You can hardly get closer to nature than when you travel in the company of animals. The camaraderie, trust, admiration and respect you quickly feel for your draught animals is a rare experience that further enhances the pleasure and adventure in exploring the great, wild mountain expanses.
The Swedish mountains are made for traveling on horseback or behind teams of dogs or reindeer – wide open and not too steep. Additionally, there is a well built system of trails with mountain cabins and stations and many well-reputed organizers offering tours of differing length and character. You do not need any previous experience to operate your own dog or reindeer team, as experienced guides quickly teach you the basic tricks. Then it is simply a case of following the animals and allowing yourself to be transported as the Sami and other mountain dwellers have since time immemorial. Horseback tours are also organized in the Swedish mountains — as well as in other areas in the country — for both beginners and experienced riders.
Sweden’s largest sled dog company is based in Jukkasjärvi — a resort where the four-legged population is greater than the two-legged and where many excursions start out from the famous Icehotel. In most of the Swedish winter destinations, both long and short sled dog trips are available through forest terrain or up in the bare mountain regions. Certain winter destinations can even organize for you to be collected from the airport by a dog team! In bygone times the nomadic Sami moved around in reindeer drives.
The reindeer pulled the sleds with people and household goods over mountains and through woodlands. In winter you can join a Sami ancient drive by borrowing your own reindeer and sled and then simply joining the drive as it sets off. You travel along a rambling trail through the mystical winter wonderland. The destination is a camp where you will be treated to smoked reindeer meat and boiled coffee in a Sami tent. Organizers of reindeer drives can be found in most ski resorts, as well as the central resorts in Lapland.
Traditionally the enduring and good-natured Icelandic pony is a favorite among Swedish riding operators. Despite being really small, the Icelandic pony has the stamina to carry an adult rider with baggage. The length of the tours varies from half-day to weekly. You often ride between wilderness camps situated in areas of natural beauty close to streams and lakes that are full of game fish. Can you imagine a more tasty meal than a char caught with your own hands, grilled over the camp fire following a long day riding through the wilderness?