Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Norse Jewelry from Raymond Quiet

Raymond Quiet is an artist specializing in making historically accurate reproductions Norse, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, etc. jewelry and armor pieces. His work is exquisite. I own several pieces--turtle brooches, needle case. Plus I have Rus buckles to make another bridle. Kathy and I met him at Viking Days in Ballard. So if you are interested, here is the link.

To the right is a photo of Raymond's Viking horses on Turtle Brooches used on a Norse apron.  The horse projections were used to attach ribbons.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Viking Cats

Blessi and his honorary Viking
cat Mittens
Did you know that there were Viking cats? As per a study reported in Scientific America, researchers
examined the mtDNA of 200 cats dating from 15,000 to 300 years ago.

Cats were associated with humans from the beginning of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, probably helping to control the rat and mice populations. One wave of cats came out of this area; the other, from Egypt. "Thousands of years later, cats descended from those in Egypt spread rapidly around Eurasia and Africa. A mitochondrial lineage common in Egyptian cat mummies from the end of the fourth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. was also carried by cats in Bulgaria, Turkey and sub-Saharan Africa from around the same time. Sea-faring people probably kept cats to keep rodents in check, says Geigl, whose team also found cat remains with this maternal DNA lineage at a Viking site dating to between the eighth and eleventh century A.D. in northern Germany."

As Pontus Skoglund, a geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, states, “I didn’t even know there were Viking cats.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Baldur Jumping Almost Three Feet

Here is a video of the tremendously cute, blue-eyed Baldur and his wonderful rider jumping 80 cm and then 90 cm (almost 3 feet) at a canter. Interestingly his jumps get bolder at the greater height.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Driving a Caravan Through Ireland

This is on my bucket list. Who wants to go to Ireland to drive a Gypsy Caravan across the country side for a week?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Saving the Faroe Pony

The Faroese pony, which averages from 11 to 12 hands, is native to its eponymous island of origin. Like the Icelandic, this breed can tolt, has abundant mane and tail and coat in winter, and is agile over rough terrain.  It was used to carry loads on farms and herd sheep.

 I remember reading in one source written around 1900 that compared the horse and pony breeds of Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, etc., that the Faroe pony was regarded as being smarter than the other breeds since, not only was it used to herd sheep, but it would trap sheep between its legs to move an individual.

In the 1880s, there were 800 such horses on the Island but the population was severely reduced due to exports to the coal mines for use as pit ponies and the changing needs of the farmers on the island.  By the 1960s, there were 5 or 6 known purebreds.  Today there 85 purebreds left because of a strong rescue effort to save the equine heritage of the island, as the above video explains. As of 2017, there are 307 registered Icelandics on the island.

You can view the subtitles to this video by clicking the closed caption button.
Source of most info is Wikipedia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Crocheting an Icelandic Horse Keychain Holder

Here are cute directions for crocheting an Icelandic horse to use as a key chain. Skip to the last 10 seconds of the video to see how cute the results are. Don't worry subtitles are in English.
I wish I had paid more attention when my Grandmother taught me to crochet. I wish I had spent more time with my grandparents period.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Flooding Vs. Desensitizing Your Horse

Over the years, Blessi has taught me that helping a horse to overcome a scary situation can be done in two different ways. Systematic desensitization chunks down the situation and gradually introduces the scary item (Blessi prefers treats being involved) in stages acceptable to the horse. Flooding involves overwhelming the horse with the stimuli to until the horse shuts down and does what the human wants. Here's a great explanation of the two methods and why only one of them is Blessi-approved.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Development of Icelandic Horse Image Over the Years

Gréta Vilborg Guðmundsdóttir wrote her thesis "Product or Being? Development of the Image of the
Icelandic Horse" for her Masters of Design, The Department of Design and Architecture, Iceland Academy of the Arts. She examines the history of the image of the Icelandic horse and investigates how the breed is becoming almost synonymous with the image of a high-stepping tolting horse at the expense of the reliable, all terrain family horse.

Per Guðmundsdóttir, "Constructing this narrow image of the international competitive toelter horse creates the danger of losing the valuable abilities of the Icelandic horse that had developed over 1100 years. The main characteristics of the Icelandic horse that make it in demand are, among others, its frugality and friendliness, vigour and endurance. Considering its size it is unbelievably strong and compares well with other horse breeds."

She categorizes the photos of horses shown in 327 issues of Eiðfaxi magazine between 1978-2012 to find that in 2003 to 2006, photos of horses tolting comprised 70% of all horse photos. "At this time the expansion of the economy was greatest and money streamed into the field. There is a strong demand for stepping high and almost all the stallions are shown in the symbolic toelt stance." She notes this trend dropped during the following recession but re-occurred during 2011 to 2012.

Guðmundsdóttir also interviewed 10 professionals and people generally interested in the Icelandic horse breed in Iceland about their image of the Icelandic horse and how it has changed over the past 20 years. "But in the same way all share worries that great emphasis is placed on competitive characteristics and high-stepping. To get this high-stepping ability it is necessary that the horse has a certain character that the general rider cannot cope with. The high-stepping toelter horse therefore is not suitable for the average rider nor for the increasing number of foreign tourists who want to enjoy riding their own horse out in Iceland’s impressive  natural environment. The interviews also revealed that with the present breeding objectives we are losing those traits that best characterise the Icelandic horse, traits that do not turn only on gait and appearance."

Not everybody is going to agree with Guðmundsdóttir's conclusions but her research does present some interesting topics for discussion. And it is not often one reads about the Icelandic horse from the perspective about societal norms about beauty and how the economy can drive marketing images. Besides her final project of a life sized, transparent sculpture of an Icelandic horse is beauty indeed.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

SCA Arts and Sciences Day--Norse Bridle Reconstruction

I went to my first Arts and Sciences Day at SCA
Dragonslaire. The purpose is for people to get together to share and work on projects. As you can tell, I went way overboard on the sharing part by creating a posterboard presentation on my reconstruction of two bridles found in Norse ship burials--one in Sweden and one in Norway.
I think I went way overboard but it was a lot of fun to meet people and see all the wonderful projects on which they are working.
A special shout out to Countess Ilaria who provides inspiration and background knowledge on her web site about how to make period bridles. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Intrinzen--To the Moon

To the moon from Seriouspony on Vimeo.
Kathy Sierra and Steiner Sigurbjornsson are leading the Intrizen group to develop a new way of working with the horse to develop its pride, agility, and fitness through positive reinforcement and a sense of play. So instead of chasing the horse with a longe whip, what if you rewarded the horse for chasing a plastic bag and then shaped that behavior to high leg lift? Icelandics aren't known for their baroque movements or collected canter but you can see some of the results in this video. Five gaiters are developing the most amazing, springy trot and four gaiters are volunteering loose rein tolt. I really need to get serious on starting this program with Blessi.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Tall heights Horse to Water

"Leadin' me back from the darkness like you do
 Leading me back like a horse to water knowing I'd refuse
'Cause you're a wanderer too"

Douglas doVale published this beautiful song with its haunting words and and melody accompanies by the spectacular scenery of Iceland.