A hazardous trail ride

Cats eat little horses! I just know it!

Trainer Johanna Tryggvason instructing Sigrid on Icelandic horse Helgi

Our first solo ride on the trail

It had been a few weeks or so since Tandri joined the family. I’d ridden him on the oval track or in the covered arena at home, and been on a few trail rides with him and my husband on his horse, Sörli. Tandri tended to be nervous, but game. Like on that first day when he thought a mound of dirt might eat him, after the first scared moment, he was always willing to listen when I told him that no, that terrifying monster really wasn’t all that dangerous.


I thought we were ready to go on our first solo trail ride. So, seemingly, did Tandri: We walked, trotted and cantered along the paths we’d explored in Sörli’s wake before, and we even took a new path that Tandri hadn’t seen before. Everything went extremely well, and I let him have the reins on our way home. He stretched his neck and walked along in long, relaxed strides.


Until …




Oh, a long rein, that’s nice. Let me stretch my neck. Ooooo that feels good. Stretches my back right along with the neck. This ride was fun, but tiring. I’ll be glad to get home, where my friends are. And my feed bucket. Never forget the feed bucket!


Oh, look mom, there’s a white blob at the side of the trail!

Oh, it’s just a flower pot. That’s okay, then.


I’ll just relax and stretch my neck again. That still feels soooo good. And once we’ll get home, I’ll get my feed. That’ll taste soooo good. And Sörli will be waiting for me. That’s soooo good too.


And …

Riding young Icelandic horse Helgi

Icelandic horse Helgi loves exercises inspired by Intrinzen


A monster!!


It came sneaking up from the side and it’s going to EAT ME!!


Hey, you’re hanging on my back like a wet sack when I need to get away from that monster!


Yes, yes I jumped two meters to the side, so what!

I need to RUN!




Oh. Where did you go?


The monster’s hiding somewhere and I don’t know where home is, and you’re lying over there on the ground instead of coming here to protect me!


Oh, you’re getting up and walking over. Good. I’ll just stand ramrod straight and not move a muscle until you get here.

Whew, you’re here. I’m so glad. Now let’s walk home, okay? I’ll stick real close to you in case the monster comes back.



Lesson learned

That horse-eating “monster” was a little housecat, who was walking sedately across the street in front of us.


Tandri bucked me off and sprinted about thirty meters before stopping and half-turning to watch me. He stood rigid, head high and ears pinned back in obvious fright, until I walked up to him and reached for the reins. At that point, he turned his head towards me and visibly relaxed:


Help had arrived.


I have no idea why Tandri reacted as violently as he did. Maybe he was off in the clouds somewhere and only saw the little cat when it was almost in front of us. I do know that I wasn’t paying attention as I should have, riding a young horse whom I didn’t yet know very well.


Luckily, neither of us was seriously hurt. And from then on, we both paid attention to our surroundings, so that no little horse-eating monster surprised us again.

Training a young Icelandic horse is not easy

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