The Reindeer Man
Steve Swinnerton, widely known across Europe as the Reindeer Man, has been training and breeding Reindeer for over 25 years.
His knowledge of Reindeer and Reindeer husbandry is unrivaled and he is contacted daily by vets, zoologists and farm owners across Europe for advice on Reindeer health and welfare.
Steve first imported Reindeer from their native Scandinavia in the 1980s. Despite concerns that Reindeer wouldn’t be able to cope with the warmer temperatures and different environment that we have in the UK, our Reindeer thrive and enjoy a very privileged life at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge.
From the outset Steve has worked extremely closely with the Sami, the cultural group indigenous to Scandinavia who manage Reindeer in the wild. He’s developed strong links with the Sami community and is now one of the very few non-Sami accepted by this culture and is even approached by them for Reindeer husbandry guidance.
In addition to importing Reindeer, Steve has established a successful breeding programme at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge, and every May we see a number of babies join our herd. Over the years he has also developed a training programme to teach our Reindeer how to pull traditional sleighs – something their ancestors have been doing in Scandinavia for thousands of years.
In addition to his work at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge Steve has also supplied, trained and handled Reindeer on television and film sets across the globe, from children’s programmes like Tractor Ted to large blockbusters such as Fred Claus.