Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Greater Love

Icelandic Horses are full of love and loyalty. Love them back and ride them as naturally as possible, without severe equipment. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Clicker Training Saela

This mare, Saela, is being clicker trained.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adopt A Soldier

The Icelandic Horse Connection is supporting the Adopt A Soldier program. Many soldiers (an all "volunteer" service) do not have family or friends that correspond with them, or send them gifts or needed items.

Help to make a soldier more comfortable; contact:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Behind the Bit

Icelandic Horses should never be behind the bit. If they are, it means something is wrong. Either the tack does not fit properly, or the rider is uneducated, or the rider's hands are too heavy.

The Icelandic Horse does not have the conformation, with the thick throat latch and the type of neck structure, to be on the vertical or behind the vertical. It can be very painful and uncomfortable for them.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Relaxation, Loose Rein with Icelandic Horse

Nice job with the training of this Icelandic Horse, Vinur; loose rein, the horse has some nice head nod, he looks relaxed, use of his body is not restricted by the rider or the tack. I believe he's in a halter / bitless.

Another loose-rein riding gait with an Icelandic Horse here:

Loose Rein Riding Icelandic Horse

Friday, December 5, 2008

Versatility Test of Icelandic Pleasure Horses

Here is a nice video showing testing of Icelandic Pleasure Horses in Denmark, which includes jumping, endurance, dressage, and gaits.

It's obvious that some of the icelandic saddles put the riders in positions that aren't so good, and there is some contact that is heavier than should be.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gag Bit

We're starting to see gag bits used on Icelandic Horses. The mechanics of this bit are not very nice to the horse (or the horse's mouth). This bit is usually used in place of training or good / natural horsemanship, and can be used to force gait. A good, knowledgeable trainer won't use one.

They are also known as: gag bits, wonder bits, Dutch or Continental bits, and Pessoas.

From Wikipedia:

The gag bit works on the horse's lips and poll simultaneously. The pressure on the lips tends to make the horse raise its head, which is useful for a horse that tends to overextend.

Gag bits are used mainly for horses that are strong pullers or for horses that need retraining... mainly for increased control at times when a horse may try to run off with the rider.

They are not permitted at any level of dressage, since dressage riders are trying to get the horse come down onto the bit, and want to encourage the horse to accept contact. Additionally, the horse is supposed to be completely submissive in dressage, and a gag bit gives the impression that it is not. Gags are also never seen in the hunter arena, again because they wish to portray that the horse is an easy ride, and because they want a long, relaxed frame with the neck stretched out, rather than a high neck.

You will also see that the Icelandic Horse was shown to Al Roker in a television interview with it's mouth strapped shut and a gag bit:

Icelandic Horse Interview, Al Roker

For more information about the gag / wonder bit, click onto this link at the Icelandic Horse Connection