Monday, September 29, 2008

Horses As You've Never Seen Them

Watch this slideshow narrated by photographer Tim Flach showing photos from his book Equus which will be published on October 1.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Four-year-old Icelandic Horse

Another picture of Charm, Icelandic Horse. She's mowing the lawn, but has her sights on the banana tree and is anxious for me to leave so that she can sneak over there and eat the leaves!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Charm, Icelandic Horse

Charm, an Icelandic horse, is four-years old and is very people friendly. She likes to do her tricks, go for walks, and especially likes to eat the leaves on the banana trees!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Parelli Seven Games

If you would like to learn the Parelli Seven Games to use with your Icelandic Horse, you can find them here:

Combined with clicker training, you can get a great partnership with your Icelandic Horse, and have a smooth, supple, horse, with two-way communication between you both.

More info on the PNH 7 Games:

Parelli Horse Training Technique: The Friendly Game
This form of natural horsemanship centers around one simple premise: the horse wants to remain comfortable at all times.
View more »

Parelli Horse Training Technique: The Porcupine Game
Second of the seven exercises, the porcupine game teaches the horse to move away from pressure, while also preparing him to respond to leg and rein aids later on down the road.
View more »

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clicker Training Icelandic Horses

Most Icelandic Horses love clicker training and enjoy learning:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Icelandic Horse Slide Show

Here are some pictures from the past several months:


Monday, September 15, 2008

Icelandic Horses in the Fog

It was foggy this morning. Here are a few Icelandic Horses (and a pony) in the fog.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Icelandic Horse Bedtime Story

A bedtime story by Janice McDonald:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Berry Picking Icelandic Horses

End of berry picking season at Sheep Mountain in Alaska, with Misty and her Icelandic Horses:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Viking Kids; and Gaits

This is a cute video of kids doing a Viking re-enactment.

We can also use this as an educational tool to look at gaits. From about the 1:00 minute mark to about the 4:00 minute mark, there are video clips where you can see the horses moving. What gaits?


We are changing the Icelandic Horse world!

We are making things better for the Icelandic Horse!

Change the World - Eric Clapton

The lyrics:

Change The World
by Tommy Sims, Gordon Kenney and Wayne Kirkpatrick

If I can reach the stars,
Pull one down for you,
Shine it on my heart
So you could see the truth:

That this love I have inside
Is everything it seems.
But for now I find
It's only in my dreams.

And I can change the world,
I will be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.

And if I could be king,
Even for a day,
I'd take you as my queen;
I'd have it no other way.

And our love would rule
This kingdom we had made.
Till then I'd be a fool,
Wishing for the day...

That I can change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.
Baby if I could change the world.

I could change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.
Baby if I could change the world.
Baby if I could change the world.

River Ride

Photos from today's river ride; pictures taken by Billy:

Cookie, Icelandic Horse mare, riding with a sheepskin and rope sidepull:

Icelandic Horse Connection

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jennifer and Trilla

Jennifer's Icelandic Horse mare, Trilla:

Icelandic Horse Connection

Amanda's New Icelandic Horse

Here are a few pictures of Amanda's new Icelandic Horse:

Icelandic Horse Connection

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Icelandic Horse Evaluations

It is always good to look at a system with new eyes, critical eyes, and unbiased eyes. Healthy criticism is good for the process. It can help gain insight to making a system better.

Before attending an evaluation, study up on things to look for which will help you make educated opinions and decisions about what you see.

Evaluations should be about good conformation and natural gait.

What is good conformation?

What is natural gait?

These are things that you will see, which are *past* the color of the horse, and the mane and tail.

Of course, they are much more important than any of those things!

So, we need to know how to evaluate, for ourselves, conformation and gait.

What tells you if legs are good or not? Good conformation of the legs leads to good movement, and *protection* boots will be unnecessary!

What tells you if it's a natural gait?

Natural gait is what the horse offers with no mechanical or artificial aids. Mechanical and / or artificial aids include:

[] tight, narrow, long saddles that pinch and dig,

[] "brida" saddles (icelandic saddles are "brida" saddles),

[] riders sitting anywhere other than the sweet spot of the horse, just behind the withers (brida, cantle or loin sitters are mechanical aids),

[] any weight on the distal limb, which includes shoes and / or boots;

[] nosebands, particularly tight nosebands;

[] bits: icelandic, gag, wonder, pessoa, single-jointed, whatever doesn't fit or bothers the horse;

[] intimidation of the horse with a whip;

[] concussive practices.

Things to look for:

[] Notice how much contact the riders have on the reins...

[] How much is the bit being pulled through the mouth, or how much it is stretching the lips

[] Is there a lot of head tossing? horse tipping his head at odd angles?

[] Is the horse opening his mouth? If not, is the noseband too tight? If so, we have to wonder why?

[] Is the rider sitting on the back of the saddle? does the saddle end past the last rib? is it sitting over, or digging into the loins?

[] Does the horse have boots on? Why? how much are they affecting his gait, and how crooked are his legs? Horses with straight (correct) legs, do not need protection.

[] Do the riders ever give the horse a release from the rein contact?

[] Is the horse able to stand still on a casual rein, or does the rider keep the horse behind the vertical?

[] Notice the horse's frame in gait... is he pulled up in the head and neck? are there wrinkles at the withers, in front of the saddle?

[] What kind of bits are being used?

[] How much does the rider yank on the horse's mouth to change gaits?

[] Does the rider pound on the horse's back at the trot?

[] How much does the horse's front legs wing? how much do his back legs cross the center line?

What is wrong with natural gaits? Mechanical / manipulated / artificial gaits are not inherited, so they do no good for evaluation scores that are used to determine which horse to breed to which horse.

Have you ever heard the old theory about breeding only four-gaited horses and you'll lose the tolt? That is entirely logical if the gaits are manipulated! The three-gaited horse can be forced into tolt to get evaluated and scored as a four-gaited horse (heck, enough weight, enough ventroflexion, and enough heavy contact will produce "gait" in any horse!), but he really doesn't have any natural gait in him!

There are so many things to think about, to learn about, to be able to make informed, educated decisions and opinions in the best interests of the horse and the breed.

As Gerd Heuschmann says in his book:

"I take my hat off to all people who have the courage to stand up, not follow the crowd, at times be "loud" and clearly point out deplorable states of affairs."

"Horses don't have a sound for expressing pain. Just imagine how loud the noise would be... if these wonderful creatures opened their mouths not only when facing a hand that is too hard..."

We want the best for the breed; the best tack, the best riders, the best riding style, the best knowledge and education, the best, most productive evaluations, so that the breed can be the best it can be!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Icelandic Horse Alaska

Here's Misty, with her Icelandic Horse, in Alaska, going berry picking. Click onto the picture to see a larger version.

Icelandic Horse Connection

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Number of Grey Icelandic Horses Decreasing

An article about the number of grey Icelandic Horses decreasing (they tend to use the word "white" which is actually different than a white horse):

Number of Grey Icelandic Horse Color Decreasing

More about Icelandic Horse colors.

Icelandic Horse Connection