Troika Riding

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Fresh fallen snow, charming horses, and sleigh bells

приветствие from the frozen tundra! Yesterday I had the most amazing chance to get out to the Russian countryside and take a sleigh ride.

We traveled northwest from Moscow for about an hour and arrived at a fairly large farm. Immediately we spotted the horses in the yard, being run by adults and children of all ages. A friendly Bernese Mountain Dog trotted over to greet us and hens clucked underfoot.

Upon arrival, we were seated on benches of packed snow which were covered in thick blankets. Beyond a rickety barrier made of branches, a horse show was put on for our entertainment. Highlights included a horse jumping through a flaming hoop and a couple “dancing” on horseback. My animal rights heartstrings tugging at me, I accepted this as a cultural opportunity and enjoyed the beauty of the animals.

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Troika, a Russian style of sleigh riding, means ‘group of three’, and describes the number of horses harnessed to the sleigh

Soon after the show (which came replete with ear-piercing traditional music and an impromptu jig by a member of the audience), our sleighs arrived! The horse pictured in the middle (above) is a Clydesdale.

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Over the river and through the snow we went
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Our packed sleigh riding party with my friends Kyle and Sarah in the front with me
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The grey day provided the ultimate epic background to bring out hints of red in the horses’ manes as they raced through the deep snow

Despite being packed into the sleigh like sardines, we were plenty chilly after our ride, so we took shelter in a tin longhouse on site. A snack was already laid out for us, warming atop the crude antique stove.

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Blini! So timely as blini play a starring role in the upcoming Maslenitsa Festival which celebrates the sun’s return (blini = round like the sun). We drizzled these crepes with fresh sour cream, jam, and honey. Delish!
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Who doesn’t love dress up? Well, maybe this girl. But they gave us a chance to dress in traditional Russian costume and take photos with the troika sleigh.
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My friends Kyle and Shin were amicable participants and I played the willing group photographer
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The farm was a working one and we toured the facilities after eating. I fed the goats my apply core and we meet a goose along the way.

All in all, the trip was yet another once-in-a-lifetime deal here in Russia. I’ve ridden snowmobiles before but nothing compares to the tug of a horse-drawn sleigh as you make tracks across an open plain. It was magical.

Stay tuned this coming week for my school’s celebration of Maslenitsa, the pagan holiday turned cultural tradition which ushers in the coming spring. Cheers to that!

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3 thoughts on “Troika Riding

  1. Another incredible adventure! Beautiful photos, Meg. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey 🙂 PS – can I request a pet camel as a souvenir? XOXO

    Like

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