Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fairy Tales and Icelandics

How many little girls want to dress up and play Cinderella with her pony?  Icelandics are the perfect partner for this endeavor.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Young Icelandic is Weaned

Leao, a young Icelandic horse, is being weaned from his mother.  He is remarkably calm.  Gydjulind, the owner, has set up a really good process.

The last time Blessi served as an "uncle" during the weaning process, the mare and filly called for each other continuously for days.  Poor baby!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mounted Archery Against Zombies

Cayden, who is in the second grade, got to ride Blessi and shoot imaginary arrows against the zombies who were attacking the stable.  Not a single zombie made it into the arena.


Cayden also got to practice "jousting" with a pool noodle.  On the ride home, Cayden said that Blessi was "the best horse a knight could ever have."  


Cayden was also impressed about how much I knew about knights since knights lived long ago and I am not old enough to have lived in that time.  What a nice compliment.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mounted Archery Arrives in Iceland

Pettra Engeländer from Germany is in Iceland giving mounted archery lessons.  

"Pettra Engeländer is looking back on a long career in horseback archery. The former dancer had been dwelling with nomads in Mongolia, and later, related to a practical research project, with a group of horses in a mongolian tent. She has been an internationally successful horseback archer, who withdrew from active sports while studying asian martial arts with masters. Today the deep mental connection and energy flow between horse and rider, enabling the rider to shoot an arrow, is of more importance to her." 

Pettra uses her background in martial arts to teach a way of relating to the horse using horse aikido, creating a bond of oneness with the horse and guiding it with seat and legs rather than reins.

So it looks like Blessi and I are ahead of the training fashion in Iceland since we have been experimenting with mounted archery for two years.  Of course, to be honest I ride Blessi at a walk and shoot a toy bow with arrows armed with suction cups.  ;-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tyr Draws with a Stick

Icelandics are really smart horses.  Tyr is captured "drawing" with a stick.  I bet he is trying to write "More carrot".

Icelandic horse (Tyr) draws with a stick from Helga Sveinsdottir on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail

Those Icelandic horses are tough!  Shelby one of the stable workers said there was a big hail storm at the
This photo is from Wikipedia since I don't
have photos from the actual storm.
ranch last week that covered the ground with hailstones.  There was neither rain nor hail where I live.  Typical Pacific Northwest weather--if you don't like it drive 10 miles and it will change.

Shelby said all the workers were running to the pastures to get the horses to the barn because they were freaking at getting hit by the large size hail stones---except for Blessi who was raised in Iceland.  As she was leading him in, he wasn't at all concerned with getting hit by the hail stones.  He kept stopping to grab some last minute bites of grass.    Shelby said it hurt a lot to be hit by the hail.  What's a little hail to an Icelandic.
Blessi to whom almost nothing is more important
than eating.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dancing in Iceland

I want to go to Iceland and just dance under the aurora borealis, moon walk in front of a glacier, do the the wave in front of a herd of Icelandics.  Of course, I can't dance, I really can't, so if I made a video like this it would be titled "Tripping and Falling my Way through Iceland" especially considering the footing.

Iceland Dance Party from Seth Willingham on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I have an incurable psychological disorder

I can't believe that scientists have a name for the sickness that so many of us adult women have.  The symptoms include:
- incorporating our horses as part of our self image
- idealizing our horses
- viewing our horse as part of our identity
- admiring our horse as part of that dual identity
- seeing our horse as our twin

The syndrome is called  "Horse as Self Object."  Even with the diagnosis of a psychologist, I think I have a very bad case of this disease.

Source:  Older, wiser and less likely to worship their horse: the value of self-objects in horse-human relationships Inga Wolframm*, Joana Brandes, and Ananja Stehouwer, University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Larenstein, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blessi and the Carrot Cake

To celebrate Equus accepting my article for publication, Blessi got to try carrot cake (human style) for the first time.  He liked it so much he almost ate the plate.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What I Learned from Teddy Roosevelt--to appear in Equus Magazine

My article "What I Learned from Teddy Roosevelt" will be published by Equus Magazine!!!!  TR obviously was quite a horseman and had a special relationship with several horses during his life.  Although he never wrote an essay on horsemanship, he sprinkled some fascinating comments about horse training through out his works.  As I read his reflections, I was struck by how relevant these observations were to training and understanding horses today.  The article represents my attempt to compare his methods with what current research indicates are best practices in horse training. I think Teddy Roosevelt would have been very interested in what scientists are finding out about equine learning and behavior.  

For example, Roosevelt understood that feeding a well timed treat could help the horse adapt to novel situations.  His young horse Renown was extremely frightened of automobiles encountered during rides in Washington DC.  On one ride the young horse behaved better than expected upon meeting a large red automobile.  “In fact,” as Roosevelt explained, “he behaved so well that I leaned over and gave him a lump of sugar when he had passed the object of terror—the old boy eagerly turning his head around to get it.”  (Roosevelt, 1919, p. 69)   

Here is a link to a video from the Library of Congress of Teddy, who was in his 50s, riding his horse Sidar at the Roosevelt summer home Sagamore Hill. Notice how he feeds a sugar cube to Sidar, I suspect because the horse may be afraid of the huge camera used in the early 1900s. 

Equus is one of the big 4 magazines on horses and riding.  It is sold by the major bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and at tack stores.  Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote Seabiscuit and Unbroken, is one of the contributing editors.

I even managed to sneak a reference to Icelandic horses into the article.  

Roosevelt, T.  (1919).  Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children,  New York, Charles Scribner's sons.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Behind the Scenes -- Icelandic Fakasel Icelandic Horse Park Iceland

Someday I have to go to Iceland.  One of my must sees will be Fakasel, the Icelandic Horse Park.  Here is a video showing what happens back stage.  I am always amazed at how calm the Icelandic horses are.  I bet there is a lot more horse energy at Cavalia.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When your cat says " I heart you"

Merci my Burmese cat knocked a book  to the ground.  When I found it, she was standing over it and playing with the pages.  Look what she did to the page!  I think it means that she loves me--or perhaps her food bowl was empty.  One can never tell with cats.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sleipnir the dressage Icelandic

Rona V. is teaching Sleipnir the Icelandic some dressage. Very nicely done. I suspect that most Icelandics find the lateral work easier than the collected canter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Motivate Blessi to Exercise

Maymo the dog likes carrots almost as much as Blessi.  If I could just design this a little bigger and put it in a round pen......

Sunday, April 5, 2015

2014 Small Farmers Journal Auction --Part 11 of 11

Here are the two circingles that I bought for Blessi.  They were in a bucket of goodies--3 bridles, 4 sets of chaps, martingales, 2 halters, saddle soap, brushes, and a bunch of other stuff--that I bought for $40.
I got Blessi two sets of harnesses.  This is a show harness which I got for $120. 
This sleigh went for $500.
Surrey--highest bid was $4500 but was no sale.

Friday, April 3, 2015

2014 Small Farmers Journal Auction--Part 10

This was a modern California version of a Meadowbrook.  It went for $500.  The
large version went for $1200.
White vis-a-vis by Roberts used for carriage rides in Seattle.  Distressed sale.
Went for $2500
Carriages being pulled up to the auction area.  People were allowed to sit in carriages and
audience members volunteered to sit in the carriages.  Kids had a blast.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2014 Small Farmers Journal Auction Part 9

This original and pristine carriage was owned by one of the Washington railroads.  It was used to carry passengers from
the railroad stop to an associated hotel  This thing came bubble wrapped on a trailer.  Final bid was $22000.  It was bought by an
agent who buys carriages for use in Western movies.
Close up of the back window.
Some Oregon ranchers

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2014 Small Farmers Journal Auction--Part 8

I loved the new and antique sleigh bells that were auctioned off periodically.  They always went for a high price.  The auctioneer called them out as "for two" meaning that whatever you bid was multiplied by two since the bells came in sets of two.   It is easy to how you can be surprised at how much you spend at an auction.