The Easter Show is the first show in the Icelandic Horse competition season. Icelandic Horses are shown in our natural state, hairy with full manes and tails, well why mess with perfection? However at Easter we still have most of our winter coats, and clipping is allowed for welfare reasons so some interesting hair cuts are on show.
I tolted next to that pretty little chestnut mare at the show last year, and apparently she is for sale http://ihsgb.co.uk/sales/horses-for-sale/
We arrived the day before the show started and My Mate Roger set up camp, a cozy tent, blow up bed and sheepskins for them, and a tiny little paddock with practically no grass for us. Quite how I am expected to be awesome in these conditions is beyond me. Well, okay My Mate Roger did provide some haylage and there were two bucket filled with water. The Woman complained that she had to keep filling them as Blondie was convinced they were there just to provide entertainment and kept picking them up, tipping the water out and waving them around. Eventually they were replaced with a bigger version which Blondie couldn’t tip over.
Gradually the field filled up with other horses in little paddocks, and humans in lorries, tents, caravans or just sleeping in their horses stable on wheels! There was a good deal of chatter, hugging and comparing notes about what everyone had been doing over the winter. Of course being a celebrity horse most people knew what I had been up to anyway, but still lots of humans came over to admire me.
There was a really good turn out for the show, and some people had come a long way just to watch us awesome Icelandic horses in action, but I was not feeling my best, and My Mate Roger was concerned. I felt a bit down, and didn’t even eat all my haylage and that had My Mate Roger really worried. He didn’t want to make a fuss, so he quietly withdrew me from one of my classes, saying that we wanted to focus on just the one. I don’t like to make a fuss either, or worry my fans, so I am only mentioning this so you understand why I didn’t do much at the show. I am sure that if I had been feeling myself I would have brought home lots of rosettes.
However we did enter the T1 Tolt class. In this class you show one round of slow tolt, change the rein and show fast tolt on the long sides of the oval track and slow on the short sides, and then one round to fast tolt. It’s a very demanding class, and I was competing with some of the top horses, and many of the riders and horses have been to the World Championships!
I put in a good performance, and although I didn’t initially qualify for the final I had only just missed out, so when another horse was withdrawn I was offered a place. My Mate Roger declined for me, he said I had done my bit, and was not on top form. In my excitement last year I went from Beginners level straight to Pro, I have done the T1 now and proved I can be a sports horse if I want to be, I have decided I am going to semi-retire and be a part time Sport horse as my real expertise is in rambling. At the next show I am going to enter the Intermediate classes as I haven’t done those yet.
I have done my bit and this show was Blondie’s turn to shine. He was entered in two classes, the Beginners Tolt and the Pairs class where you ride with another horse and show walk, trot, tolt and canter. Each horse gets a mark for each gait, and the best mark in each gait is used to score the pair overall.
Blondie qualified for the final in the Beginners Tolt holding the lead position, and then he rode in the pairs class. He and his partner horse won sixth place in the pairs and the Woman was very pleased with him, not because he showed all the gaits well, he didn’t. He didn’t trot at all and he cantered on the wrong lead, but she was pleased with him because he behaved well on the track and didn’t get over excited, he tried to do as he was asked, and he did canter all the way round the track, instead of pacing when asked to canter which he sometimes does. Blondie was really tired after the first day at the show.
The next day was finals day and Blondie had to improve his score, or at least stay the same to win. In previous shows he has always done less well on day two, but he is older and stronger now, and I had taught him all I could, it was all up to him…and he won! For the next show he will be in the Intermediate classes competing against me!
The next show is on the 16th and 17th May again in Verwood, Dorset. There will be lots of fabulous Icelandic horses on show, and of course I will be there with Blondie. Come along and visit us. Details of the show are here http://www.oakfield-icelandics.co.uk/
Here’s a tip, of you do come the last section of the road is a track with some potholes so take it slowly. Also just when you think you must have gone the wrong way, keep going – under a bridge and follow the track, as it just goes a little up hill and to the right you will see the sign for Oakfield Farm.
Some photos of those amazing Icelandic horses are below