iceryder

Icelandic Horse Shows

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For about the last 12 years, I have been involved with Icelandic Horses; not the show scene, though. We trail ride, use natural horsemanship, and try to keep our horses happy and healthy.

We have always been a little bit outspoken at, what we feel are, bad equipment, poor riding, and poor training practices for the Icelandic Horse evaluations and competitions.

For the breeding evaluations, the gait should be natural, right? But with all the stuff added on, the gait ends up to be a mechanical manipulation.... not inheritable.

Our path during the past decade has been mostly traveled like the salmon swimming upstream :-)

But... I just found this blog that points out several of the problem areas in the Icelandic Horse show ring:

http://shameinthehorseshowring.blogspot.co...ies-on-ice.html

If you have a feeling one way or the other, post a comment.

Thanks!

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I don't agree with the saddles being so far back and on the horse's "kidneys". Whether they are on them or not, it looks quite uncomfortable. The same goes for many other gaited breeds.

I also don't understand why the must use so much contact and have the horse's head inverted. It looks like it would be difficult to breathe with the windpipe straight up.

Then again, all breeds/disciplines have their issues like this, you can only hope there will one day be improvement.

In some of those videos though, there were a few pictures where the horses were going around on a looped rein with no contact, and looked quite happy.

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>>In some of those videos though, there were a few pictures where the horses were going around on a looped rein with no contact, and looked quite happy.<<

Thanks for taking a look at the topic.

That's what we'd like all of them to look like!

99% should not have to suffer for the 1% that is OK.

I just rode my Icelandic down the river today, bareback, rope halter (no bit). I would like all Icelandics to be as comfortable being ridden.

Thanks for your comments! We appreciate your thoughts and time.

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I'll be interested to see what skotta has to say on this topic, since she lives in Iceland and raises Iceys.

HTTY & GBTUSA

BUMPER

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i dont know and actually dont think that this is related but it got me thinking, at the Equifest that i attend almost every year they do the breed profile things. THere is one breed thats seems to be a garrentee that someone will fall off... the Icelandics. related? i doubt it but just a thought from my random brain [Crazy]

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uuuhhhhhh.....i have to admit that i do find it a bit ironic that these types of complaints come from America, with all the issues your horse industry have to deal with...

i know of the page i guess you "come from"... iceryder.net right? basically you guys seem to hate everything connected to Iceland, eccept the fact that we, with our methods, manage to breed some of the best horses in the world.

to take a gaited horse, and compare it to a non gaited horse, when it comes to headset and saddle placement and so in, is like comparing apples and oranges. very very different.

For the breeding evaluations, the gait should be natural, right? But with all the stuff added on, the gait ends up to be a mechanical manipulation.... not inheritable.

what is added on? are you talking about the boots? 110 g on the front feet help most horses keep the beat of the gait. most go trotty without it...

belive me, i could add as many contraptions as i wanted, but most of my horses would never ever have the animation of a show horse.

the REASON why those horses look like they are being pulled on, is that they are doing the pulling. icelandics have been purposfully bred for foreward motion for 1000 years now, and the result is a horse that will never slow down, only speed up.

it is OBVIOUS that nor you OR this blogger know ANYTHING about what you are screaming about.

the bit shown in the first part of the blog is not legal in competition, so it is not connected to the show world in any way. horses on ice is a show group much like a circus.

as for the Icelandic, curb (satans number one minion?) The modern version of the Icelandic curb is still used today in competition or because some horses it prefer it. This bit is a hybrid of a snaffle and curb. It has long shanks and a curb chain, but the mouthpiece is often a snaffle mouth and the bridle usually attaches directly onto the mouthpiece rings. The mouth piece rings are fairly large so the cheek pieces of the bridle can round it as the curb is applied. In this way it is not as severe as pelham or weymouth curbs and has more of a snaffle gag effect plus some poll action. The Icelandic curb helps some horses to find the right head carriage and balance for the gaits but should only be used by experienced hands. witch this rider obviously has....

the first link in the blog? Iceys ARE small, but they are strong too. since it is our only breed, a guy with long legs does not exactly have a choise, but that is beside the point. the horse is MORE than capable to carry him all day long, and then all day tomorrow to...

the rest go on and on and on about people sizes.... well, there IS a reason it is called the icelandic "HORSE" they are acknowleged as horses because their strength way surpasses their size....

all in all... even IF a horse is ridden a sertan way during a 3 minute spin in the ring, does not make it abused (lets look at barrel racers shall we?, i could pull out alot of pretty pretty videos....) nor does it make the rider unknowlegeble about what he or she is doing. sitting back in the saddle frees up the shoulders and withers, lightens the front and pulls out those last margins that might win the show. when at a show, where many horses are ridden together (normally 3-4 horses are in the ring together) hyped up from being in a new place with new sounds and smells, and with a nervous rider and then add 1000 years of selective breeding for foreward pull, then yes, the horses lean on the bit. but i assure you, that even if the pictures do not show it, the riders ride that fine balance between soft hands and control. most horse people who know the icelandic breed well, will tell you that if they do not want to tolerate something, they wount. they are strong necked and strong jawed, and if they decide to leave the ring on their own accord, they do so...

personaly i have NOTHING nice to say about American icey-riders (RA, you know Sam is an exeption). i AM open to the fact that i just have not seen/met the right ones yet, but so far i have seen alot of riding, feeding and "bragging" about gaites ("look! my icey can t?lt" and then a video of a seriously overweight mare doing a steady, bumpy and very slow piggy pace, while wearing a western saddle that wery much restrict her shoulders and the skin inder her belly) that makes the average icelandic horse person laugh a little.....

oki, now the baby is awake, and i must go, even though i could go on and on and on.......

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Considering the tone of the article you posted, I dont take anyone serious who cant be serious. The author of that website is a flat out moron. Honestly if you want to make a difference, then you need to be mature and find a way to make a difference, not rant and rave on a website.

If someone is concerned about a type of discipline or horse, they need to go EDUCATE themselves about it. (First hand, not from a website like the one you posted.) Talk to some professionals and know what they are talking about before makeing blanket statements.

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That blogger is an idiot. I'm a little bit dumber just from reading it. That was worse than reading fugly when she's having a grumpy day. He didn't even do any research... just started blasting. That's what blog is for I guess... but don't link it here as a source of reference. It makes you look dumb too and, IMO, completely ruins any credibility you might have earned.

I can expect that even in Iceland you will find some things that tend to lean towards abuse but no more than the horrible things I've seen here in the states. I don't really know how these horses are trained and I've never gotten to meet one so I don't know anything about their disposition but I adore listening to Skjotta talk about her horses, her thoughts, the training practices... and anything else she wants to tell me. I would like to own an Icey myself someday. (preferably a little sorrel 3yr old with flaxen mane - ha ha) I guess I'd hope I wouldn't be one of those American Icey riders Skjotta is embarrassed to watch but I probably would be.

From what I've seen (which admittedly isn't much), the Iceys are treasured in Iceland.

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I didn't read the link... with the critique it got here I didn't think it necessary. :winking: I also no absolutely nothing about Icelandic horses, except that the best ones comes from Iceland... which should say something. I have a Paso Fino, not that it's the same, or that I know a lot about pasos, BUT there are a few things I have learned...

Paso Finos are, like Icelandic horses, smaller than most... they are, however, bred to carry heavy riders long distances. Back in the days the horse had to carry it's rider 50+ miles through rough terrain to the village, then turn around and go back home. If the horse wasn't able to go the next day again it was culled. Simple as that, some of these small breeds are much sturdier than we think.

I put my saddle farther back on my little 14.2 hh (and he's considered quite large) paso than I do on my 17.2 warmblood. My paso needs more shoulder clearance, if he doesn't get that he won't gait smoothly for me... So I place the saddle where he wants it.

When I ride my paso, I have worked SO HARD at having a "balanced seat". He can handle it in really slow gait with lots of knee action, but he cannot gait smoothly fast unless I push my weight back a bit and let my legs rest a tad forward from where I'd want them in dressage. Actually, with a "balanced seat" he struggles with the gait AND comes back much sweatier than with my weight further back.

As an English rider I don't understand what you have against having contact with the mouth... My paso seeks it even more than my warmblood, he wants it and keeps a very soft, light contact... if I don't give it to him he'd rather just run. I CAN ride him without contact, his 'breaks' are in the seat, but he doesnt' like it at all, so why not give him what he wants? (I have ridden him on trails too in a halter... and he tries his darndest to lean on the nose band of the halter :rolleye0014: )

Once again, not an Icey, but on the same kind of line... I would not DREAM of riding my Warmblood in the spoonbit I use on my paso in shows... He's not trained for it, but most of all -it doesn't fit his mouth- like a snaffle doesn't fit my paso's mouth. When I trail ride my paso I ride in a medium port, because his mouth is very small with a thick tongue... He HATES every kind of snaffle there is... he doesn't want the bit to break anywhere in his mouth... so a port it is and with a curb since that's what he goes best in with no head tossing.

Anyway... horses are different, built differently, and therefore should be treated differently.

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last nights reply was written in a haze og head shaking, hysterical laughter and utter confusion.... i can see that it is quite confusing to read, but i just dont have the energy for an exessive edit.... live with it ;)

when i was talking about the embarrassing american examples of riding iceys, i ment things like this.

watch this all natural mare search upwards while doing a shuffle-like t?lt with a pace-like beat. (the t?lt is not pure 4 beat)

here is one from iceryder.net.... the mare is seriously overweight, and her piggy pace is just sad...

this one just looks uncomfortable all over.... (also from Iceryder... )

of course, Iceland have their bad eggs. trainers pushing horses for the money and so on, BUT just looking at how this blog have been taken up here (it is EVERYWHERE today) tells me that yes, we do know what we are doing. most people here agree that although this blogger is hopelessly in over his head on this subject, he makes points we already are aware of, but probarbly could work more on towards a solution on.....

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oh, and i wanted to add.... most of the horses in competitions here stay sound and happy well into their 30ies without any need for medicating or special treatment (feeds and such) they are loved and cherished...

this is Orri Fr? ?ufu. he was displayed at Landsm?t this summer. Orri is one of the most famous stallions here on iceland. he is 22 years old (born in 1986) he has had a looong and successful carriere on the show circut, and is still being ridden every day during the fall/winter. when he is not ridden, he lives outside in all weather without being fed anything but grass, the owners pulled him in from the field (summer is breeding season. Orri is field bred mostly) brushed him and trimmed his hooves, and this is what he looks like.....

a picture of him from his great days . i know you cant read it, but the top picture is from 91, and the second is from 94, when he won Landsm?t...

http://847.is/index1.php?id=43

i think THAT says alot about the icelandic way of doing things.....

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THANK YOU Skjotta for giving us the "scoop". I knew we could count on you to lay it on the line.

See, when we want to understand something, we go right to the source. We don't rely on second or third hand knowledge. :winking:

HTTY & GBTUSA

BUMPER

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I was hoping skjotta would comment -- our resident Icelandic expert!

I rescued an Icelandic once. His original owner had fallen on hard times and a not so nice person took the horse in trade for board. And then proceeded to neglect him. When we went to bail him out, he was a mess. His hooves were horribly long, his mane and tail were in shambles and he just looked depressed. I put the halter on Shadow and my husband and his owner (who was getting him back finally) went down the hill and around the corner to get the trailer ready. They went looking for a ramp or something because he just looked like he wasn't going to be able to even get down the hill, let alone step up into the trailer.

I started slowly leading him down the hill. We got around the trees and he spotted the horse trailer, back doors wide open. That little stinker DRUG me down the hill at that little trot-thing they do (tolt? right skjotta?) and thru the gate and he LEAPED into that trailer, with me struggling to keep up! :happy0203: Oh, and did I mention he was 36 at the time?

He lived another 5 years, and taught his original owners young children the joys of riding as well as several other kids. He perked up and came out of his depression almost immediately when he saw Vicki. She got him at 18 months old and she was 12-13 years old and had him until he was 30 and fell on hard times. She struggled to get him back and we were tickled we could help.

I have to say, he looked VERY smooth and comfortable! Just short! Lots of presence to him and lots of spunk and spirit! He was a cool little guy ...

On the saddle thing ... I had a gaited Mustang for awhile and I could NOT use a regular saddle on her. Her shoulders were restricted by a standard western saddle. I once tried a center girth Paso saddle and it was perfect! It freed up her shoulders and away she went!

And don't the English riders ride with full contact in the bridle? :confused0024:

Thank you skjotta for your posts!

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And don't the English riders ride with full contact in the bridle?

Yes Andi, that is the tradition in Europe. Here it's called English riding... but that is exactly how most of Europe rides.

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Some interesting...........err.............."stuff".

* * * * * *

On another note....................look at this amazing video:

:twitch:

What an INTERESTING foot cadence.

* * * * * * *

That's all - nothing to add. Just started looking at youtubes and found some fine examples of horses and horsemanship.....

CR

Edited by Cactus Rose

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yes, most english riders ride on contact, but i know that icelandics looks harsher than others.

what most dont understand is that it really is not the hands that do it. these horses have such a drive to move foreward... for 1000 years, since the Vikings first came to Iceland, and started the import ban that we still have today, there has been selective breeding and culling here. they needed a horse they could cross the country on in terrible conditions. that wouldnt give up on them or slow down half way there. this tradition has lasted, since the Iceys desire to move foreward is one of the main traits about the breed.

sitting on a good icey is like sitting on a tightly coiled spring. he or she obeys cues, but is constantly showing you how much they would like to move faster. a natural headset for an exited icey is elevated. because of the very short and compact neck, a "rounded" neck and headset is difficult, especially during gaits like t?lt and pace. even at breed shows/halter classes, when these horses are parked, they hold their head up, and the underside of their neck is almost vertical. do an image search on icelandic horse stallion, and you will see what i mean...

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Good breeding and lots of culling aside skjotta...............do Iceys have a propensity at all for problems with their front ends, feet and legs?

My Dad and I briefly owned a saddlebred mare that never WALKED a step in her life. She pranced and pounded her feet into the ground. Smooth as silk. Parky, flashy and literally stopped traffic.

Took some getting used to.

It was her nature not her hotness necessarily that made her do it.

Found out after a few months that she was navicular.

CR

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I'll let Skjotta answer for the iceys ...You have ridden Michico with his "hot" temperament... Like with your saddle bred, he too is bred for it and I don't believe Pasos are more prone to trouble with their front than any other horse...

My paso will naturally 'collect' to get a smooth gait... you can see him in the pasture tuck his chin and take off in gait... contrary to an Icey who sticks it nose out to take off. Much of it is their gait, how their feet move and where they need the rest of the body to accomplish that...

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there is a rather high precentage of damage to a bone in the front legs that we call "griffel" (the thin bone on the back of the front pipe)

athritis is rare, but does occur.

knees and joints have very few peoblems, but then again, ALL breeding stallions need to put down X-rays to be approved, so the breeding and culling does come to play.

the Iceys are very sensitive to founder. especially in other countries, where the grass, hay and feed is ritcher than here.

iceys are also prone to exema/allergies when exported because we have so few bugs here.

i have seen several elbow injuries caused by people who longe the horse with a saddle on and stirrups flying.

of course, stifle is a problem, as in many gaited breeds. again, this is not bred, and x rays must be shown for stallions.

all in all, from what i read on these boards and others, i think there is ALOT more health/bone/joint related problems on your horses than on ours......

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i doubt it.... i have so many bad experiences with the iceryder. net web page, that it does not surprize me though.... basically they hate everything about iceland.... eccept the horses. conviently they seem to have forgotten that everything they hate about us, is exactly what have made their horses so wonderful.....

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I have nothing to add other than that this was interesting. I do have one question for skjotta though.

So you guys have nothing but iceys there? No other imported breeds? So..if I were to want to move to iceland..and wanted to bring my gelding..I couldn't?

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i doubt it.... i have so many bad experiences with the iceryder. net web page, that it does not surprize me though.... basically they hate everything about iceland.... eccept the horses. conviently they seem to have forgotten that everything they hate about us, is exactly what have made their horses so wonderful.....

No surprise i guess. For some folks, it's human nature to take something great and "make it your own", thus changing (and ruining) what made it great.

I see that all the time in our state. people move here from 'somewhere else' (sadly, most often from California), gush about how wonderful it is, how pristine, how laid back and uncluttered like where they are from...and then the first chance they get they are on the town or city council changing things to what they are used to. Pretty soon, it's just like where they are from (just prettier and colder).

[bang Head]

People are strange animals.

HTTY & GBTUSA

BUMPER

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Just because they are icies who seem to be heavy in the bridle does not excuse the use of a tight drop noseband to keep them from opening thier mouths to allieviate a painful bit. I do not condone that is any breed. The pics of the champion stallion shows a comfortable horse with the natural head carriage and gait desired in the breed. Every breed association has its standards and every breed has owners who artifically try to meet those standards with horses who just are not built to do the job. The blogger lacks credibility with their method delivery and lack of appropriate research. But some of the posted pics show a painful truth. Just like the TWH industry, QH industry, racing industry, etc.

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In regard to this video:

The horse is fighting the bit the whole way.

Around about 50 seconds into the video, can you see the horse's front legs coming to the camera? Each hoof is being thrown out to the side.

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.......yes actually.

I noticed the paddling affect.

And assumed it was part of the Icey action. The saddlebred mare we had that was smooth as silk also did that.

Don't make it right of course.

DOES make it "the way she moved".

Were you making some other reference.........or should I say INference......

Do tell.

I ain't the brightest lightbulb in the box.

[Question]

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In regard to this video:

The horse is fighting the bit the whole way.

Around about 50 seconds into the video, can you see the horse's front legs coming to the camera? Each hoof is being thrown out to the side.

...and your point is?

Oooh! he's fighting the bit! how HORRIBLE! it's CRUUUUUUUUUEL! Pffft. The horse is ON the bit, he's working, doing his job. The phrase "mountain out of a molehill" comes to mind.

A few horses in videos that may or may not be "fighting the bit" and it's going to be true of all people who ride Iceys in Iceland? That means all race horses in the US are beaten, all WP horses have their heads tied down and all barrel horses are injected and blown up on drugs. Give me a break.

You'll forgive me (or not) but i smell smoke and it's being blown up my butt. Skjotta is a long time member here with a great reputation. She also is actually IN Iceland (unlike yourself) with a true understanding of the real deal. Her opinion in this matter means something. Yours sadly, carries less weight.

HTTY & GBTUSA

BUMPER

Edited by Bumper

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I put the halter on Shadow ....came out of his depression almost immediately when he saw Vicki.

Was Shadow grey (white in his old age); long shaggy hair (maybe Cushings) lived to about 30 years? If so, I remember Vicki.

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Was Shadow grey (white in his old age); long shaggy hair (maybe Cushings) lived to about 30 years? If so, I remember Vicki.

He was in his mid 30's but yes, that describes him! He did have Cushings in the end, which she kept in check with meds. He was EXTREMELY frisky, even so! At the place she boarded him at, once she got his feet in check and his meds in check, he gave little kids rides around the place.

Are you in central Oregon?

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