Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IceTolt? No Way!

Should Icelandic Horses be expected to run on ice? Should we be considerate of the horse and it's long-term soundness?

One of the discussions at the recent Kentucky International Equine Summit:

The Well-being of the Competitive Horse

Communication between the equine and man has always been a mystery. Although it is not in a horse´s genetic makeup to verbally communicate, they "speak" to us all the time. This concept was a common theme throughout all four of today´s panels on the Well-being of the Competitive Horse.

Dr. Catherine Kohn, VMD, from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, acknowledged people who know horse language have special importance in future equine research.

"We need to identify the relevant problems to research," said Kohn during the panel on "Equine Research: State of the Field." "But we need bright, intelligent, creative people that work with horses daily and know the problems they experience in order to identify them."

When Keeneland Race Track installed Polytrack in 2006, it became the third North American facility to transition to this synthetic surface. The reason for the change was revealed during the session on "The Safety of Horses: A Long-Term View."

"We felt the safety of the horse and rider was not coming first and that was unacceptable," Nick Nicholson, President of Keeneland, said. "You need to listen to the horse and do what´s best for him. It´s a tenet that is not used enough in this business."

During the same session, Bill Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, concurred with Nicholson, but added some personal insight.

"Horses that have faulty conformation just float over a synthetic surface," Casner explained. "It is very forgiving and provides young horses with a chance to work through their issues because it allows their bones to remodel. The horse is telling us that he likes this kind of surface and we need to listen."

In the panel "Veterinary Research on Equine Athletes," Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Association Veterinarian at Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park said a horse´s body language usually indicates a predisposition to catastrophic injury.

"With most catastrophic injuries, horses do tell you by exhibiting some sort of sign," Scollay-Ward said. "Except condylar fractures. In my experience, they usually occur in 3-year-olds that are moving quickly through their conditions and forward in their training but there are no outward signs."

Charlie Hutton, a speaker for the "Experience, Compassion and Handling of the Horse," owns Hilldale Farm in Princeton, Kentucky and primarily trains reining horses. In his opinion, the key to equine safety is good horsemanship.

"You have to always listen to the horse," Hutton said. "Horses are creatures of routine and if they act differently than they normally do, there is almost always something wrong. I rode a horse yesterday that seemed tired and was working to get through the ride. I knew something was off and sent him to the vet this morning."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Icelandic Horse Names

Karen is trying to come up with a name for her Icelandic Horse filly. Here are some considerations that she's found:

Ála: dorsal stripe

Appelsína: orange

Elfa: elf

Fína: the fine one, radiance

Gasella: gazelle

Kæti: vivacity, merriment

Kría: arctic tern (bird)

Leira: clay, palomino

List: art

Linda: mare with eel

Lúsía: woman's name

Nett: peaceful, pretty

Pía: woman's name

Rós: rose or Rósa

Skippa: pet name

Stalla: lover, confidante

Væna: darling

Wanda: quick-witted and reliable list member

There are a few links to more names here: Icelandic Horse Names.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Improving Your Balance for Riding

There are a few different exercises and things to do that will help you improve your balance for riding your Icelandic Horse.

There is the therapy / physio ball. Mary Wanless shows several exercises here: Equestrian Therapy Ball Exercises.

There is also the BOSU ball:

Exercises on the BOSU ball strengthen core muscles which are necessary and helpful for horse back riding.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trail Trial Obstacle Course Hints

Here are some hints for trail trials:

Icelandic Horses should excel in this discipline.

The following video is somewhat different than the one above, but it gives some different suggestions for obstacles:

Street obstacles:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Brynja, Icelandic Horse, Schleich Model


By the artist: Sorrel splash white overo Icelandic mare. Schleich Icelandic done in pastels and acrylics. Personal showstring.

The Visible Horse

Visible Horse Iceland

This is an Icelandic Horse draw on by Sue Harris, called The Visible Horse.

Charm, Icelandic Horse, Was Born Pink

Charm, a palomino Icelandic Horse, was born "pink" colored.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Icelandic Horse Falls in Ravine and Is Rescued

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Footloose Malibu Horse Takes the Road Less Traveled

Local Firefighters Cut 10-Year-Old Icelandic Gelding Free from Dense Brush

With a phalanx of TV news choppers whirring overhead and the sound of reinforcement sirens piercing the air, fire crews took part in a classic Malibu melodrama that involved an unlocked gate, a rare Icelandic breed horse and dense brush more than eight feet tall.

The horse, a 10-year-old pinto gelding named Indian, and his stable mate, Castagna, wandered away from their corral when an employee on the Malibu Park property left the gate unlocked.

Icelandics are a small-sized registered breed of Iceland. True to their usual mellow temperament, the mare stayed by the open corral but Indian headed downhill, fell into a steep ravine and became trapped in the thicket.

Fire crews used chain saws and hand tools to clear a path so the horse, which was not injured, could head back up to the corral, perhaps with less enthusiasm for the wanderer's life.

HOMEWARD BOUND - A purebred Icelandic gelding named Indian that left its corral when the gate was accidentally left unlocked, walks away from the steep ravine in Malibu Park it had fallen into on Friday. MSN/George Hauptman

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Charm and Elisabeth Haug

Elisabeth Haug brought a herd of Icelandic Horses to the US from Denmark about 35 years ago, and established a ranch in California. Here she is with Charm, almost four years old, Icelandic Horse.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Del Mar Demo

This is a video of a recent demo at Del Mar:

Icelandic Horse Photos

Here are some Icelandic Horse photos:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Molly The Pony

This is a book about a pony named Molly who had a leg amputated and now has a prosthesis.

Molly the pony waits. She waits in her stall. She waits during the storm. She waits for her owner to return.

So begins the true story of a patient pony who is rescued from a south Louisiana barn after Hurricane Katrina and finds a new life on a farm with new animal friends. But Molly's tale of courage does not end here.

When a dog on the farm attacks Molly, her front leg is badly injured. For a pony, a damaged leg is life threatening. To the amazement of veterinarians, though, Molly rises to her new challenge. She undergoes a rare surgery for horses: amputation of her front leg. Now fitted with a prosthetic limb, Molly relearns how to walk and embarks again on a new mission in life: making new people friends.

This plucky pony's story of survival and friendship will win the hearts of readers young and old. All who have had to start over after displacement, abandonment, injury, or amputation will find a friend in Molly as they follow her story of bringing a smile to everyone she meets.

Pam Kaster is the author of Zydeco Goes to Horse Camp, an editor of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association newsletter, and a member of Equine Photographers Network. She managed an equestrian riding program for disabled riders for three years and continues to study natural horsemanship techniques. She has been a Red Cross disaster-preparedness volunteer for twenty years and managed a Red Cross shelter during Hurricane Katrina. She lives in Zachary, Louisiana, with her husband, three horses, three dogs, and a cat.

Use of the Aids

Jane Savoie shares information on the use of the aids which can be applied to Icelandic Horses.

For more information about the Icelandic Horse, go to the Icelandic Horse Connection website.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Natural Horsemanship with Icelandic Horses

Here's a video that is about ten years old, working with a young Icelandic Horse and natural horsemanship, along with clicker training. He could be ridden bareback and bridleless before he was even started under saddle.

For more information, see the Icelandic Horse Connection.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ride Down to the Pond

We took a little ride down to the pond from the ranch. Just a short way out of the gate of the ranch, and a little ways onto the outside trail, we passed a rattling rattle snake. Thank goodness it didn't strike or bite any of us. I recall a rattlesnake story from another gal with an Icelandic Horse:

Here are some pictures from the ride.