The Horses

Every one of them quite an ordinary, extaordinary Icelandic horse

None of my horses are spectacular sport horses. They are all perfectly ordinary leisure horses.

But every single one of them is or was special in some small, individual way.


Here is a short introduction for each of them. I will try to capture the way in which each of them is or was extraordinary. The stories about them will show their individual character traits in more detail.


Young Icelandic horse in training, Helgi
Helgi is the current four-legged joy in my life, and will thus get a lot of attention here.
I found him when he was six years old, and only recently off the young horses' field. He knew very little of being ridden, but was game to learn.
He is a very curious horse, willing to meet every challenge with cautious courage. He is okay with being ridden, both in the arena and on the trail, but the thing that he absolutely, totally loves, is liberty work inspired by Intrinzen.
When I visit him out in the field where he is grazing, he will come over at a trot, ignoring the tasty grass, and ask to do a Panther Walk or Crunches. But most of all, he loves to Chase the Bag - or, lacking a bag, chase the human instead.
His stories can be found here.


Mischievous Icelandic horse Tandri, always good for a story
Tandri was the first horse to make me feel like I'd found The Right One.
He joined the family at age five, with basic training but not a lot else. Riding him turned out to be quite a challenge, and sometimes a pretty frustrating one. But on the ground, we hit it off right from the start. He would do leg yields and other dressage lessons at liberty, and even tolt next to me when I asked it of him.
But his great love was circus tricks, the more challenging, the better. He learned the compliment without any aids but a carrot, though he made it clear that he only did it for the treat and no other reason. Other tricks, like fetching his feed bucket and pulling a blanket off his back, he would do with visible enthusiasm, often continuing them even when I didn't offer him a treat.
His adventures (and occasional misadventures) can be found here.


Icelandic Horse Skarpur, who will feature in stories about Tandri and Helgi
My husband's horse Skarpur used to be Tandri's best friend, and is now Helgi's four-legged mentor and friend. The two of them live in a small herd of four Icelandic geldings, and can often be seen grooming each other, or just standing together, relaxing.
In many ways, Skarpur is Helgi's opposite. He is calm on the ground, even a little phlegmatic, where Helgi is fidgety to the point of being hyperactive. Where Helgi is friendly towards humans, sometimes to the point of intrusiveness, Skarpur is a little standoffish and sometimes gives the impression that, if not for the food we bring, he'd be perfectly happy to live without any pesky humans.
Luckily, he does seem to be happy to get out of the stable and into the forest on trail rides, so we feel he's okay with being ridden. And of course, he loves us when the feed bucket comes into play!


Icelandic horse Sörli, who was my first horse and taught my husband how to ride
Sörli was my first horse. I bought him when he was five years old with a solid basic training but not much training in tolt. I had just discovered Icelandic horses, and had no experience in riding the tolt at all. My overall riding experience wasn't as solid as I thought, either. Riding school horses who get ridden by more experienced riders on a regular basis is much less of a good preparation for owning a horse than I thought at the time.
The result ... was predictable. Tolt was something that worked sometimes, but far from always. And even in the three basic paces, we had a lot of trouble communicating. Add Sörli's tendency to bolt when challenged, and we ended up with a mix of problems it took us years to work out.
In the end, Sörli became my husband's first horse. Those two got along a lot better than Sörli and I ever did. From the start, the two of them found a compromise that allowed them to get along without ever fighting for control.


Icelandic horse Morgunn, who taught me my first circus trick
Morgunn was the horse I bought when my husband took over riding Sörli. He was eight years old at the time, and fairly well trained in all four of his very nice paces. I was thinking of riding competitions at the time, and Morgunn seemed the ideal partner. Except that once again, my riding ability was not up to my ambitions, and we ran into a lot of problems.
Unfortunately, Morgunn and I did not have a chance to work out those problems. Right when I was starting to figure out how to ride him, Morgunn got sick with colitis. He held on for several months, slowly getting better, only to succumb to a sudden relapse in the end.
During those months, we grew into the best of friends. I could ask just about everything of him, even when it was holding still for painful treatments from the vet. He was the one who taught me my first circus trick: He would fetch his feed bucket when I forgot to take it from his stall, handing it to me so I wouldn't have to re-enter his stall.