Saturday, October 19, 2013

Certifying Icelandic Horses for Leisure Riding

Haraldur Þórarinsson, president of the Horse Clubs Association in Iceland, reported in Eidfaxi about a presentation given by Silvie Rizo from France that he listened to at the 2013 FEIF annual meeting in Strasbourg.  Rizo discussed the formal certification process available in her country to grade all breeds of horses by gait and temperament for leisure riding.

Dannelle adjusts her headband before replacing
her helmet and continuing her trail ride on Blessi.

Approximately 80% of the riders in France are leisure riders and most are middle aged women who ride as a hobby.  These riders are especially interested in purchasing safe, dependable horses that they can be sure are not dangerous.  Horse owners in France pay for this certification since it adds resale value to their horses.  

As Þórarinsson cautions, "We should not forget that Gunnar Bjarnason marketed the Icelandic horse first and foremost as an affordable and a dependable family horse and this is how the horse became as wide spread as it is. We have perhaps forgotten ourselves a bit by concentrating on the competition- and show horse, which is good and valid by itself. But the prerequisite for new persons practicing horse riding to some extent is that ordinary people can find manageable horses and affordable facilities."

Do you think that other countries could benefit from setting up a similar certification program for horses?  How do you think Icelandics would compare with other breeds?  Do you think this would help show the value of the Icelandic horse?

You can read the entire article at:

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