The British Icelandic Horse Championships and Festival 2014

Many Fleygur Fans will remember the dramas of last years show – broken down Stable of Wheels, arriving a day late, My Mare Gydja not allowed on the show ground…. and, well, basically I did not perform at my best. So the stakes for this years show were high. My Mate Roger had a lot to prove, and my ever growing fan base had high expectations. I wasn’t worried. All year everyone has been telling me how awesome I am, what was there to worry about?

This year, My Mare Gydja got to stay at home, as the baby Blondie was to have his first Championship experience. We set off, with my newly finished logo on the the Stable on Wheels, stopping to feed the Landy on the way.

 

The newly painted logo was sure to get me spotted

The newly painted logo was sure to get me spotted

We arrived, without incident, and after settling in to our very small paddock, we had a look around, and a brief practice on the Oval Track. My Mate Roger was very pleased with me. Gradually the field filled up with small paddocks and lots of Icelandic horses, many of whom I recognised from the Spring Show, and last years Championships. There were some serious competition horses there and I was looking forward to catching up with Krafter, who has competed in the World Championships. I thought I might give him some tips.

Off to check out the facilities

Off to check out the facilities

 

Relaxing on the Pace track

Relaxing on the Pace track

There was a professional photographer at the event, and Blondie was absolutely sure he was there just to photograph him. I got really fed up of explaining to him that the competition was about how well he showed off his gaits, not how pretty he was.

Even one of the judges called him a ‘beauty queen’. Really, it doesn’t help, he is vain enough as it is. I would also like to point out that, the small crowds of Fleygur Fans that gathered around our paddock throughout the weekend were only taking lots of photographs of Blondie for practice, before taking the ultimate photo of me!

 

Blondie Thinks He is the Star of the Show

Blondie Thinks He is the Star of the Show. Photo by Stuart Earl Photography

My first competition was the preliminary round for the Elementary Tölt, and I didn’t put a foot wrong. There was no repeat of my shouting as I was going round, though I do confess to taking a sideways look at Blondie as we went past. He was standing by the track, grazing! The next competition was the prelim for the Elementary Four Gait. This is much harder, and requires more concentration. I had to show walk, trot, tölt and canter (on the correct lead). Of course I was awesome at this as well and came first in both. That evening, My Mate Roger was chuffed to be presented with our Elementary Combination trophy, for the highest combined score in the prelim classes. I don’t know why they present these to the humans, when the horses do all the work, but I was through to the finals for both events, and that meant another opportunity to show off my enormous talent.

Blondie’s first outing was in the Intermediate Loose Rein Tolt, where they go once round the oval track with normal contact, and then have to ride the long sides with no rein contact at all, without losing the tolt. Blondie came second in prelim round, so he was in the final for his class too.

I was supposed to be in another class, a brand new one for the Championships. This very special class was organised by My Mate Roger and the Woman. It was the class with the most entries for the whole show, and designed to show a true partnership, and the versatility of the Icelandic Horse. The Handy Combination consisted of riding one round of the Oval Track in any gait, and getting a score. Then the partnership had to negotiate ten obstacles, from bending poles, rein back, scary tarpaulin, a bridge, S-bend and more. There was a ridden class and a led class, so everyone could have a go. At the last minute My Mate Roger withdrew me from the class. He said it was because they were short of volunteers, and he had to do all the judging of the obstacles, but I think it was because he knew I would trash the opposition, and he didn’t want to discourage them. Blondie and the Woman had a go though, but he didn’t even get into the rosettes!

My Mate Roger Judging the Handy Combination

My Mate Roger Judging the Handy Combination

Blondie has a go at the ‘Bridge’

 

At the end of day one we deserved a rest and My Mate Roger gave me a lovely massage, to make sure I was limbered up for the next day.

Day One Over

Time for a Rest

Having a massage

That feels good.

 

Day two was finals day, and the tension was high. First up was me in the Elementary Four Gait Final. Walk and tolt were done, and I was in the lead and looking good. We moved into trot, and then canter, and I was sure I was going to win, but I was pipped at the post, by Brekki! The Elementary Tolt Final was next, this was my specialty, and I gave it all I had . There was an awkward moment, where my prize was nearly presented to the wrong horse. I was about to demand a stewards inquiry, but the mistake was realised at the last minute, and I got my first place rosette and trophy.

 

Elementary Tolt Final

Awesome shot 1 Tolting with a nice young mare

Awesome shot 2 Me in Tolt

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Awesome Me shot 3 Trotting

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    'Tack Check' Photo by Stuart Earl Photography

    ‘Tack Check’ Photo by Stuart Earl Photography

 

My classes done, Blondie managed a third in his Loose Rein Tolt class, which is not bad for his first Championship, and in an Intermediate class too!

After each final class there is a ‘Tack Check’ for every horse, to make sure that nose bands are not too tight, no inappropriate equipment is used, and there is no harm to the horse. This includes checking inside our mouths to make sure there is no pinching. I wasn’t keen on this bit, but it is good to know our welfare has such high priority.

Finally, the show was over, and it was time to head home. As usual we were last to leave, but as was tradition, we could not do so without a little incident with the Stable on Wheels. All loaded up and ready to go, and the Stable on Wheels went lame! A few choice words from My Mate Roger, and hastily arranged assistance, and we were finally on our way.

 

A Lame Stable on WheelsFormula One Wheel Change with horses on board

 

All in all, it was a good show. My Mate Roger always said I had it in me to do well. He said I just needed to get a grip of my separation issues first. He claims his special training did the trick, but I knew I was awesome all along.

For the next show I will be moving up from Elementary, to Intermediate classes, so look out – Little Viking Horse is coming!

But for now, I am off on my holidays to Wales on Saturday. At last time for a rest.

Awesome Little Viking Horse. Photo by Stuart Earl

 

 

Find Stuart Earl Photography at  https://www.facebook.com/EarlPhotography?fref=ts

 

 

 

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