Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Bad Cowgirls went to Emerald Downs Racetrack to see an equestrian themed art show.  The art was a celebration of all things equestrian in all media and all styles from sumi-brush work to pastels to abstract to jewelry and sculpture.  There was also a section for work by children.  One clever girl--so sorry I forgot to write down her name--submitted the following piece created by her horse.

Virginia, Pamela, Deb, and Lora--The Bad Cowgirs
We missed you Gretchen!

Deb did bet on a horse and won!  Because of the odds, she bet $8 and won $5 back!

  We are still trying to figure out how that works.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gaits to the Heart --Version 2

And here is the song "Gaits to the Heart" by Sebastian Frisch used in a promotional video for the 2013 Icelandic Horse World Championships in Berlin.  This version uses more footage of Icelandic horses competing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gaits to the Heart--version 1

The official song by Sebastian Frisch of to the 2013 World Championships has been posted.  I love the 4-beat song, I love the video!  And Blessi would follow me through a mall until he got distracted by a food vendor.


Friday, July 26, 2013

So you want to learn Icelandic

An entity called Cool Icelandic Lessons has created a series of lessons on Youtube on learning the Icelandic language.  Lessons cover topics such as learning common animal names, having a conversation about what did you do over the weekend, pronouncing common names, and how to say place names. It is fun to learn how to pronounce "horse" or "hestur"  correctly in Icelandic.  And there is no term for "pony."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is Iceland the Most Horse Crazy Nation in the World?

From Wikipedia
Equestrian activities are very popular in Iceland.  Ingibjorg Sigurdardottir, who teaches at Holar University in Iceland presented a paper on the horse industy in Iceland at a conference on economics and tourism.   She presented some interesting facts:
  • About 16% of all visitors to Iceland go horseback riding.
  • As a sport, horseback riding riding ranks third behind golf and football. 
    • There are 240 horses per 1000 people in Iceland vs. 13 per 1000 in the rest of Europe vs 31 horses per 1000 people in Sweden.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Life Size Statue of Your Icelandic Horse

Who doesn't want a piece of art that captures the essence of your Icelandic horse?  And wouldn't it be wonderful to have a life size stature of your very own Icelandic horse?  The project "My Horse" sponsored by the 2013 Icelandic Horse World Championship in Berlin is making this possible. 

Julia Aatz (www.aatz-julia.com) will produce a life size sculpture of your favorite Icelandic horse that you can have created to your specifications.  You can even "bring" your horse to the World Championships.  Pricing starts at 200 euros.


Monday, July 22, 2013

First Ride on an Icelandic Horse

I think this video and commentary gives you a really good idea of what it is like to ride an Icelandic horse.  If you haven't had the opportunity, please try to find a place where you can experience a wonderful ride with these incredible horses.  As the author states, "These horses are so amazing! They were completely bomb proof and sturdy footed. Plus they are gaited and extremely smooth. I had the time of my life yesterday riding them!"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Joining the Century Club--Draft

Herman and Wasim riding the test
Herman Aguayo, age 75, and his 28-year old Arabian gelding SA Wasim joined one of the most exclusive clubs in the world—The Century Club.  Established in 1996 by the U.S. Dressage Foundation, the Century Club currently has only 133 members.  To be admitted to this select organization, the combined ages of the horse and rider must total at least 100 and they have to ride any level dressage test at an event sanctioned by the USDF.   The goal of The Century Club is to celebrate those senior riders who continue to enjoy and have fun with their senior equine partners.  Herman and Wasim became the 134th pair to join the club, only the 6th in Washington state.
“Riding in the Century Club has always been on my bucket list,” says Herman. “The late Lt. Col. Eugene Dueber of Port Orchard, who is one of the original members of the Century Club, encouraged me to try for this honor years ago.”  Eugene Dueber didn’t start riding until he was in his 60s.  At age 85, Eugene Dueber won his place in the Century Club in 2001 by riding the 16-year old Arabian mare VP Medley.  Eugene gave Herman, a fellow Marine, his United States Marine Corps blue saddle pad to remind Herman about his goal to join the Century Club.  “My wife Kathy also kept encouraging me to get back in the saddle after my knee operations,” chuckled Herman.
Getting a big wave and smile from the judge and scribe
Herman started riding as a child.  He has had great success in riding Western and hunt seat and in driving.  The Aguayos have been breeding and showing nationally ranked Arabs and part Arabs for years from their Sawda Equestrian Center in Port Orchard.  In previous years, Sawda’s Pirouette, Shetan, and Nelita have all won the Tripoli Cup, originally donated by Eugene Dueber to the Equestrian Institute.  The award is given to the highest scoring Arab or half Arab in dressage in the state of Washington. Herman and Kathy are members and supporters of the Lower Puget Sound Dressage Club.  As Kathy explains, “The LPSDC is a great, low key venue for beginning riders to start competing in dressage before they move up to the A shows.  All breeds of horses are welcomed—not just the traditional dressage horses.”
Kathy presents the Century Club ribbon Herman
and Wasim

Herman’s partner in this venture was Wasim, Arabic for “handsome,” a gelding from Herman’s own breeding program.  Herman has special affection for Wasim since he was an orphan foal who needed to be bottle fed.  “He thinks he is more human than horse,” laughs Herman.  Wasim was owned by several 4-H riders until he came back to Sawda for his “retirement.”  Wasim wasn’t ready for retirement so he started dressage training at age 18 with Broox Trudeau.  In 5 years, Wasim won his Legion of Honor award from the Arabian Horse Association by earning 75 points in dressage and other events.  “Even though he has had Cushings disease for the past six years”, Herman adds, “Wasim continues to give the occasional lesson to beginning young riders.  He also keeps us on our toes by making us carefully lock all stalls and feed rooms since he can open any improperly latched gate.”
Herman is congratulated by
one of his former students
Despite having both knees replaced in operations in 2011 and 2012 and never having ridden dressage before, Herman was still resolved to try for the Century Club.  To prepare, he worked with Shannon Lockwood, a Grand Prix rider who teaches dressage at both Sawda and Chalice Farms in Port Orchard.  “Herman already had great equitation basics, he just needed to work on learning the dressage pattern,” says Shannon.  Herman and Wasim rode for 10 to 15 minutes a day.  Both horse and rider had fun.  As Kathy, Herman’s wife, explains, “Wasim didn’t want to just walk and trot.  Herman had to remind Wasim that there was no canter in the pattern they were learning.”
Herman and Kathy have always had a big heart.  They have rescued strays—dogs, horses, and children—giving them a home or extra attention depending on what was needed.   Herman has been a 4-H leader in the equestrian program in Kitsap County for 16 years.  “A horse is not like a bicycle,” Herman says.  “You can’t ride a horse and then put it away until it is wanted again.  Caring for a horse teaches kids responsibility, empathy for animals, and how to plan for the finances required to properly take care of that animal.”  Children working with Herman learn to set goals and then work towards meeting those goals.  Many achieve a sense of self worth for the first time.   Herman’s former students now include three equine vets, an Air Force pilot, nurses, lawyers, a human resource manager, a foreign diplomat, two vet techs, and several farriers to mention only a few of the success stories.
Wasim takes a bow
On Sunday, July 7, 2013, several of those former students witnessed Herman and Wasim ride their Century Club test during the Lower Puget Sound Dressage Club hosted by the Aguayos at Sawda.  Herman and Wasim, decked out in the blue saddle pad with red and yellow border gifted to Herman by Lt. Col. Eugene Dueber, scored an impressive 64.688.  This score was high enough to win a blue ribbon in most of the classes that day.  {{{Need quote from former student. }}}  To celebrate, attendees enjoyed chocolate cake and sparkling cider while Wasim snacked on his “carrot” cake.  
Taking what he has learned from preparing for the Century Club, Herman looks forward to continuing to work with the next generation of young riders.  Hopefully, Wasim will eagerly greet young and old visitors to Sawda for many years to come.  Together, Herman and Wasim certainly exemplify the Century Club motto “to do good, we must do well.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

HELGAR THE HORRIBLE--One of the first Icelandics In California

Icelandic horse (not Helgar)--wikipedia
Maureen Hurley wrote an essay entitled "Helgar the Horrible" about an incorrigible, dun, Icelandic horse in California in the 1960s.  Nobody knew  his background or how he got to California--just that he was Icelandic.

She introduces Helgar as follows:
"Brenda’s dun-colored Icelandic pony, Helgar the Horrible, was unlike the other horses. He wasn't wily as the bandit Shetlands, dubbed the “Little Shytes” by irate neighbors, as there wasn’t a fence made that could contain the ponies. Nor was he prissy like the dainty Welsh ponies pretending to be grown-up horses at a gymkhana, their manes in need of imaginary smoothing. Helgar was more akin to the dour donkeys—but the similarities ended with the dorsal stripes. Helgar didn't carry a grudge the way they did."

You can read the rest of the article via the link below.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blessi Bling--More Browbands Python, Croc, and Rattlesnake

I had been collecting a bunch of belts from Goodwill that I thought would make good browbands for Blessi.  I ended
up with an assortment of exotic leathers.  From top to bottom, there is basic navy snakeskin, python, aligator, black leather with fancy silver, hitched and braided insert, and more snakeskin.

Do you know how to tell the difference between aligator and crocodile leather?  Crocodile skin has an integumentary sensory organ pore (ISOs) in each scale.  Each ISO contains a tiny hair to help the crocodile obtain sensory data about its environment.  So the leather that I used in the third browband from the top does not have ISO, therefore it is alligator.

Source:  http://www.ehow.com/info_8422906_difference-between-alligator-crocodile-skins.html
For detailed directions on making your own browbands, check out the following Blessiblog posting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Icelandic Horse Demo in Portugal

A group of young ladies demonstrate the skills of their Icelandic horses in Vale de Prazeres in Portugal.  The demo progresses from drill team riding at the walk to gait demonstration to riding without bridle or saddle.  At the end of the video there is some priceless footage of children riding Icelandic horses for the first time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dolphins swimming with horse

And here is some amazing footage of dolphins swimming with a rider and horse in Red Hook in St. Thomas.  Or is that the horse swimming with the dolphins?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fishing by Icelandic Horseback

Some people in the US do fish from off the backs of their Icelandic horses. Here a fisherman is going for trout on the North Fork of the Sun River in Montana.   Hum, I wonder if the horse has any ancestral memories of being fed dried fish in Iceland?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Salmon Fishing with Horses

Whatcom Historical Museum has released this footage of salmon and smelt fishing along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.  The footage dates from the 1920s.  If you skip to minute 2:57, you will see horse drawn salmon seine fishing along the mouth of the Columbia River.  This practice was banned in the 1930s.

I have an earlier post on how draft horses are still used to fish for shrimp off the shores in Belgium.  Who would have ever guessed at the variety of ways that horses earn their keep.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Secure Base Effect--Does it work with horses

Hom, Huber, and Range conducted a recent study in which they examined "the secure base" effect and its impact on dog exploration.  The secure base effect is when human children find that trusted parents proved a secure base for exploring the environment.

"Using a manipulative task, we tested dogs in three conditions, in which we varied the owner's presence and behavior (Experiment 1: "Absent owner", "Silent owner", "Encouraging owner") and in one additional condition, in which the owner was replaced by an unfamiliar human (Experiment 2: "Replaced owner"). We found that the dogs' duration of manipulating the apparatus was longer when their owner was present than absent, irrespective of the owner's behavior. The presence of an unfamiliar human however did not increase their manipulation."


I wonder if this effect applies to horses.  Based on anecdotal evidence, I have found Blessi quicker to explore new items when I am present and provide encouraging words.  However, Blessi has always been the type of horse to explore thoroughly anything new that he finds.  Sometimes too thoroughly and I have had to pay some extra boarding fees.  I would love to see this experiment replicated with horses.
External link. Please review our privacy policy.  I would

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Martha Stewart Horse Humor

Martha Stewart certainly has a sense of humor.  Here she hosts Conan O'Brien at her farm and Conan learns all about caring for a horse.  Be sure and watch minute 4:23 in case a red-head Fabio has ever been your romantic fantasy.

LNwCOB - Visiting Martha Stewart's Ranch by ccob

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Icelandic Horses on the Martha Stewart Show

On May 9, 2012,  the theme of the Martha Stewart was Iceland--its cuisine, wonderful scenery, crafts, and art.  Be sure and watch two clips:

- Both Martha and the first lady of Iceland, Dorrit Moussaieff, made their entrance onto the show riding Icelandic horses. 

- Nicki Esdorn gives and overview of the Icelandic horse and we can watch Martha Stewart riding a fast tolt.

Here is a link to the episode:


Monday, July 8, 2013

Martha Stewart Rides an Icelandic Horse

Martha Stewart--Wikipedia
Martha Stewart, known for being the Queen of home decorating, cuisine, and crafts, met some Icelandic horses.  She invited Martina Gates and Nicki Esdom, long time Icelandic horse owners, to bring their Icelandics to ride at Martha's estate.  As Martha says, "At first glance, these small, compact creatures look adorable and pony-like. However, in addition to being adorable, Icelandic horses are very strong, very spirited, and very fast!"  You can catch the entire slide show on Martha Stewart's blog site:


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Icelandic Horses in the Mideast

Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said brought six Icelandic horses--five mares and one gelding--from Germany to Oman in late 2011. TEquestrians in Oman are getting lessons on how to ride the tolt on hese first Icelandic horses to be sent to the Middle East. 

"According to the German horse trainers, the horses are adjusting well to the heat and humidity. Their places of dwelling over there are in shadowy and air-conditioned places in very well equipped horse stables."

The Eidfaxi link below has a video of a training session. Unfortunately I could not link to it.

The Sultan showed these horses on Oman’s National Day and the celebration for the Sultan’s birthday.  "The shows included a display of horse-drawn carriage with combined drive, celebrations ride, canon carriages display, horse riding display by cavalry mounted band, show race by Icelandic horses, cavalry performance for the disabled and show race of a horse without a saddle."

Sources:  http://icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news//The_Sultan_Sold_on_Icelandic_Horses_0_385858.news.aspx?cat_id=16567&ew_20_r_f=6&ew_20_r_t=6&news_category_id=



Friday, July 5, 2013

Journey's End--Not the Star Trek Version

Journey's End is a 6-part documentary that examines the Icelandic Sagas in the
context of archeological evidence to determine if there is a historical basis
for the events described.

Per the promo site: "In Journey`s End, events from the Icelandic sagas are
explored and put into context with antiquities that are either in the nature or
in museums. To give insight into the past, the history of our ancestors will be
scrutinized as well as the Icelandic nature and folktales.

A narrator will walk through some of the areas of historical significance,
introduce the assignment of each episode and talk to various people, e.g.
scholars and local residents. Following that, history will be discussed in the
light of these previous conversations."


Here is video with from scenes from the documentary--there are Icelandic horses.

So far, I have only found the release dates for Iceland.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Icelandic Horse in Medieval French Romances--Part 2

In the French romance, Erec and Enide written by Chrétien de Troyes around 1170 , Enide rides a "palefroi Norrois" or Norse palfrey. "While lamenting, the lady attired herself beautifully in her finest dress. Nothing, however, pleased her. Everything had become a source of grief. She had a maid summon one of her squires, and she ordered him to saddle her splendid Norse palfrey. No count or king ever had a better horse. The moment she gave the squire the command, he followed it without delay and saddled the dappled palfrey."

As Erec and Enide ride off on their adventure, they are spotted by a band of eight rogue knights. The leader espies the splendid Norse palfrey and rouses his fellow bandits to attack Erec and Enide. The bandit leader swears that he wants only the stunning Norse palfrey, the rest of the band can have the woman and the rest of the loot.

And the story continues. One of the scholars writing about this romance claims, based not on research but solely on her opinion, that the splendid Norse palfrey had to have been a Friesian or other cross. Obviously this scholar does not know much
about Icelandic horse or the Nordland horse or other representives of the Norse breed. Every Icelandic owner would agree that "No count or king ever had a better horse."

Source: Chrâetien (de Troyes), The Complete Romances of Chrâetien de Troyes, Indiana University Press, 1990

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Icelandic Horse in Medieval French Romances--Part 1

From the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry
Jens N. Faaborg  authored a book titled Animaux domestiques dans la literature narrative française au Moyen Âge  in which he examines the role of domesticed animals in the French medieval literature. Much of his book is devoted to the role of the horse since that animal is overwhelming mentioned the most in literature of that timeframe.  He looks at horses as defined by usage, breed, color, etc.
One of the "breeds" that he mentions is "norrois palefroi" or Norse or Norwegian palfrey, which is gaited: 
"Dans un nombre considérable des exemples où une dame monte sur un palefroi, l’épithète norrois s’accole à notre terme. Nous supposons qu’il est question de petits chevaux norvégiens (d’autant plus qu’il y a aussi des occurrences avec l’épithète petit). Il y a quelques rares occurrences avec les épithètes gascon et breton, mais les palefrois norrois sont de toute évidence les montures préférées des dames. Nous avons trouvé quelques exemples où ils sont montés par des hommes (voir supra, Dole, 2174-7)" :

"Rough Translation: In a considerable number of examples where a lady goes on a palfrey, the Norse epithet is tacked to this term. We assume it refers to small Norwegian horses (especially since there are also instances using the epithet small). There are few occurrences with Gascon and Breton epithets but the Norse palfreys are obviously a favorite of the ladies. We found a few examples where they are mounted by men."
Quotes from French literature:

Mais, ensi qu’il se combatoient, atant es vous vers aus venir
une damoisele sour un palefroi noirois (...) TP, vi, 118, 21-2.
Une courtoise damoisele,
Qui molt ert avenanz et bele,
Desus .i. palefroi norrois, Claris, 810-2. Cf. ib., 23718-9.
Gui dist à Ayglentine, le preus et le courtois :
’Damoisele, brochiés le palefroi norrois — Gui de N., 1487-8.
Rois Loth et rois Baudemagus
Sont vers Blanchandine venus,
Par la regne la vont prenant
Del noirois palefrois amblant. Floriant, 6007-10.
Desor un palefroi norrois Blancandin, 685.
A tant en vont andui ensamble,
La mule la damoisele amble
Plus tost c’uns palefrois norois. Cont. P., i, 1887-9.
De l’un un palefroi norrois Erec, 2386. Cf. ib., 2615 ; 4126.

Source : http://www.europeana.eu/portal/record/2021301/DAAEB4C5374CAC44A223EA2607E6A6A91EE7CFFC.html?start=24&query=medieval+horses+&qf=TYPE:TEXT&startPage=1&rows=24
Ah, but you might say that the term Norrois refers to the breed Norwegian Fjord.  To the best of my knowledge, this breed has never been gaited.  And, believe it or not Charles Dickens can help us more closely determine the source of Norrois horses.  He quotes M. Francisque-Michel, a French author, as placing the origin of the Norrois horses, famous in the 13th century, as orginating in the Orkney Islands or Greenland.  I wonder if the author could have confused Iceland with Greenland?

I have to admit that these Norrois  horses are still a hit with the ladies.  ;-) 

Source: Bentley's Miscellany, Volume 53 Charles Dickens, William Harrison Ainsworth, Albert Smith,-- “Horses and Studs in France, “Richard Bentley publisher, 1863

Monday, July 1, 2013

How to Register an Icelandic Horse

There are many reasons to register your Icelandic horse with the United States Icelandic Horse Congress.  The registration paper shows proof of ownership.  You can trace individual horses through WorldFengur, the global Icelandic horse registry.   Since DNA is required from registered parents, you can prove that your horse is a purebred Icelandic.  A registered horse tends to sell for more money than a grade horse.  And if you breed, registration adds value to the offspring.  But the most important reason is that a registered horse has a better chance in life—more likely to be rescued from a feedlot, more likely to find a responsible home.  If the horse unfortunately goes to auction or kill buyer and the papers go with the horse, your name is on the paperwork so that somebody can contact you about a rescue.