The 2017 Icelandic Horse World Championships – what’s it all about?

An Icelandic Horse fan from GB attending the World Championships, has sent this explaination of the classes, and the names of the riders taking part. A small group of dedicated fans are there to cheer on Team GB. More information can be found on the Icelandic Horse Society website. 

The Icelandic World Championships 2017 are currently being held in Oirschot, Netherlands and we, Great Britain, have sent a team over!As of 2016 there were 21 countries registered with FEIF (the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations ) with Iceland having 97,995 Icelandic horses, Germany have 50,060, Denmark have 38,944 and in comparison, Great Britain have 984 horses, so to send a team to compete was a huge achievement!

Only one horse per rider is allowed in the World Championships sport competitions.

A national sport team at World Championships for Icelandic Horses can comprise of up to 7 rider/horse combinations and a reserve

There are a number of tests that are included in the World Championships with breeding assessments as well as Sport. I have given an explanation below of what each sport test is about along with the names of the GB team competing in each test.

 FOUR GAIT V1

This test is performed on the oval track. The riders compete individually. The test can be ridden on either rein. The rider has four and a half rounds to show the following gaits in any order:

• slow tempo tölt

• slow to medium speed trot

• medium walk

• slow to medium speed canter

• Fast tempo tölt

Each gait may be shown only once, walk for a half round and the other gaits for one round.

Marks: The five judges use a scale of marks per section from 0 to 10, with half points. The highest and lowest mark are disregarded. The final score calculated is the arithmetic mean of the three marks.

Team GB riders in this were:

Freija Glansdorp – Ljóri frá Efri-Rauðalæk

Sandy Carson [YR] – Svava fra Bakkeholm

James Boás Faulkner – Flans frá Víðivöllum fremri
 F1 FIVE GAIT

This test is performed on the oval track. The riders compete individually. The test can be ridden on either rein. The rider has four and a half rounds to show the following gaits in any order:

• Slow to medium speed tölt

• Slow to medium speed trot

• Medium walk

• Slow to medium speed canter

• Racing pace

Each gait may be shown only once, walk for a half round and the other gaits for one round. The racing pace is shown on the long sides only. The marks for tölt and pace will be doubled.

Marks: The five judges use a scale of marks per section from 0 to 10, with half points. The points for tölt and racing pace count double. The highest and lowest mark are disregarded. The final score calculated is the arithmetic mean of the three marks.

Team GB rider in this was:

Mike Adams – Kafteinn frá Kommu
T1 TOLT TEST

This test is performed on the oval track. Combinations entering this class are excluded from other tölt tests. The riders compete individually.

Sections

Begin at the middle of the short side and ride one round in slow tölt on either rein. Return to walk at the middle of the short side and change rein

From the middle of the short side ride one round in slow tölt, lengthen stride distinctly on the long sides

From the middle of the short side ride one round in fast tölt

Marks: The five judges use a scale of marks per section from 0 to 10, with half points. The highest and lowest mark are disregarded. The final score calculated is the arithmetic mean of the three marks.

Team GB riders in this were:

Mike Adams – Kafteinn frá Kommu

Jemimah Adams – Noi från Brösarpsgården

James Boás Faulkner – Flans frá Víðivöllum fremri
PP1 – PACE TEST

The pace test combines style, skill and speed. All combinations have two runs to show their best.

Start

As soon as the starting flag is raised, the horse moves off at walk, trot or tölt. Between the starting line and the 25 meter mark, strike off in canter from any gait. Between the 25 meter mark and the 50 meter mark change into racing pace. On the 50 meter mark time keeping starts at a visual signal. After the 150 meter mark and before the end marker at 200 meter, the horse has to have returned to tölt, trot or walk. For high marks the horse shall have returned to walk. The average of the marks of two runs decides the placing. In case of equal marks the marks given by the judges will decide the winner. In case the marks for the first place are equal a tie break has to be performed.

Judging

Six judges are required; they score openly from 0-10 with half points: the first judge judges the strike off at canter and the changeover into pace; the second judge judges the pace between the 50 meter and 100 meter mark; the third judge judges the pace between the 100 meter and 150 meter mark; the fourth judge judges the downward transition between the 150 meter marker and the end of the track at 200 meter.

The starter indicates with a red flag if the horse is not in pace at the 50 meter mark; At the 150 meter mark a judge will show a red flag is the horse is not in pace when crossing the 150 meter line. The judges choose their places in order to get the best possible view over their respective areas. When the horse has passed the area concerned, judges one to four show their marks. If the horse falls out of pace during the timed section, the relevant judge(s) show(s) a red flag and no marks for time shall be given. A maximum of 40 points for style and a maximum of 20 points for time can be obtained according to the table of marks. The final sum is to be divided by 6.

No Time

If a horse gets the mark 0 from judge 2 or 3 and/or a red flag from the judge at the starting line or the judge at the finishing line, there will be given no scores for the time. Combinations receiving “0” from three judges in the first run of PP1 are now allowed a second run.

GB riders in this were:

Mike Adams – Kafteinn frá Kommu

Aidan Carson [YR] – Óðinn from Inchree – Youth Rider 

 

T2 – TOLT TEST

This test is performed on the oval track. Riders compete individually. The rider has three rounds at his disposal to show the following gaits in the following order:

• Any speed tölt

• Slow, steady and calm speed tölt. Return to walk and change rein

• Slow to medium speed tölt, holding both reins in one hand clearly showing no rein contact with the horse’s mouth

Each section may be shown only once, for one round. The marks for section 3 will be doubled. Marks: The five judges use a scale of marks per section from 0 to 10, with half points. The points for the free rein count double. The highest and lowest mark are disregarded. The final score calculated is the arithmetic mean of the three marks.

GB riders in this were:

Sandy Carson [YR] – Svava fra Bakkeholm – Youth Rider

Ann Savage – Lipurtá frá Hóli II

Freija Glansdorp – Ljóri frá Efri-Rauðalæk

 

P1 – PACE RACE- 250 meter

The pacerace over 250 meter is ridden on the pacetrack. This P1 is a pure speed test in which the combinations race against each other after a start out of the start box.

Before the first run, lots are drawn in order to set the starting order. In the second to the fourth run, those riders start together who’s finishing times in the previous heat were nearest to one another. This means that the first starting group will be composed of the up to then slowest horses, the second group of the second slowest etc. If equal starting groups cannot be formed, the slowest group always starts with less horses, if necessary individually. If several horses are not rated, allocation of the horses to the starting groups will be decided by drawing lots.

Once the startboxes open, the combinations ride to the 50-meter point in a gait of choise. From that point until the finish, the horse has to be in pace.

Four runs are held but never more than two per day.

GB riders in this were:

Charlotte Cook – Sæla frá Þóreyjarnúpi

 

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Celebrity Life Style Part Two – It’s all about Boot Camp

Celebrity Life Style Part Two – It’s all about Boot Camp

I can do absolutely nothing for hours and hours but unfortunately doing nothing is not an option as Spring approaches. This is not, I have to point out because I am “full of Spring grass” or My Mare Gydja is “in season” or any other equine related biological explanation. No, the excessive level of activity in the Spring months is all created by a devious human invention. Boot Camp.

My Mate Roger tells me it’s preparation for the Shows and calls them ‘clinics’ but whatever cuddly supportive name he wants to give them it basically means being dragged all over the country in the Stable on Wheels and then having to go round and round in circles while various humans comment on the finer points or otherwise of my gaits. My gaits are fine just the way they are Thank You!

Home again its me

Various tricks can be used to deter the humans from taking you Boot Camp. There are obvious annoyances like losing a shoe just before said event or going ‘a bit lame’, though it has to be said that these are more a case of happen-stance than careful planning on my part. More often than not I have to accept that the Boot Camp experience has to be endured but no one said I had to endure it quietly. I make it my habit to shout, often and loudly to my mates. As a result of this behaviour My Mate Roger decided on one occasion that it was a good idea to take me to Boot Camp on my own, I was not impressed. I shouted all though the night even though there were other horses nearby and My Mate Roger was camped right next to me. By the morning I was a bit tired and My Mate Roger hadn’t got much sleep either. I don’t think My Mate Roger was happy with my performance on the track that day as this silly plan has never been repeated and one of my herd always accompanies me now when I go away.

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My Mare Gydja has her own clever method for making the humans look silly. It basically involves performing perfectly the very thing your human has identified as ‘the issue’ on the first ask at Boot Camp. She went to Boot Camp a few years ago as a ‘four gaited horse who possibly due to an injury as a youngster didn’t like to tölt’. The Woman wanted her assessed to decide whether to accept that the tölt was lost or whether it could be trained back. ‘Let’s see you try the tölt’ said the trainer. She watched for a minute and then gave her verdict. ‘Nothing wrong with that tölt at all’. The Woman was dumbfounded. For an encore My Mare Gydia showed flying pace when asked to canter round the corner of the school which is not bad for a ‘four gaited’ horse! She’s a clever mare who likes to keep the humans guessing. I have my own version of this trick. I spent years pretending to My Mate Roger that I was such a tolt machine that I couldn’t trot.

There are some benefits of Boot Camps though. Fleygur Fans come to visit and give me treats, I get to stare meaningfully at the tent entrance so that the humans feel obligated to feed me hay as soon as they get up, still wearing their pyjamas

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….and then there’s the horse whisperer. She dispenses wise words and wisdom to My Mate Roger but what she whispers to me is for my ears only and I’m not telling.

Check out what she says at 3mins 30secs

Boot Camp season approaches!

Read “Celebrity Lifestyle Part One” Here https://littlevikinghorse.com/2015/03/01/a-celebrity-lifestyle-part-1-its-all-about-food/

 

2015 Rider Rankings Announced

The Icelandic Horse Society of GB has announced the Rider Rankings for 2015 and through my amazing talents My Mate Roger is ranked first in the FIPO Elementary Four Gait. Maybe that will stop all the musing about retiring me from competition, it’s quite exhausting all this ‘will we, wont we take him to the shows’. Blondie helped the Woman achieve first place in the non-FIPO Elementary Tolt too, so he must be following my example.

The GB Ranking is a comparison of results of the Icelandic Horse Society of GB members at sport events. After every competition a new ranking list will be computed by taking the result of a rider in any discipline (FIPO (and/or World Ranking), non-FIPO or Gæðingakeppni) and is based upon the average of the best results with any horse in the respective discipline over a certain number of years. Riders have to go on competing to keep their position in the ranking list. The results used for the calculation per rider may be achieved at different events with different horses. At the end of each year, the highest ranking rider in each class is announced

Okay, I get it, the horses do all the work and the riders get the praise!

For more details on the GB Rider Rankings Click here

Apparently though I am going to the shows this year and My Mate Roger is already talking about getting me fit, I have a horrible feeling this is likely to mean more Boot Camps too.

003Fleygur Ranking 3Roger and Fleygur 2015 RankingCatherine and Svipur 2015 ET Ranking

New Track and Trail event at The IHSGB 2015 Summer Festival and British Championships

The Icelandic Horse Society of Great Britain are holding their 2015 Summer Festival and Championships on 19th – 21st of June at West Tarf, West Linton, Peebleshire in Scotland click here for details of the event and classes. My Mate Roger and the Woman are organising a special class called Track and Trail.

The Track and Trail class is intended to show a true partnership between horse and rider. The class will demonstrate a versatile Icelandic horse by combining a simple gait test with a test of the horse’s obedience and trust in their rider. The Woman say’s

It aims to be an all inclusive class and provides a great opportunity for those of you who have limited or no experience on the Oval track to have a go in your best gait, and receive a mark and comment from a qualified judge. The obstacles in the trail section are a good test for any horse, things we should all be able to do while we are out hacking, so this provides a real test for those who usually only compete on the Oval track.

Blondie has a go at the 'Bridge'

Blondie testing out the ‘bridge’ on the trail

 

Practising at home

 

I am sure I would be awesome at this class, but as My Mate Roger is the Judge and the Woman has designed the course I am not competing in it. I do apparently get the very important job of testing the course and setting the optimum timing.

Fleygur in tolt

Little Viking Horse strutting his stuff on the track

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the course that the Woman has designed

 

IHSGB SUMMER FESTIVAL and BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS 19th – 21st JUNE 2014

West Tarf, West Linton, Peebleshire EH46 7AA

Track and Trail class
Rules and guidance, and course outline

We are very pleased to confirm that this class is sponsored by Massage for Mobility click here for their website The winner will receive a massage for their horse on the Sunday.

 

What it is not

The Track and Trail class is not just a ‘handy pony’ class for children, though of course children are encouraged to enter too. It’s not ‘just a fun class’ though we would like you to have fun and enjoy the experience, and the judges and volunteers will help and guide you.

It is not a ‘Le Trek’ event and will be scored differently (more simply) though experience at Trek events will have been a good preparation for this class.

This will be the second time we have run the Track and Trail event at the BC’s and its existence depends on volunteers and people being committed to providing a diversity of experiences for people attending the show.

What it is

The Track and Trail class is intended to show a true partnership between horse and rider. The class will demonstrate a versatile Icelandic horse by combining a simple gait test with a test of your horse’s obedience and trust in your guidance as their rider.

It aims to be an all inclusive class and provides a great opportunity for those of you who have limited or no experience on the Oval track to have a go in your best gait, and receive a mark and comment from a qualified judge. The obstacles in the trail section are a good test for any horse, things we should all be able to do while we are out hacking, so this provides a real test for those who usually only compete on the Oval track.

It is also open to lead-rein and in-hand entries, which will constitute a separate class.
Section 1 Track

Choose your best gait and decide on which rein you are going to enter. You will be asked to inform us of your chosen gait before the class commences.

Enter the track and begin your test before you reach the first corner, making clear nod to the judge when you start.

If you are showing canter you may start your test at the first corner.

For trot, slow tolt, fast tolt or canter show one complete circuit.

If you are showing walk (including lead-rein and in-hand entries) you are only required to show walk along one long side. When you have completed this please turn around and exit the track as quickly as you can.

If you are showing pace you complete one circuit showing pace on each of the long sides. You will be scored on your best attempt.

As soon as you have completed the Oval Track section proceed to the waiting area for the Trail section. Depending on the number of entries there maybe a delay before you ride the second section.

 

Section 2 Trail

It is planned that this years Trail section will be laid out along the Pace Track, however you are not required (or permitted) to ride this section in Pace!

You will not be permitted to ride the course before the class opens.

There will be ten obstacles (see below) and a maximum time allowed for each entry. This will be confirmed on the day after the course has been tested, but is likely to be around five minutes. It is not a race and the timing will be ample to complete the course but is intend to keep up momentum.

If you are unable to complete an obstacle you will not be permitted multiple attempts and in most cases the scoring is designed to give a zero mark after a set number of refusals. If you wish to ride a failed obstacle again for your horses’ education we will try and accommodate this at the end of the class, depending on demands on the Pace Track.

Obstacles should be ridden in walk, trot, tolt or canter. However this is not a speed test and you should note that if you go past an obstacle this will count as a refusal. The course should be approached in a calm manner with the aim completing the obstacles smoothly and giving a good experience for your horse. Points will be deducted for rough riding or for excessive use of a stick/crop.

Maximum mark for each obstacle is five.
1. Bending Poles

Why? Responsiveness to lateral aids and flexibility, co-operative led horses.

Five poles (or equivalent) in a straight line, weave through the posts. After passing the first post there is one point for each subsequent post passed on the correct side. Minus one point for any missed posts, and for each incident of stepping over the edge of the Oval track or marked line. Plus one point for riding this in trot, tolt or canter.
2. Jump/step over
Why? Willingness and ability to negotiate a blockage on your path.
5 points – Jumped or stepped over clear with out knocking
4 points – cleared but knocked once (jump stays up)
3 points – one refusal (stopping or running out) but then jumped/stepped clear.
2 points – Obstacle is cleared but jump is knocked down
1 point – one refusal then knocked down, but still completes the obstacle
0 points – more than one refusal or failure to complete

3. Rein-back
Why? Do you have a reliable reverse gear? The ability to guide your horse backwards in a straight line to get out of a tricky situation.
Enter the marked path and ride until the horse front feet are over the second line. Walk backwards until horses front feet are over the rear line. The judge will guide you. 5 points maximum. Minus one point for each time the poles are knocked by the horses’ feet. Minus one point for one step outside the pole. Two steps outside the polls scores Zero for this obstacle.

4. Carry the Flag
Why? Riders balance and ability to control the horse whist carrying or lifting something, calmness of the horse around things that move and flap!
Pick up the flag from the first receptacle and carry it to the second. 5 points maximum score. Minus one point for missing the pick up (maximum of two misses allowed), minus one point for each miss of the put down (Maximum of two misses allowed) Zero score if flag is dropped, or you exceed permitted misses.

5. Side Pass
Why? Responsiveness to aids, ability to control your horses’ feet. The side pass and rein-back are two building blocks for opening gates. Carry the Flag will also assist in prepartion for gate opening.
Position your horse with front feet one side of the pole and hind feet the other. Ask your horse to walk sideways without knocking the pole.
Maximum mark 5. Minus one point for each knock or step over. Two step overs = Zero points.
6. To be confirmed (Likely to be ‘Bridge’ or curtain)
5 points maximum. Minus one point for each step off or refusal.

7. Dismount and stand
Why? Ability to leave your horse untied/ not held briefly. You never know when you might need to dismount and let go of your horse to deal with something while out riding.
Place horse in marked position and ask them to stand still. Walk to the designated point and wait. One point for each second your horse stays in the marked place.
8. Mount from the right, using a mounting block
Why? For safety reasons your horse must stand still for mounting. You should be able to mount your horse from either side, as when hacking it may not be possible to mount from the left side as people mostly do. Mounting from a block, or anything convenient and suitable is better for your horses back, so the ability to place them next to a block is important.
Position the horse next to the block, mount place feet in stirrups and wait 3 seconds. The judge will guide you. Maximum points 5. Minus one for each reposition of horse or movement during mounting.

9. S bend
Why? Responsiveness to the aids, control of your horses’ feet and ability to manoeuvre the horse in restricted space.
Ride through the marked S-bend. Maxium 5 points. Minus one for each knock of the post.Two steps out of the S-bend = Zero points.

10. Walking over tarpaulin
Why? You need to be able to walk your horse over any surface your need her/him too to be able to deal with the unexpected when out riding.
Walk straight over the tarpaulin. 5 points maximum. Minus one point for each refusal (stepping back or sideways), up to maximum of 5 attempts.

 
The course outline is provided as a guide and we will keep as close to it as possible. However the course designer or Event Manager reserve the right to amend this course prior to the class starting, depending on local circumstances. Please check notices at the show for any changes.

Blondie gets a First at the first Show of the Session

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.

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 197

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 397

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 168

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.

 

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 008Gradually 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.

Helgi says  "It's my Stable on Wheels, can I come in please?"

Helgi says “It’s my Stable on Wheels, can I come in please?”

One of the neighbours

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.

I was not feeling my best

I was not feeling my best

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.

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 240

One class was enough for me

 

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.

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 209

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

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 134

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 298

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 506

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 509

Things to do when you have lost a shoe

This week Blondie lost a shoe so while I have been out this weekend going rambling for real, Blondie and the Woman have been playing games in the yard. It all looks very straight forward to me, but according to Blondie it’s harder than it looks.

The Woman started by setting up a little course, using things she found in and around the yard. We don’t have a school, and the only flattish field was too wet so she set up the course in the yard. First she let Blondie have a look at each of the obstacles in his own time and being a nosy horse this took quite a while. Then she introduced him to each task and each time he tried to do the right thing she gave him lots of praise, and even treats. When My Mate Roger and I were back from our ramble she had him all tacked up ready to show off what he had learned.

Walking Over An Old Rug

Walking Over An Old Rug

Well that looks easy enough, maybe he should try a mattress next time!

Figure of Eight

Figure of Eight

Next was a figure of eight around two buckets, a waste of good buckets if you ask me, they should be full of food!

Flag in the Face

Flag in the Face

Okay, I admit it did look a bit scary when the Woman waved a flag all over the place, but Blondie didn’t seem at all bothered, not even when she put it right over his head.

Into the Trailer

Into the Trailer

Out of the Trailer

Out of the Trailer

In and out of the trailer is no bother, we do that all the time. Okay, there are some potentially very scary plastic bags blowing around the place, but Svipur didn’t mind those either he just checked them out in case they had treats inside.

Getting Ready for the Side Pass

Getting Ready for the Side Pass

Side Pass Complete!

Side Pass Complete!

Now just a minute, those photos make it look like he did that straight off! Where are the ones in between of him making a mess of it?

Stand on board

Yes, very clever, even I could learn to stand on a wooden plank for a treat. How many treats did you get before you got it right golden boy!

The Golden Boy

The Golden Boy

A Celebrity Lifestyle Part 1 – It’s all about food.

I like this grass

It’s tough being famous, emotionally and physically draining, a fact that My Mate Roger does not seem to grasp. I work hard at keeping my stout round figure, as befits a hardy feisty horse of the Vikings, but I am constantly thwarted by his scheming. Once I even had to suffer the indignity of a ‘grazing muzzle’, and that’s an oxymoron as big as you have ever seen. These contraptions are in fact ‘anti-grazing’ devises, and even with my dexterous prehensile lips I had to work extra hard to snuffle up even a tiny amount of grass. It was not to be tolerated and I showed my displeasure by tossing my head and galloping around the field, but the humans did not relent. When the nasty thing began to rub my nose I appealed to the Woman, who is always more open to emotional blackmail than My Mate Roger, and it worked, briefly. After a day without the muzzle, spent eating as much as possible, it re-appeared with a hand-stitched fleecy lining! More concerted action was required.
I attacked the muzzle with my front hoof, which the humans had helpfully fitted with a metal shoe, and after two days the webbing finally gave way. With a shake of my head I was free. I stamped on it a few times, to make sure it wasn’t getting up and set about eating as much as possible before My Mate Roger returned.

Hay

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His next plan of attack was electric fencing, and this I admit has me stumped. I don’t like the stuff, having once got tangled up in it when I first arrived to live with My Mate Roger. He had arranged a nice little safe paddock from where I could be introduced to the other horses, Big Fat Cob and a big fat painted horse. Having spent a long time in the stable on wheels and not knowing where I was I thought a nice roll would sort me out, but I misjudged the fencing, got a sharp shock and when I tried to run away the fencing came with me, followed by two fat cobs and they didn’t look friendly. I kept running, and they kept chasing until My Mate Roger stepped in and stopped them , and the Woman cornered me and wrapped her arms around my neck to stop me running. I needed a treat after all that excitement and fortunately she had carrots.

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I did reach a truce with Big Fat Cob eventually, essentially by agreeing that he was in charge, and if there was any food going it was his. I have had to use all my Icelandic intellect, which is pretty awesome, to out-wit Big Fat Cob and get some of his share of the hay. Method number one, and not for the faint hearted, is to gradually edge closer and closer keeping a careful eye on his ears. If they flick back stop immediately and wait for him to relax. This is repeated until I am in optimum position, close enough to reach the hay with my front hoof, but not so close so as to provoke a full on lunge and snapping teeth. Next I reach out with my front hoof and scrape some hay towards me, out of snapping range, and then I reach down, extend my prehensile lips and eat the hay spaghetti style.
Method two is far more devious and depends on the relative differences between my intellect and that of Big Fat Cob, as well as the fact that Big Fat Cob is a spooky horse who thinks that horse eating dragons live all around, where as I know they do not exist. It’s very simple, whilst eating hay I spook suddenly and run away, taking Big Fat Cob with me. Once he is nicely on his toes a small spook is enough to send him far enough away to grab some of his hay, and if properly executed just a big flinch is enough. Devious eh?
All year I battle to keep my weight on, and all year My Mate Roger battles to keep it off. Even in winter I can put weight on, while the whole rest of the heard is slimming down. My Mate Roger is baffled, but I am full of tricks. I eat stuff that Big Fat Cob doesn’t even know is edible, I am first in the queue when there are any treats going, and hang about at places I know humans will appear at certain times, and if in doubt, in the absence of food, I conserve energy by doing absolutely nothing. I can do absolutely nothing for hours and hours.

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A National Champion – My Mate Roger!

A National Champion – My Mate Roger!

My Mate Roger has made it onto the first Icelandic Horse Society of Great Britain Rankings as a winner in 2014!

MMR said ‘I can’t take credit for this alone, behind every riding achievement is a great horse’. Well I am sure this is what he would have said if I had asked him.

The Woman also had some glory in the elementary tölt rankings. The rankings are a new development for the IHSGB.

http://ihsgb.co.uk/2015/02/new-gb-ranking-congratulations-to-the-2014-winners/

The Show Season Approaches

I love my rambling with My Mate Roger. Ambling down the country lanes, with the wind in my mane and wowing the locals with my amazing ‘chicken-pecker-chicken-pecker’ sounding tölt. Some times we go on our own, sometimes the Woman comes with us, with Blondie, Big Fat Cob or My Mare Gydja. This is me, and My Mare Gydja, taking a break on one of our rambles.

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As the winter days begin to lengthen, and we long for the grass to start growing again, I can feel the Show season approaching. My Mate Roger increases our rambling, we start to practice my awesome fast tölt, and My Mate Roger tries to explain to me the importance of speed changes. Apparently going as fast as you can is not always what the judges are looking for.

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Regular readers of my blog will know that my early show experiences were not my best. I got very anxious and didn’t understand what I needed to do. I still thought I was awesome, but My Mate Roger said our performance was embarrassing! Last year, however, was my year. Even the Woman said I was awesome, and one of the British Champions was heard to say that I was like a different horse. It was a good year. I won some trophies, and even Blondie got some rosettes.

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Apparently we are going to all the shows this year. The Easter Show on 4th and 5th of April, the Spring Show on the 16th and 17th of May (both in Dorset), the British Championships in Scotland from 19th to 21st June, and the September Show, back in Dorset!

Wish me luck, and maybe I will see you there.

Icelandic Horse events in the UK http://ihsgb.co.uk/news-events/events-calendar/

Editors note : not all the events listed above are on the events calendar yet. The sharp eyed will spot that LVH is double booked in June. LVH will be at the British Champjonships, but there will still be a display of Icelandic horses at the Kinver Fayre in Staffordshire.