Fleygurs' musings, Little Viking Horse Blog

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
Piggy Pace Race

Sunday 9am – Oval Track Classes
Sport A Classes – Open to any rider, horses must be born in or before 2009.
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.



Fleygurs' musings, Little Viking Horse Blog

A Remarkable Recovery

Three weeks before the U.K.s first Tolt in Harmony Competition, I had a little mishap with my shoe (you can read about it here). My Mate Roger was not at all sure that I was going to be able to take part after all. We had been preparing for weeks. Not by practicing the pattern you have to ride, because we don’t have a school, or even a flat piece of ground to practice on, but there is a lot you can do while out rambling. We practiced speed changes, and stopping; and we did lots of walking sideways, or ‘three-tracking’.

The incident with the shoe seemed to have put a stop to my competition aspiration, and Fleygur Fans on Facebook, from all over the world, sent me best wishes, and crossed their fingers, hooves or paws for me. Initially, I got better quickly and hopes were raised, but then, just as the Vet had predicted, I got worse again. My Mate Roger, and the Woman soaked my foot in hot salty water, twice a day, and poulticed my foot, until no more puss came out. Then it was wrapped in a dry dressing. When I was able to walk without limping, My Mate Roger called the Shoe Man. The Shoe Man said, “I wouldn’t be much of a farrier, if I couldn’t straighten out that shoe”, and he popped it back on. He said my foot had healed well, but if there was any problem, My Mate Roger should call him straight away.

"I wouldn't be much of a farrier...."
“I wouldn’t be much of a farrier….”


A straight shoe
A straight shoe


So, now I was ready to compete, though the combination of having been out of work for three weeks, and the fresh spring grass, meant that I was a little feisty! My Mate Roger was a bit apprehensive. I have only done one competition before, and I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory. I went like a bat out of hell round the oval track, with My Mate Roger trying to stay in control, and screamed for My Mare Gydja the whole way round. This time, Blondie was coming with me, and we set off in the Stable on Wheels for an overnight stay near to the competition venue. We had a little paddock to ourselves, with a cute grey Welsh pony next door. The TB and the Arab opposite were a bit less polite, and galloped at the fence, with ears back. Blondie stood his ground, and just stared back, and eventually I got fed up too, and snorted at them. These Big Horses do get in a paddy sometimes. Anyway, there were two post and rail fences between us, so they just had to get over it.

Temporary accommodation, you can't always choose your neighbours.
Temporary accommodation, you can’t always choose your neighbours.

The next morning we were off again, early, for a short trip to Home Farm Equestrian, for the competition itself. Lots of other Icelandic horses arrived, and we all got ready for the practice round. The humans all had a briefing from the judge, and there were lots of questions. Apparently, none of them had done this before. We had a practice go, with feedback from the judge. It all seemed very relaxed, but Blondie managed to get the same score as me, so I was going to up my game for the competition itself. Blondie, and the Woman, are novices compared to us, so I couldn’t let My Mate Roger down. In the practice run, I did scream a bit, because I needed to know the other horses were still there. I couldn’t do that in round two.

A briefing from the Judge
A briefing from the Judge
Blondie heading off to the school
Blondie heading off to the school
LVH in action
LVH in action
Me being awesome
Me being awesome









After feed back from the judges and a rest, it was time for round two, the competition itself.

Blondie getting feedback
Blondie getting feedback
Me, giving feedback
Me, giving feedback

My Mate Roger and I went before Blondie, and I think I did pretty well. O.K, I did have a little disagreement with My Mate Roger at one point, and I confess, there is room for improvement! You can watch me on YouTube

I didn’t scream, at all this time, and Blondie did okay too, for his first time out, but obviously not as awesome as me. You can watch Blondie on YouTube too, and see for yourself.


Then it was time for the prizes. Blondie got seventh place, and I got fourth. My Mate Roger was very pleased, we had both done better than he had expected.

My Mate Roger was pleased
My Mate Roger was pleased












I have the feeling we will be doing more of the Tolt in Harmony. My Mate Roger and the Woman seemed to enjoy themselves, and the other Iceys, and their humans are a friendly herd. Next time though, I am going to keep my eye on the winner. My Mate Roger says, if I can calm down a bit, I might even be a s good as this. I still think I am awesome.

The  winner
The winner
Fleygurs' musings, Little Viking Horse Blog

No foot, no horse…..no competition?

The big question in My Mate Rogers’ mind is, ‘will I, or won’t I be fit in time for the Tölt in Harmony competition?’ We had begun our training, practicing slowing down, and speeding up in walk, and tölt. I am especially good at the fast bits. I was getting fitter, and My Mate Roger was pleased with my progress. We have a lot to prove, after my performance at lasts years British Icelandic Horse Championships.

Then, last Sunday, I had a mishap with one of my shoes. The shoes had recently been fitted by the Shoe Man, so were nice and solid.  I was with the herd, in the bottom corner of the field, when we started to move off. One of my feet wouldn’t move. Something had caught on my shoe. I pulled and pulled, and being very strong I managed to get free, but there was a cost. I felt a sharp pain in my foot, and as I tried to run away, I found I couldn’t put my foot down flat. I limped a few paces and stopped, waiting to be rescued.

The Woman arrived in the field first, with a friend, all kitted up and ready to ride. When she saw me in the far corner of the field, holding my leg off the ground, she must have thought I had broken it, she looked very concerned, but when she saw my shoe, she could see the problem. My Mate Roger arrived and took my shoe off.

Twisted shoe

Finally, I could put my foot to the ground, but I still didn’t feel good, and didn’t really want to move. I could hardly walk, and was very subdued. The Vet was called, and the Woman, her friend, and My Mate Roger waited in the field with me. Blondie came over to see me, but I did not feel like playing.

Blondie says 'hi'
I don’t want to play, Blondie

The vet found where the nails from the shoe had punctured the sole of my foot, and said it would certainly get infected. He said I would get worse, before I got better. and gave me an injection for the pain. I had to stand in a bucket of hot, salty water. I took my foot out the first time, but My Mate Roger put it back in, and gave me a treat, so I got the idea, and kept it in until I was asked to lift it again. Then he wrapped my foot with a dressing, vet-wrap, and duck tape! My Mate Roger is a human nurse, so he knew what to do.

The first poultice
Dressing and vet-wrap applied
Standing in bucket of hot, salty water
Standing in bucket of hot, salty water
Where the nails punctured the sole
Where the nails punctured the sole


This procedure was repeated twice a day over the next few days, so I became very expert at it. Stand with foot in hot water…….get a treat. Stand with foot up for poultice to be put on,…..get a treat. Look sorry for myself, and hobble in a little circle…….get a treat. I got so expert at this, that I didn’t really need to be held, or even have a halter on. There was some debate about whether, or not I should go in a stable. The neighbours offered to lend me one. Lots of my Fleygur Fans on Facebook gave their views and advice, but eventually it was decided that I could stay out. That way I was in my usual place, with my herd, and could move around if I wanted to, keeping fit and helping to pump the nasty pus out of my foot.

I know the routine
I know the routine

After a couple of days I felt a lot better, and My Mate Roger stopped giving the magic powder in my feed. In fact, I didn’t get any feed at all, just hay. The next day I got a lot worse, and could hardly put my foot down, and that evening I got another feed! The vet came again, and said I was doing really well, and that I should make a good recovery, and then I got spotted, by the Woman, playing with Blondie. She claims she saw me cantering, and bucking! Where is the evidence? I think I should still get feeds (with or without the magic powder) but somehow I think that may not happen.

Where is the evidence that I have been running about?
Where is the evidence that I have been running about?

So, I am on the road to recovery, but it is just fifteen days until the Tölt in Harmony Competition. Will I be able to go?


Fleygurs' musings, Little Viking Horse Blog

Breaking News….Talking Icelandic Horse in the 2014 Equine Social Media Awards!


Yes, it is true Fleygur Fans, I have made it to the finals of the prestigious Equine Social Media Awards, but it is all to play for. The Talking Horse category has many formidable opponents including, The Fat Pony, who is very, very naughty; and Binky the Clydesdale, who is very, very big. I need all the votes I can get.

My mission is to promote the Icelandic Horse. The horses of the Vikings, tough, hardy, spirited but gentle, and very very clever (well, I am anyway).

So get voting, and spread the joy of Icelandic horses…..http://www.equestriansocialmediaawards.com/finalists-esmaP1020900_2376_edited-1

Fleygurs' musings, Little Viking Horse Blog

I’m a Rambler (Little Viking Horse Version)

Sing to the tune of ‘I’m a rambler’ by English Folk singer Ewan McColl


I’m a rambler. I’m a rambler from Shrop-shire way
I get all my pleasure the tolt-ing way
I may be a Fat Pony weekdays
But I am a Sports Horse on Sundays

I’ve hacked o’er Cardings, and galloped the Long Mynd
And grazed on the Stiper Stones as well
I’ve rested at Wenlock, and tolted round TheWrekin
And many more things I can tell
My Mate Roger has oft been my rider
He makes sure that I am watered and fed
And sooner than part from our rambling
I think I would rather be dead

The day was just ending as we were returning
Along a bridleway permitted by law
When a voice cried “Eh you”, in the way people do
He’d the worst face that ever I saw
The things that he said were unpleasant
In the teeth of his fury Roger said
Sooner than part from our rambling
I think I would rather be dead

He called me a waster and yelled, “get off the road”
Well I thought, but I couldn’t see
Why the old by-ways, and the lanes round about
Couldn’t take both the young lout and me
He said, All this land is my father’s
At that Roger stood shaking his head
No man has the right to own byways
Any more than the deep ocean bed

We once entered a show, to see how far we could go
And we practiced from April to June
We are a great partnership, My Mate Roger and I
But the deadline, it came way too soon
On the day that I should have been Champion
We went for a ramble instead
For sooner than part from our rambling
I think I would rather be dead

So I’ll tolt where I will, over mountain and hill
And I lie where the bracken is deep
I belong to the mountains, the clear-running fountains
Where the grey rocks rise rugged and steep
I’ve seen the wild rivers in the gulley
And the skylarks flying high over head
And sooner than part from our rambling
I think I would rather be dead