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Makes Superior Horses

Pekka Korpi

My father Aku has taught me that it’s good to respect people’s opinions and thoughts, but you have to make your own decisions.

Run For Royalty and Pekka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Run For Royalty and Pekka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen

I’ve grown up with horses since I was a little boy, so I’ve learned how to work with them. You need to recognise the horses’ behaviours and act as a sort of psychologist for them. I’ve already owned several hundred horses in total ‒ at one point I trained 130 horses. At the moment I train about 60 horses.

I’ve driven easily over 30 000 race starts. Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone else in the world that has raced on so many racetracks as me. I always urge young drivers to travel the world as much as possible. Over the years, I’ve trained in all of Europe’s trotting countries as well as in New Zealand, Macao, USA and Canada.

Roughage is simply not enough for today’s racehorses; it needs to be reinforced with various supplements. The horse’s musculature and joints also need supplements

Over the years I’ve learned to know how to tell when there’s something wrong with the horse ‒ for example if they’re suffering from ailment or a nutrient deficiency. A horse needs to look good and feel healthy. Back in the day horses were fed with only oats. Nowadays it’s easier when complementary feeds provide all the necessary nutrients, that aids different ailments as well.

Pekka Korpi, close-up. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Pekka Korpi. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen

These Hoof stomach products Vizyme and Calphovit are really good! It’s important to take good care of the stomach and intestines, and it doesn’t take a lot of complementary feeds to work ‒ as long as you use the right product. We move around a lot with the horses, which can make them more stress sensitive. It’s great that Vizyme has helped for that as well ‒ the ingredients have a significant effect. Calphovit was especially for foals since it contains calcium, which is an important nutrition to take care of, especially when feeding foals.

Adding electrolytes in very important for horses during heavy training. We feed the electrolytes as a powder, but that’s just a matter of habit. Hoofs electrolytes must taste good, since some of our horses are usually very picky when it comes to new flavours.

Sometimes we give something ferrous. The musculature of a horse works the same way as humans. Many overtrain their horses, making them susceptible to stiffening. We feed a lot of complementary feeds especially for the muscles and joint problems.

This multivitamin Vimeperos, the one that also increases appetite, is also very effective. After one week of use, I could already see the difference on the horse’s coat. The horses seemed happier, had more energy and seemed more vital. A similar product on the market has a very strong smell ‒ apparently the smell of minerals comes through when the portion size is significantly higher. Vimeperos is easy to feed, since a small portion size is enough. It lasts for a long time and is very effective!

This Equi-Haemolytan in liquid form that improves performance has also tasted good. We feed all liquid and powdered supplements equally among the wet evening porridge.

We have been using Hoofs complementary feeds since 2020, and we can only recommend it! Our horses have been doing well lately, therefore I recommend Hoof!

Training and breeding have improved a lot in Finland over the years

Mares and foals need to be kept in really good conditions with proper feeding in order for them to develop properly. A horse person knows how much roughage is necessary and how to reinforce it with the right supplement, in order to see development. You also have to remember that the horse has to be strong already at the stage when training begins. The stable must also be kept very simple to serve everyone.

Horse breeds have changed a lot in a small amount pf time; speed and recovery have risen. It’s due to many different things, but above all it’s because of good breeding. Families have improved a lot since more is being invested in breeding. I always look up the foal’s family before I start considering a new foal.

Friendly Face has been one of the best horses I’ve been training. The horse has been one of the most successful trotting horses of all time, under Finnish ownership. The biggest winnings came from Italy and The Netherlands. Friendly Face was won a total of around 900 000€.

Magical Princess and Pekka Korpi at awards ceremony. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Magical Princess and Pekka Korpi at awards ceremony. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Pekka Korpi receives a trophy. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Pekka Korpi receives a trophy. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen

There’s many more, of course, like one exceptionally talented Mascate Match, that came from a good family. The horse had over 1000 co-owners. ’’Massi’’ hasn’t lost that many times, and has won over 700 000€ during his career. Massi has a good racing technique and a good structure.

Trotting winnings are higher in America and the Arab countries.

In the early 90s I instructed in North America and coached in Florida for 3,5 years. I probably would’ve stayed longer, but my children were so young at the time that I had to go back to Finland.

Horse racing is very different in the USA than in Europe. First of all, they race in miles, which makes the distance different from Europe. The foals are registered in trotting right when they are born, and then you start paying the participation fee. They can participate when they’re 2 years old. First you pay a small fee of around 100 dollars a month, which then grows slowly. The last payment is the largest. In total the cost participation fees are about 10 000 – 15 000 dollars (USD), but the fees vary a lot. Due to the high participation fees, winnings are higher in America.

The circulation of horses in the USA is fast, making the 2–3 year olds the most important. You race a far shorter time with a good racehorse there than you do in Europe. Especially good stallions are put into breeding after the 3-year period. Of course, there are also 4-5 year old horses along in the race.

The winnings are also higher in the Arab countries. They gallop without cartwheels. Gallop is also very popular in France and England. The time of raising a horse in the Arab countries also differs a lot from Finland, simply because it’s warm all year round. Horses can be outside all the time, while in Finland they need to be kept warm. There the horses get to live in a herd on hilly terrains, fighting and moving around a lot. That’s why the horses develop better and faster than in northern European countries.

Magical Princess and Pekka Korpi on the track. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen
Magical Process and Pekka Korpi on the track. Photographer: Iita-Maria Ahtiainen

I often quote Juhani Tammi's words: ”The winner never quits ‒ the quitter never wins.”

Pekka Korpi, Finnish trotting instructor and coach

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