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/

 

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.

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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.

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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

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Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 298

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 506

Edda Hestar Easter Show 2015 509

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.

resting

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.

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

 

 

 

The Kinver Country Fayre

The Kinver Country Fayre

Last Sunday My Mare Gydja and I had a staring role at a local country fayre. We had been asked to star alongside the Vikings, who were turning up to do battle, and be generally scary. Icelandic horses are the direct descendants of the horses of the Vikings, so it was only right the we attend.

It was a good opportunity to tell everyone how wonderful Icelandic horse are, so off we went. It all started well enough, and the Woman set up the stand, while My Mate Roger played at being a Viking.

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But that was not all there was to it. Then we had to ride in the parade through the village. My Mare Gydja didn’t think there was a big problem, but I didn’t like it one bit! There was a marching band, shouting Vikings, banging drums, waving flags, Morris dancers, belly dancers, balloons and balls. My Mate Roger had to get off and lead me though.

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Finally we got back the the show ground, and our camp, next to the Vikings. Lots of people came to visit us, and some Fleygur Fans were very small indeed. I was very well behaved, obviously.

Then it was our turn in the arena! I demonstrated the walk, trot and tölt, while the Woman stood in the middle explaining how awesome I am, and being bossy, as usual. Then we all tölted off together, and the crowd applauded us!

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Then the Vikings started fighting, and it all looked a bit gruesome. My Mare Gydja and I agreed that humans are just a little bit crazy.

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At last it was time to go home for a long rest. However today we are off to the British Icelandic Horse Championship and Festival. It is turning out to be a busy summer.

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http://www.kinvercountryfayre.com
http://www.vikingsofmiddleengland.co.uk

The Spring Show report

The Spring Show report

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.

 

Leaving rainy Shropshire

Leaving rainy Shropshire

 

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.

 

lunch time turn out

The Lunch Time Turn Out

Thirteen Icelandics rding out

Thirteen Icelandic’s Riding Out

 

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.

Eating the Winner in the Fancy Dress

Angel and Bat Out of Hell earned a Second and Third place in the Fancy Dress

hiding the hole in the tail

The Woman Found a Clever Fix for the Hole in Blondie’s Tail

Some more fun classes followed, and My Mate Roger and I got more rosettes, for the Handy Pony, and the Beer Tolt.

Lots of Rosettes in the Spring Fling, but the serious stuff starts tomorrow

My Mate Roger and I in the Bendy Pole Race

My Mate Roger and I in the Bendy Pole Race

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.

Nick the Viking and Chairman Tim Working into the Night

My Mate Roger Saves the day

My Mate Roger to the Rescue

Ready for Inspection. A temporay narrowing of the track was needed, where the surface was still too soft.

Ready for Inspection. A temporary narrowing of the track was needed, where the surface was still too soft.

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.

Fifth and Joint third in the Happy Hackers Tolt

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!

 

waiting to go on oval track with company

Waiting to go on the Oval Track

Champion Happy Hacker in Action

 

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.

Blondie Showing his Loose Rein Tolt

Blondie Showing his Loose Rein Tolt

Blondies First 'First'

Blondie’s First ‘First’

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!

Happy Hacker Champions

Happy Hacker Champion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the Show a few of my fans came to visit me, and admire the wonderful Icelandic Horses.

Fan with carrotsLVH wth My Friend Colnyongest fan

 

 

 

 

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.

 

a few words from MMR

A Well Earned Rest and a Few Words from My Mate Roger

only ones left

The Last Ones to Leave

 

 

heading home

Heading Home

Team LVH Success

Team LVH Success

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/

The Ramblings of Icelandic Horses in the New Forest

I am not the only Icelandic Horse living in the UK, though I am sure I must be the most famous. Icelandic horses were bred for transport over long, and rough terrain, and also for eating, but I don’t like to think about that! Icelandic horses can do lots of things, but I think rambling is what we are best at. So, in the midst of all the preparation for the Spring and Summer Shows, I thought you would like to hear from two of my cousins, who love their rambling as much as I do. Here is their story.

Hello, LVH fans. It is a great honour to be asked to write this blog on LVH pages. My name is Flo, which means Flea. I am nearly twenty-three years old, and live with my long lost daughter Flicka, whose name means Girl, near the New Forest, in England. Flicka and me was separated in Ireland, but ten years ago she came back to me. I was so pleased, we now live together and go everywhere together. We are looked after by our ‘mate’ Colin, who we are training to understand his role in life, which is of course to look after us. I have been with him for fourteen years, and think he is nearly trained. We are both Viking horses.
Like LVHs mate Roger, Colin has a mobile stable, and he puts us in it and takes us to the New Forest, a place called Ashley Walk. He parks in the same place, and gives us some hay while he sorts himself out, which can take ages. We have to be very careful of our hay, the wild ponies try to sneak up on us, and sometimes the long eared ones. Colin has to keep chasing them away. After our hay, he takes us to a small river to drink, then he gets on Flicka, sometimes with a struggle, and we go off on a ramble! I usually start ‘in hand’.

Wild ponies after our hay

Wild Ponies After Our Hay

Colin has to chase the 'long-eared' ones away

Colin Has to Chase the ‘Long-Eared’ Ones Away

Flicka, who Colin calls ‘my friend Flicka’ most of the time, and when she tries to run off with him, ‘the Flicka monster’, can be very keen at the start. It’s a bit of a hill, and she tries to run up it, not always in the direction as Colin and me was going. I love this, as he sometimes drops the rope and it takes him a while to get it back. I have a lovely chomp on the heather, while he tries to get it from Flicka -great fun!
We climb the hill ,and soon have a nice tolt on a track where the ‘bouncing bombs’ were tested. Last year Colin fell off me up there, unlike the bombs he did not bounce, but he did explode! Before he hit the ground this yellow Jacket became very large, Flicka said he looked like the ‘Michelin man’, but I don’t know what that is? Then he made hissing sounds, and we ran off. He caught us, but seemed very lame, and hobbled back to the mobile stable. He did not ride us for a long while, we need to try this one again. It’s on Youtube, to watch Flo and Colin falling, click here.
We usually get a lovely rest under some trees. Flicka has a roll and we share an apple with Colin. We share it fairly, one slice for Colin three slices for me and Flicka. That’s fair, we have done all of the work.

 A rest at the half way point

A Rest at the Half Way Point

Flicka after a roll

Flicka After a Roll

 

Sometimes he brings blond ‘ yard friends’ with him, both have black dogs, we like black dogs. One has a lovely pony called Sexy Simon, I fancy him, but Flicka tried to bite him, and recons he is above his station! The other one came a couple of times, but neither come anymore. I hope it was nothing I did! Apparently they are both looking after us, while Colin goes to Iceland later this year. We wonder if we will get extra treats if we look hungry. Colin can be mean with the treats.

Sexy Simon admiring his reflection

Sexy Simon Admiring his Reflection

Flicka thinks Sexy Simon is above himself

Flicka Thinks Sexy Simon is Above Himself

 

There was another blond, again with a big black dog, who had been out on me a long while back. She was at our home last week, I thought she was coming riding, as she has ridden me before, but she came and stuck a large thing in my mouth, and did things to my teeth . Apparently she is a vet. Moral beware blonds with black dogs! We like her really, our mate Willow, an Arab princess, was very lame, and she came and made her better again very quickly. We love Willow, thank you Helen, the vet, and her black dog!

A Blond Rider for Flo

A blond rider for Flo

Apparently another blond is going to ride me soon, but not very far, she has a big dog as well, but he is brown. She is only a little Flicka herself ,and needs her mummy with her. I have promised to be good.
Anyway, back to our rambles, we sometimes go up on a mound, it from the war again. We can see for miles and miles. Flicka thinks we can see Ireland, were we was born, but she is just dreaming, it’s Dorset, where Colin lives.

On the War mound looking at the view

On the War Mound Looking at the View

We come down through some woods, to a lovely stream with fresh water, we play a lovely game here. Sometimes Flicka goes through the water, I stop for a drink, Colin drops the rope, I have a drink, Flicka will not come back, Colin gets off, we both have a drink, and then a munch on the heather. A week ago a dog walker took a photo of this game. Her name is Susannah, she worried us a bit as she does ‘endurance’, and takes her Arab pony on very long rides. We don’t want Colin thinking he can do endurance – not with us he isn’t!

The Water Game

The Water Game

Sometimes we see strange things, they are called ‘Drifts’, where the wild ponies are chased by men on ponies, really fast. Flicka got caught in a drift once, with Colin, she was very good and stood still, despite charging ponies. Colin fell of a horse called Drift once,  in Iceland – but that’s another story.
Sometimes we scare other horses and people, but we don’t mean to. We did this to a man, all dressed up on something called a ‘Hunt’. He was with lots of girls on ponies, but had a very tall horse – it shot sideways – he said we was dragons! We are not dragons, we are Viking Horses, just like LVH!

We are usually tired when we get back. Colin takes the saddle off ,and I have a roll or two, then we go back to the trailer, and like LVH, we have to meet our public. Seems to be lots of ‘tourists’, with little Flickas and boys, who want to say hello, and often have their photos taken. We have have met people from, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Belgium, USA, Pakistan, India, and even from Wales. Only the Germans ,and the Finns knew we was from Iceland.
Anyway, then its back home, to tell Willow our stories , snooze in the sun, and watch the tall horses go round and round in the ‘school’. We don’t understand this ‘school’, why would you want to be in the school, there is no heather to eat if the rider falls off!

Flicka takes a rest

Flicka Takes a Rest

 

With thanks to Flo, Flicka and Colin, for sharing their story.

 

 

The Spring Show approaches

It is less than a week to the Spring Show, and My Mate Roger and I are in hard training. Well, we have been for a few rambles, but there is more tölting involved, so it feels harder to me!  Apparently My Mate Roger has the week off, so we are going to be doing some real training this week. I think I am going to need to be very fit, considering all the things My Mate Roger is expecting me to do! Take a look at my schedule

Friday 11am
Group Ride from Oakfield Farm (be ready to leave at 11am) – small amount of road work, plus woods, bridleways and open heathland. Stop at the pub for lunch (there’s a field for the horses too). No charge but bring cash for lunch/drinks.

Saturday 4pm – Spring Fling Classes
Open to all horses and riders. Children, novices or those of a nervous disposition may be on a lead rein. £3.50 per class, or £15 for the whole lot. Helpers very welcome please.
Fancy Dress (Theme – songs and singers)
Handy Pony
Drunken Bending Race
Bean Bag Race
Dressing Up Race
Walk, Trot/ Tölt Race
Chase-me-Charlie
Piggy Pace Race

Sunday 9am – Oval Track Classes
Sport A Classes – Open to any rider, horses must be born in or before 2009.
COSTS FOR SPORT A CLASSES £15 per class
Tölt*  T1 –Riders compete individually. 1. 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. 2. From the middle of the short side ride one round in slow tölt, lengthen stride distinctly on the long sides. 3. From the middle of the short side ride one round in fast tölt.
Happy Hackers Classes – Open to any horse. Rider not to have been placed in the finals of any Sport A Class in the preceding 5 years. Children, novices and nervous riders may be on a lead rein. Special awards for the best youngster in each class.
Happy Hackers classes cost £10 per class

Happy Hackers Tölt  – The test is ridden in groups of up to three riders on the oval track, instructed by the speaker. Sections: 1. any speed tölt. Return to walk and change rein. 2. slow to medium speed tölt. The rhythm of the tolt and the harmony between horse and rider will be judged. Flashy action from the horse will not increase the marks.

Happy Hackers 4-Gait – The test is ridden in groups of up to three riders on the oval track, instructed by the speaker. The horses show the four gaits as instructed by the speaker. They ride on the rein as set in the starting list. Sections: 1. any speed tölt 2. slow to medium speed trot 3. medium walk 4. slow to medium speed canter. The rhythm of the gaits and the harmony between horse and rider will be judged. Flashy action from the horse will not increase the marks.

* Tölt is a 4-beat lateral gait, where the footfalls are the same as in walk – left hind – left front – right hind – right front, in an even rhythm. Although this is a gait which can be performed at all speeds (from a fast walking speed through to canter speed) there is no moment of suspension as there is always at least one foot in contact with the ground. This makes the tölt very smooth and comfortable for the rider. For more information on gaits visit the Icelandic Horse Society of GB web site here

My Fancy dress costume for the Spring Fling is Top Secret. Then, on the Monday, there is something strange called the “Beer tölt “. I think that involves, the riders trying not to spill any beer while riding one handed, and the horses getting wet!

Blondie is also entering the Spring Fling, and the Happy Hackers Tölt, but then he is doing something called the Happy Hackers Loose Rein Tölt

Happy Hackers Loose Rein Tölt – All horses on the track at the same time, well spaced out. Show a slow to medium speed tolt holding the reins in one hand, with little to no contact and as few corrections as possible. The rhythm of the tolt and the harmony between horse and rider will be judged. Flashy action from the horse will not increase the marks.

 

I can’t do that. My Mate Roger is trying to teach me to be go well with less contact from the rein, but I can’t really get the hang of it. Blondie is so smug when he tölts along the road, with the Woman just holding the end of the rein in one hand. He does lose it eventually though, going faster and faster. I am not sure he is up to competition standard, though he seems to think he will get marks just for looking cute!

Finally Fleygur Fans. All Fans (as defined by those who have liked my Facebook page) who turn up to the show to visit me, can be entered in a special prize draw for one of my Polo Shirts. Looking forward to seeing you there, but if you can’t make it there will be daily updates on Facebook and Twitter (if a signal is available) and full report to follow on this blog.

Full Show Programme and details are here on the Solva Icelandic Horses website.

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