Three weeks after the Spring Show ended, and before we begin the count down to the Summer Show in June, I am finally recovered enough to submit my report. Fleygur Fans who follow me on Facebook, will have already seen some of the live posts from the show, and I have already boosted about the number of rosettes that Blondie and I brought home. Though it should be noted, for the record, that most of the rosettes are mine, and not Blondie’s.
We set off for sunny Dorset early, leaving Big Fat Cob and My Mare Gydja (and both riding hats!) behind in rainy Shropshire. It was a long trip, nearly five hours, and unfortunately Blondie has a habit of sitting on the rear bar, and rubbed a nasty hole in his tail. Being blond, it really showed up, but I tried not to tease him about it. He thinks a lot of his good looks, and was worried it might ruin his fancy dress costume, which the Woman had been preparing for weeks.
There were a few other horses there when we arrived, and the following day, after My Mate Roger and the Woman borrowed some riding hats, thirteen of us went for a ramble in the New Forest. It was very exciting with all the new horses to meet. Blondie was very very excited, and insisted on being at the front of the ride at the start, though he did settle eventually. The best bit was when we all got turned out in a a field full of lush grass, at the lunch time stop. We ran around a bit, working out who was boss of this new temporary herd, but in the end I found Blondie, and we stuck together, and got on with eating.
The next day, we had a long lazy morning, but gradually the field filled up with more and more small paddocks, with Icelandic horses in. Then came the fun part, the Spring Fling! First, the fancy dress, with the theme “Songs and Singers”. My Mate Roger had promised that our costume would be suitable for my celebrity status, and sure enough we entered as “Bat out of Hell” by Meat Loaf. Blondie and the Woman entered as “Angel” by the Eurythmics, the Woman having found a way to disguise the hole in Blondie’s tail, and he won a second place rosette. I got a third, but at the prize giving we were accused of trying to cheat, by eating the costume of the winner, who went as “A Needle in a Hay Stack”! We thought she had finished with it, that is all.
Some more fun classes followed, and My Mate Roger and I got more rosettes, for the Handy Pony, and the Beer Tolt.
The group ramble, and the Spring Fling classes were a great way to recover from the trip down and help us settle in, but the serious classes were due the next morning, and it began to dawn on My Mate Roger and the Woman, that some serious preparation was needed. We don’t have an oval track at home, or a school, or even a flat field to practice on, so we took the chance to practice on the oval track before the competition got going.
Then disaster struck, something that would threaten the whole Show. Months of preparation, and hard work was all at risk. Not to mention the potential waste of the beautiful weather. As the word spread across the Show ground, the humans gathered in small groups, talking quietly. The Show might have to be cancelled they said, and looked anxiously in the direction of the Oval Track. The wet, British weather, and burrowing bunnies had taken their toll on the surface, and part of the Oval Track had collapsed! Could it be fixed? How long would it take? Would it be safe? You can’t have an Icelandic Horse show without an Oval Track! All these silly pony games, dressing up and falling over (the Bendy Pole Race) is all very well, but at an Icelandic Horse Show you have to show off the gaits, and for that you need the proper amount of space, and a good surface.
Not to be deterred, ‘Nick the Viking’, and ‘Chairman Tim’ (see notes) worked until it grew too dark to see, digging out the damaged track, and as night fell, a gaping hole was all that remained of that part of the track. At first light a team of volunteers arrived to help, along with My Mate Roger, and the hole was filled, stamped down, tested, and left ready for inspection by the judges. The start of the show was delayed but, with a slight adjustment to part of one side, the track passed inspection! The Show was on.
The Show could now proceed. Blondie and I had been entered in a few classes, and they are explained in an earlier blog https://littlevikinghorse.com/2014/04/27/the-spring-show-approaches/. Here’s how we did.
Happy Hacker Tolt
Blondie and I both entered this. In the qualifier round, My Mate Roger qualified for the finals, but Blondie came seventh, which meant he just missed out. For his first time, it was not a bad score. He tolts slowly, and unlike me, he was not bothered when the other horses tolted past him; and everyone thought he looked cute. The following day, one of the finalists withdrew, which meant that Blondie got to have another go, and he managed to move up a place, winning a fifth place rosette, and I won a joint third.
Happy Hackers 4 Gait
Blondie didn’t enter this, because he mainly walks and tolts at the moment, and hasn’t yet worked on his trot. I found my trot last year, so I could have a go at this class this year. I did quite well, I even managed to canter on the right lead, trotted when I was asked to, and didn’t shout out once. We came Second in the qualifying round, and second overall in the finals the next day. I was a very Happy Hacker!
Happy Hackers Loose Rein Tolt
This is Blondie’s favourite, because he gets to show off how Icelandic horses can tolt on a loose rein. It means the horse really has to be able to carry itself well, and the communication between the horse and rider has to be good. They can not rely on the reins for control. This is why I can not do this class. For his first time, he did very well, and got good scores for the beat of his tolt. Not many entered this class, so to keep doing well, he now needs to learn to power more from his back legs, bringing them under him to push forward. That way he will be better collected at the front end, not stick his nose out so much and bring his back up, making himself stronger. I am an expert at this of course.
My final Class was T1 Tolt, and it didn’t go so well. My Mate Roger and I disagreed about the speed we should be going, and I wasn’t really listening to him. I think we were both a bit nervous, and as this was not a Happy Hackers class, it was a bit more physically demanding too. I was tired! My Mate Roger did not have a good feeling about this class before we entered, and he decided that we would not ride in the final the next day, even though we did qualify to do so. Enough is enough, and this class proved to be one to many. You have to know when it is time to stop. We had had a good show, and My Mate Roger was made up, when he found that our combined score from the Happy Hacker classes, made us the Happy Hacker Champions!
During the Show a few of my fans came to visit me, and admire the wonderful Icelandic Horses.
All in all it had been a good show, and after all the others had left, Blondie and I got a bigger paddock to rest in before the long trip home.
Notes: Nick has been known to ride with the Vikings of Middle England http://www.vikingsofmiddleengland.co.uk/, and Tim is the Chair of the Icelandic Horse Society of Great Britain http://ihsgb.co.uk/