Royal Import (Royaleigh) started out with a good pedigree - English-bred gelding by European sire Royal Applause, foaled April 3, 2007 - but his love of racetracks was limited, only 43 starts and $134,680 in winnings. When Royal came to Thoroughbred Rehab Center, Jennifer Butler saw potential for a different kind of racing - Skijoring. An Idaho Flathead Valley native, Jennifer Butler was looking for a horse that could do well competing in this winter sport. Now the 10 Year-Old Thoroughbred has had a very successful novice season and looking forward to his next year as a Sport horse.

Derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning “ski driving,” skijoring is a winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding. The sport consists of a horse pulling a skier through an obstacle course, all while hitting jumps that range in size from three feet to nine feet high. Competitors are judged based on how long it takes for them to run the track, which stretches approximately 850 feet from start to finish.