Kulig (sleigh rides) is an old Polish winter tradition dating back to the days of the szlachta (nobility).
The kulig was a sleigh ride party organized among the Polish aristocracy. A cavalcade of horse-pulled sleighs and sleds went from one manor house to another, entertained everywhere with hearty meals followed by dancing.
Nowadays Kulig rides are a popular tourist attraction in the Polish Tatra mountains, advertised and practiced in places such as Zakopane. However, this practice is often borderline illegal and dangerous for passengers and horses alike. Since they provide significant profits Kulig rides are organized no matter what the weather conditions and even out of season. Horses are forced to pull overloaded sleighs - it is not uncommon that the number of passengers exceeds the capacity of the sleigh itself. What is worse - sometimes sleighs are being pulled not on snow, but on mud, stone and even asphalt. There have been numerous reports of Kulig rides causing horses to die out of exhaustion or accidents due to bad terrain. It is not uncommon for the animals to be neglected and forced to work even when wounded or sick. People who organize Kulig rides for tourists would often take payment in cash and issue no bill or invoice evading taxation.