Sunday, April 29, 2018

Woman and Horse Introduce Icelandic Sagas

This rider and her lovely Icelandic horse provide a brief intro to the Icelandic sagas--who doesn't love a great story about family feuds, revenge, love, fantastic adventures.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Unique View of Iceland

Edgar Granados used a drone and time lapse photography to give you a different view of Iceland. Jenny, daughter of the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Morris, described Iceland as "the land of trolls and awful once overpoweringly beautiful and overpoweringly melancholy."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Equilab -- Fitbit for horses

Just found out about this free app Equilab which tracks training time, energy consumption, time spent in each gait, etc., by horse ride.  You can select Icelandic as one of the options for an individual horse.  The app will probably work for any gaited horse that racks/ambles from Tennessee Walkers to Peruvian Pasos.  I wonder how if it could handle a fox trot?    If you select "Icelandic," Equilab displays how much time was spent in walk, trot, canter, and tolt at the end of each ride.

Magnús Skúlason recommends it and he is a World Championship rider of Icelandics.  Plus I found two master theses from universities in Sweden based on graduate students refining the software of Equilab to better track gait.

I needed to upload ios11 on my iPhone to get the Icelandic version.  (Not sure how this works on Android phones.)  The user sets up a profile for each horse indicating desired weight, weight of tack, weight of rider.  The user turns on the app when the ride starts and it tracks the path ridden, time, and how much time spent on each gait.  Some reviews indicate that Equilab does not always accurately track gait but considering the gait salad that some horses demonstrate, this is probably to be expected.  Think of the app as fitbit for horses.

Has anybody used this app with gaited horses?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Finesse of Wool Designations

Lana, laine, wolle, and ull are important words to know. Why, because these all mean wool in
Italian/Spanish, French, German, and Icelandic/Norwegian respective. I haunt thrift stores looking for premium fabric for my sewing projects at budget prices. Here is find from yesterday--fine weave, 140s wool made in Italy. This 2.5 yard of 66 inch wide material cost me $6. Just enough material to make a Victorian riding jacket.

The 140s refers to an international designation representing the fineness of the wool. Per Wikipedia, "The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) defines the S number by correlation to maximum fiber diameter. For example, 80s must have maximum fiber diameter of 19.75 micrometres or finer and 90s, 19.25 micrometres or finer. This scale continues to the 210s at 13.25 micrometre or finer. Thus each step of ten (as from 80s to 90s or 90s to 100s) corresponds to 0.5 micrometre less in allowed maximum fiber diameter." In other words, the higher the number the finer or thinner the wool. In my thrift shopping, I found a small piece of 150S wool fabric made in Australia that was so thin it was almost see through.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Regency Spencer Jacket

Ha! I finished my first Regency piece of garb--a Spencer jacket based on McCalls pattern 7493. What is nice about this pattern is that it has some historic sewing touches plus the directions are easy to follow if you have some sewing experience.

I used a fabric that kind of looks like velvet, if you don't get too close, to work with. Covered buttons were quite period. Notice that the period Spencer sleeves are made of two pieces and have a built in curve to them; they are fitted, very long, with a gathered cap. 

close--the intent was to have a washable piece. I would recommend using a lighter weight fabric, a light wool or silk or cotton, since the thicker material is harder to sew with when gathering sleeves and making pleats.
In the back, shoulder seams don't appear at the top of the shoulder but down a few inches on the back--note the kind of keystone shape to the center back piece. And I love the peplum in the back.
If I wanted to, I could wear this jacket with a period white muslin or cotton dress and it would be a riding outfit suitable for riding over grass. (Not fond of the docked tails on the horses.)

Thanks to Anissa/Alexis' help, I have selected a lovely lavender gray wool for a full riding outfit. Eventually I want to make the outre Regency riding outfit with the funky hat that is shown with this post--must be based on some sort of period military uniform.

If you are interested in Regency fashion, there are some great
on-line resources. Here are a few of them:…/regency-fashion-d…/

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Wicking ability of wool pads

Several years ago I decided to make my own saddle pads entirely out of wool or wool blends (or a
layer of cotton over one or more layers of wool). Almost all commercial English saddle pads have a layer of foam between the cloth interior and exterior, which does not wick away sweat and heat as well as wool. As you can see by the photos, Blessi sweated quite a bit during his workout (need to renew his hunter trim) but his back was dry and not overheated. Let's hear it for those lovely sheep!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Blessi Plots with the Cats

I think Blessi is bribing the barn cats. As I was leading him back to the barn for untacking today, first
Superkitty and then Hector waylaid us with incessant cries for attention. Of course, I have to respond and, of course, Blessi gets to eat grass as I pet the cats.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Riding Pace Like a Jockey

The Horses of Iceland organization is publishing a series of interviews of Icelandic horse riders.  Charlotte Cook, the Queen of Pace, is "the reigning world champion in pace from 2017."  She rides jockey style rather than using the traditional long stirrup style.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Icelandic Horses Treking Through Transylvania

I thought this might have been a joke at first--Icelandic horse trekking through Transylvania. No, this looks like a fantastic vacation riding these hairy, tolting beasties through medieval villages, wonderful landscapes, and cattle herds. At one point, the guide carries a pistol, not loaded with silver bullets for the vampires, but to scare the bears. And there is singing, dancing, and drinking in the evenings. Some of the Icelandics even get to go into the beer halls.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mastiff Participates in Dog Agility

I absolutely adore this video. The owner and the English mastiff are so happy competing in agility at their own speed. And the crowd cheers them on. We could learn a lot from this about understanding our horses as we ask them to perform different activities that may or may suit their personalities.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination

"Be afraid, be very afraid." Who can forget that moment in the movie The Fly when we see the ear fall off Dr. Seth Brundle, played by Jeff Goldblum, as part of his transformation into a fly? Science fiction abounds in tales of mad scientists--Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Moreau, Dr. Jekyll. But who has ever heard of a mad political scientist?

In his short story "A More Perfect Union," L.E. Modesitt, Jr., who has worked for 20 years in politics among his other occupations, describes tongue-in-cheek how a political scientist/campaign manager in 2067 plots the rise of politician William Lester, not to the US Presidency, but to the head of the North American Union, which is gaining in importance since rising sea level has driven much of the US population to Canada. 

Asked what services a mad political scientist can provide, the narrator explains, "I use academic and other research methods to gain the maximum positive emphasis for whomever I work for, and the maximum negative exposure for his opponent. That's the polite way of putting it. Everything is aboveboard and clean in the dirtiest way possible with no fingerprints." Or to be succinct, "Old fashioned results with no legal fuss."

Modesitt probably wrote this story in 2011 or 2012 since it was published in the 2013 anthology "The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination.". What is scary is how prescient Modesitt is about how social media and the web can be used to manipulate elections. Webchures target various voter niches such as voter group 1-A Beta "undecided, highly educated, religiously affiliated, self-identified, self-made professionals." Photos in Webchures are very subtly enhanced to make a happily married political opponent and his male staff seem suggestively closer and more interested in each other than the paperwork they are examining. Speeches are tailored to the specific audience being addressed.
"Now, an old-line news analyst of the past century might have caught a certain lack of philosophical consistency, but after the passage of the revised Freedom of Information Act of 2040 by the U.S. Congress, which affirmed the right of every citizen to the news of his or her choice, unhampered by contradictory facts, none of the 207 different news channels had a news analyst interested in such, since hiring anybody for such a position might have subjected them to civil action under the FOIA [revised]."

The editor categorized this mad scientist tale under Rule 1776: "A real genius can fool all the people all the time." Is this where we are heading?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Peasants Revolt of 1381 Reenactment

During the Middle Ages, wealthy and noble travelers rode ambling horses. Knights had their squires lead or perhaps ride their destriers or warhorses because of the discomfort of riding a trot over long distances--especially since posting to the trot wasn't discovered until late 1700s.

Tony Robinson's special on the Peasants Revolt of 1381 is fascinating. As part of the investigation, Mike Lodes (not sure of spelling) leads relays of horses to re-enact the peasant leaders' ride from Canterbury to London. For most of the trek, riders are mounted on what looks like draft or draft crosses. But at minute 45:26, Mike and his team "put on a sprint thanks to some authentic medieval technology, they switch horses." The team mounts the much smaller Icelandic horses, which are close to the medieval amblers considering their history, and ride a fast 18 mile amble with the horses just as "fresh and spritely" at the end as when they started. Mike demonstrates what an amble is and why it would be more comfortable for horse and rider over long, rough roads. At 13 to 14 hands, Icelandics are much closer in height to the average horse ridden in the early Middle Ages.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Link to My Equus Article "Riding with Theodore Roosevelt"

Pressreader has selected my Equus article for international distribution.  You can read the entire article about Theodore Roosevelt (without most of the illustrations) via this link. Note there are a lot of typos in this version due to conversion from print to online.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Creating the Neohippus Breed

A North Dakota breeder Jill Langford is creating a controversial new breed called Neohippus, an attempt to breed back to an early horse ancestor called the New Dawn horse, the one with two extra toes behind the fetlock.

Ms. Langford was starting up a pony rescue when she adopted a stud colt named Bubba. “He was some kind of pony cross,” Langford said. “I’m pretty sure there was some POA in him, maybe something gaited and hairy, like an Icelandic. He would be really spooky one day, and the next he’d think he was king of the mountain and try to take you down. One thing for sure is that he was a mean little guy! We called him Beelzebub, or Bubba for short.” Bubba also has 2 extra toes on each fetlock and managed to breed every mare on the farm. After careful cross selection with other primitive pony breeds such as the Tarpan and the Exmoor, there are now 300 registered horses in this rare registry.

PLEASE EXAMINE THE DATE THIS WAS POSTED--There is something about the first of April you should consider.