Riina Kindlam


With 30 cm of snow on the ground in Tallinn as of 7. veebruar, but a period of slight thaw in the forecast (to a couple of degrees above freezing, nothing like the extremes Washington, DC, experienced in the past week), it was a now or never moment that makes you grab your suusad (skis) and head down to the nearest woods, which in the case of yours truly is Meri/metsa ("Sea Forest"), the mets by the meri (Kopli Bay) in Põhja-Tallinn


It being a "freelancer day", I was able to ski before writing. My prioriteedid are paigas (straight). And good thing I didn't get to writing earlier, or I might not have witnessed and thereby been able to share what I now am able.


It was not a viirastus (phantom) or hallutsinatsioon, the flash of dark brown between the trees and unfamiliar clanking sounds in the otherwise quiet tuuletu (windless) landscape. I was on the multi-use path, where the joy of a set track for skiing exists if many people have skied there before you. However this rada (trail) is good if you like to alternate between uisu/tehnika (skate or freestyle skiing) and klassika, and if you want to train alongside hobused, it turns out.


I have often seen kabja/jäljed (hoof marks) on Stroomi rand (beach) and välja/heide (manure) on the paths, knowing that those responsible hail from the hipodroom (racetrack) or Veski/metsa ratsa/-keskus (riding centre) on either side of the forest. But I'd never trained on the same trail, side by side with such kaunitarid (beauties). "Nad möödusid minust nagu  postist." They passed me as if I was a post (i.e. immobile). "They" were a traavel (trotter) and his/her sõitja (driver), sitting pretty in a võistlus/käru or  kaarik (sulky), accompanied by a ratsanik (rider on horseback). Turns out there are traavi/võistlused (harness races, as opposed to tõu/hobuste võidu/jooks – thoroughbred flat racing) this Saturday at Tallinna hipodroom (


No kabja/klõbin, clip-clopping of hooves, just lume/lõhn, the smell of snow, which was already beginning to stick to the bottom of my skis as I stopped to let the suksud pass. Virgutav, exhilarating, regardless of being lapped (et jäin mitme ringiga maha). 


Riina Kindlam,



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