Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SCA tokens--the garter buckle

When you attend a SCA event, you are given a token to wear when you sign in to prove that you have paid for the event and signed the appropriate authorizations.  Tokens that I have been given ranged from a glass jar of honey to a bead to a charging mounted knight.  The token for this tournament was particularly attractive--a miniature garter buckle decorated with a horse used to hold up hose.  I will be wearing this token frequently as a piece of jewelry.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blessi and the Lewis Chessmen Blanket

I am asking Blessi to walk on to compete at the
ring joust.--hence my slightly forward seat.
One of the knights from the Lewis Chessmen--Wikipedia
My persona in the SCA Jófriđr Mánadőttir is of course a woman living in Iceland around 1100.  I am trying to create more historically accurate garb and tack.  For the latest tournament, I made a saddle blanket inspired by the Lewis Chessmen.  The blanket is blue wool with a card -oven braid in red and greens and yellow.

Found on a Scottish island in 1831, these ivory chesspieces were carved in Norway or Iceland (academics are still debating the source) in the 1100s.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is this pacey, trotty or clear tolt?

Difference Between Pace, Stepping Pace, and Smooth Gait (updated 2014) from Ivy Schexnayder on Vimeo.

Ivey Schexnayder speicalizes in the training of gaited horses with a background in "trick training, natural dressage, classical dressage, endotapping, and clicker training."   She created this video and graciously said that I could feature it on Blessiblog.  Here she shows--in slow motion and normal speed--showing how to determine the difference between:

- pace (pacey tolt)                    -- Beat starting with left hind is 1 - 2 - - 3 - 4
- stepping pace (trotty tolt)      --  Beat is                                    1 - - 2 - 3 - - 4
- clear beat gait or rack or tolt --  Beat is                                    1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Note flying pace in the Icelandic horse is a totally different gait in which the hooves on the same side of the horse strike the ground almost simultaneously. 

If you are thinking of buying a gaited horse or starting to evaluate your own horse's gait to determine how to improve it, you will appreciate this video.

Ivey has more help available at her web site at:  http://www.ivyshorses.com/

Keep in mind that how even the beat of the tolt/rack is can be impacted by many factors at that point in time such as amount of training, natural ability, quality of training, age of horse, conformation of horse, etc.  Very often a good trainer can help you improve the quality of the gait of your horse.

I wish FEIF or USIHC would create some educational videos like this.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Icelandic Horses in the Peasant Revolt of 1381 Dcoumentary

In 1381, peasants revolted in multiple areas in Britain possibly due to high taxes, discontent with the recent Hundreds Year war, and social unrest after the Black Death.  Ok, there probably weren't any Icelandic horses in the Peasant Revolt of 1381 in England.  However, ambling horses of a certainty would have been ridden.

Mike Loades hosted a documentary for the BBC on the Peasants' Revolt. In it, riders rode heavy draft breeds to re-create the route the rebels took.  For only one day, they switched to Icelandic horses, representing the amblers of the time.  Interestingly they covered more ground and in much more comfort than when riding the larger horses.  You can view this segment from 45:38 to 48:30 below.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stop Action Photographs of Lord Ivan and Blessi Jousting

Here are a series of photos showing the sequence of the horse and rider and they joust.  It is amazing to watch how far and wide and high the styrofoam tips fly.

Here is a link to the Madrone Equestrian Guild showing proper lance technique when tilting at the quintain--which is similar to that in jousting.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lord Ivan and Blessi Tilt at the Uneven Heads

In this game, the rider needs to knock off 3 heads a different heights using a lance.  The first head is on a pole over 8 feet and ideally lower the lance to knock off the head at around 3 feet.  The rider goes round the list and makes a run for the third head at an in-between height.  Most riders require a second run to get the lower head.  Blessi decided he would not canter on the first approach.  He offered a pacey tolt, which enabled Lord Ivan to get the second head but cost him some points.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lord Ivan and Blessi Compete at the Quintain

Hitting the quintain is a skill preparing the horse and rider for jousting.  This event is scored by the number of times the shield spins.  The faster the horse goes and the more accurately the "sweet spot" of shield is hit, the more times the shield spins.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lord Ivan and Blessi--The Jousting Oath

Before competing at jousting, the fighters must swear an oath to the judges to compete honorably.  Here Lord Ivan swears but Blessi is bored so he tries to get his friend Phil to play with him--or give him treats.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lord Ivan and Blessi--The Empris Challenge

In the Empris tournament, the challenger rides to the judges and his herald declaims the fighter's accomplishments and what challenges he is going to compete at.  You will see the marshall strike the shield listing the challenges such as jousting, birjas, etc.  Now if we could only teach Blessi to bow as the flag is dropped.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MCOA or hereditary eye defect in Silver Dapples

What does a cave painting have to do with
eye defects?  Follow the link to the page above
and find out.  Photo source: Wikipedia
What do you know about MCOA (or ADL) an eye disease associated with the silver dapple color.  I added a new page above that describes:

- how the disease affects the equine eye
- how age impacts equine vision
- as high as 50% occurrence in Kentucky mountain and Rocky Mountain horses due to colors of foundation stallions
- since silver dapple gene has a dilution effect how this impacts disease for silver blacks, silver bays, etc.
- silver dapple gene does not impact chestnut color but disease does
- suggestions when considering buying a silver dapple

In conclusion,  you might want to have the vet pay special attention to the eye during a pre-purchase exam but otherwise certainly keep the silver dapple color in mind as a possibility.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Musical Reflection along the Ocean of Western Iceland

The video doesn't seem to list the name of the group but the music is dreamy and the scenery is enchanting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blessi as Rod Stewart

Blessi has a new pasture neighbor.  Otto is a 2-year old paint stallion who is very friendly but likes to do some hair dressing on the side.  Here is Otto's attempt to make Blessi look like Rod Stewart circa early 1980s.  Can you sing "Maggie May?"

You may also notice Blessi has some discharge from his eye.  He is under a vet's care for an irritated eye.  Believe me this looks so much better than it did two weeks ago.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Icelandic Horse Photography--Gígja Einarsdottir

This video shows a montage of the incredible photographs of the Icelandic Horse taken by Gigja Einarsdottir. In some of the photos, the horses remind me of equine angels. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Jessy was bathing her year-old stallion Blue, who is exceedingly well behaved.  She spends a lot of time working with him.  Jessy dropped the sponge on the floor and Cinderfellow, er Blue decided to scrub the floor.  I wonder if Blue would like to come to my house and clean the kitchen floor.

Friday, September 5, 2014

If Foals Could Only Talk

I can't embed a video so I have included a link.  Somebody produced a video of what foals really think about training...and you.  Well worth watching for the chuckle factor.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Blessi changed my life

I so appreciate Blessi.  He is such a wonderful horse and he gives me courage to try so many things such as mounted archery, cattle sorting, mounted shooting, ring jousting....that I would never even attempt on another horse.  This video by Zoe Wille so captures the love of a special horse.