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.



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.



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.


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.




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.

My Fun Fast Tölt

I have begun my training for the Show season, and this means lots of tölting. My Mate Roger is trying to work out why I tölt so fast when we are out on a rambles, but don’t offer him the same speed on the oval track in competition.

It’s easy really. My really fast tölt out on our rambles is so I can get home more quickly and get fed! Fast tölt on the oval track is a waste of energy as I just go round in circles (or ovals!).

Watch my super fast fun tölt here.

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


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.



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.


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!




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.




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.



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/