Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Woman Confirmed as Norse Warrior

A Forbes article is being shared via Facebook about research showing that a female Viking warrior
has been proven via DNA. She was buried with weapons, a mare, and a stallion. Here is how young girls start to discover their inner Viking warriorhood at the Icelandic Horse Booth at the 2017 Washington State Fair. Photo by Judy Skogen.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Preferences in Horse Color Change Over Time

Here's a great article on how cultural preferences through time have affected the prevalence of horse color. Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research studied DNA horses through the ages. During the Bronze Age and Iron Ages (2700 BC to 400 AD) the number of horse colors detected increased from 6 to 9 with spotted and dilute horses being common. During the Middle Ages, solid color horses, especially chestnuts, were preferred, possible due to Biblical references to the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. 

Scientists admit their samples may have been biased since horses analyzed were associated with the noble class. As reader, I noted that the sample size was very small around 107 horses. Plus artwork from the early and late middle ages show notable examples of spotted horses. Examples: spotted horse shown on needlework from from Baldishol Church in Norway circa early 1200s or the 16th century Hunts of Maximillian tapestries. I wonder how carefully the genetic researchers checked with historians and art historians on this topic.

For those Icelandic horse aficionados out there, finds indicate that the prevalence of spotted horses in Iceland today indicate that horses marked in this way were introduced after 11th century AD, this contradicting that horses were not imported into Iceland after the initial settlement.
“Strikingly, the Icelandic horses from the Viking Age show clear differences from their modern counterparts. 'The samples we analysed originated from graves around Iceland that date back to as early as the middle of the 9th century, shortly after Iceland was settled. These horses already carried the allele for Silver dapple (two of 19 individuals), a common trait in contemporary Icelandic horses, but they did not carry any alleles associated with spotted phenotypes, although such individuals are frequent in modern Icelandic horses. Therefore, we assume that spotted phenotypes were introduced after the 10th/11th century AD, which contradicts the popular claim that the import of horses to Iceland was prohibited for almost 1000 years.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Horse Powers, A Norwegian Film

Horse Power, From the Land of the Vikings is a film produced in Norway, that is scheduled to be released soon.  The documentary presents segments about Norwegians and horses--riding in a long distance race in Mongolia, a war veteran working with horses, and a family raising Icelandic horses in the traditional way.  Photography is spectacular.  Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Risk Factors in Laminitis

Some interesting research has come out on breed, body condition, high risk environments, and risk of laminitis.

Nanna Luthersson, DVM, and associates studied laminitis risk factors in horses in Denmark. "It confirmed that cold-blooded-type ponies less than 149 centimeters (58.7 inches, or 14.3 hands)—such as Shetlands, Welsh Ponies, Dartmoors, Fells, Icelandic horses, and Norwegian fjords—and those being kept on high-quality pasture experienced an increased risk of developing laminitis for the first time. The study also highlighted the important role that a change in grass intake—both type and amount—can play at any time of the year, not just during the spring as commonly thought."

In Britain, Nicola Menzies-Gow, MA, VetMB, PhD, and associates found that low concentrations of the hormone adiponectin combined with high serum insulin concentrations are associated with a higher risk a horse developing laminitis due to over grazing. In the future, vets may be able to test for susceptible horses.

In The Horse article listed below, Amber Krotky of Buckeye Nutrition lists recommendations for helping reduce the risk of laminitis for cold-blooded, short horses like Icelandics: Don't turn them out onto new, lush pasture; restrict access to unlimited grass all year long; increase exercise, etc.

Krotky mentions that horses like Icelandics can eat three times their nutritional needs in 24 hours on unrestricted pasture. When we lived on the east coast, Blessi tried to do that on the lush grass of Chester County near Philadelphia. He gained so much weight so fast he had to go in the pudgy pony pasture, ie, a bare pasture. And yes, we tried a grazing muzzle. Putting a grazzing muzzle on Blessi was like giving him a Rubic's Cube to play with. Eventually he got the muzzle off in under 30 seconds, not including the time it took him to roll on his back so he could use his front leg to pull off the muzzle.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine's Day--Icelandics Horse Create Heart in Snow

Here's a great photo by Max Lupidi of Icelandic horses forming a heart in the snow in Iceland--just for Valentines Day. Click on the link below to see the entire heart in the snow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

An Icelandic-Gypsy Vanner Driving Team

Here are Duke and Daisy, a really cute matched piebald driving team, who happen to be a cross between a Gypsy Vanner and Icelandic horses.  They are full siblings, aged 4 and 5.
Disclaimer:  I know nothing about these horses or their owners.  I am not an advocate for any purebred cross just trying to accumulate instances of "What happens if you cross and Icelandic with....."  You can see more examples by checking out search labels at the bottom of this screen.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Icelandic Horses Go Boating in Greenland

Greenland has lots of boats but not many roads. This is how they transport their Icelandic horses. And you think trailer loading can be difficult.

Photos from Greenland Today Facebook.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Determing Reading Level

For those of you who may be interested, I have published an essay on my other blog on how to determine the reading of level of your writing and compare it to other published books.  Do you know what the F-K Scale, Lexile scores, and ATOS are?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Blessi and the Boot

Blessi and I were enjoying a quiet moment at the stable tonight. I was sitting on the mounting block removing a stone from my boot. Blessi, who was loose, decided to check out my exposed sock covered with pumpkin faces. He has always been fascinated with what is hidden by people shoes.

Then he picked up my boot and started shaking it. I could see the twinkle in his eye as he considered running off with my boot. If I tried to grab the boot, he would have been more likely to run thinking it was a game. Perhaps he could earn a peanut. I would have had to limp through the deep, wet sand to get my boot or disturb the lesson in the indoor arena to ask somebody to retrieve my boot.

I pulled off my sock. He dropped the boot to check out my toes and I was able to grab my boot. I might have to teach him how to retrieve.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Blessi Liberty Work--value of peanut

My friend Judy and I decided to clicker train Blessi to trot over poles. Instead of applying pressure from behind, we offered him a click and a peanut from the front. Normally when Blessi is pressured to trot over the poles, he does it in a put-upon, sloppy, this is so stooopid manner. This our third attempt to get him to trot the poles for a peanut. Blessi offers much more enthusiasm, a bit of almost piaffe, and almost Spanish walk.

When we put the poles away, Blessi stood by the poles in the corner and refused to walk away. He really wanted us to come back and play some more.
Sorry for the small screen and darkness of the video. I never do well with another person's cell phone camera.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Maru Goes Sledding

For you Maru fans--Maru learns how to sled in Japanese snow.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Running Naked with the Horses in Iceland

Nick Turner takes self portraits of himself running naked with the horse herds in Iceland.  Blessi wants all my friends to know that he will not let me take self portraits in this style. He promises to "accidentally" knock my camera to the ground and break it if I try.   You'll have to click on the link to see the photos--tastefully taken.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hedgehog Day

In 2017, Fufu the Hedgehog at the Portland Zoo predicted an early spring for the Pacific Northwest. As the zookeeper informs us, the hedgehogs have a 50% success rate at predicting the onset of spring. Punxsutawney Phil the Ground Hog predicted a late spring this year, but his success rate is only 39%. So which hog are you going to hedge your bets with?