Tourism in Ruka-Kuusamo area is based on the beautiful sights and the pure nature. Enhancing sustainable traveling is especially important for us. Sustainable Travel Finland is a program launched by Visit Finland, enabling us to make responsible actions and sustainable choices part of our everyday life in tourism.
Empowerment and presence with horses
Ruska Laukka's values are based on both animal and human well-being.
Ruska Laukka is a Finnhorse farm in Kuusamo which has operated as a family business led by Sanna Kallunki in an idyllic “grandma's”, at Ronivaara farm for fifteen years. The values of the farm are based on complete equality and everyone's right to be themselves. Both people and animals are treated as valuable beings.
In addition to traditional horseback riding hikes and lessons, farm visits and sleigh programs, as well as animal-assisted services are provided to support well-being. As a result of this long-term sustainable operation, Ruska Laukka was awarded the Sustainable Travel Finland label last autumn.
Animals in Ruska Laukka
There are twenty Finnhorses living in the farm. Finnhorse is the only original Finnish horse breed and is also the Finnish national horse. It is a humble, tenacious and co-operative breed and has been bred in Finland for over a hundred years. The sheep and chickens of the farm are also Native Breeds.
Horses come to Ruska Laukka as foals, where they are bred and trained gently and with respect. Horses live in field shelters, which means living outdoors all year round, in the horse’s natural environment, free in a herd like wild horses. Thick winter coat protects the animals from cold and living outdoors increases resistance and mental well-being.
When Sanna calls the horses behind the fence, the herd of Finnhorses gallops to greet.
There is no need to chase when the horses are doing well, Sanna says. – The horses have limited working hours, so they don't feel going to work as burden.
Well-being of animals and humans
Strong socially responsible thinking includes cultural, social and environmental sustainability. Both workers and animals get permanence to life, animals graze on traditional biotope meadows and motorized vehicles are avoided. The safety aspect, including psychological safety, is considered in all farm operations.
Sanna has studied social pedagogy and thus the animal-assisted and accessible activities are a integral part of the farm operations. Ruska Laukka's values are based on animal and human well-being. Wandering with horses in the beautiful nature is peaceful and relaxing. All guests are received unhurriedly as individuals.
Our experiences are therapeutic and empowering. After the trip with a horse the guest doesn't know what happened, the state of mind just got lighter, Sanna laughs.
Sustainability in Ruka-Kuusamo
Text: Salla Karhumaa
Photos: Ruska Laukka