This one is a first, Abigail is actually sat next to me as I type this introduction. Both “larks”, we often chat online in the early morning. Today we are stealing a few moments on the last day of the course before I have to go and make breakfast for the course participants.
Abigail is an American who lived in the UK for many years and now lives in France, she has become one of my best friends, online and in person. We met originally through the clicker courses (positive reinforcement) we hold here. I am sure she won’t let me tell you how amazing she is to me, it is truly a pleasure to introduce her to the rest of Tölt.Club.
Over to Abigail.
Like many people on the courses here, Oakfield farm is responsible for my discovering Icelandic horses and ultimately my joining Tölt.Club. It was through my visits to Oakfield that I cam to know and love Icelandics and I had to have 1(!) (two so far, more of that later)
I have always ridden but the first horses I rode were ranch horses (not ours). I had many years of riding other people’s horses as I had a very peripatetic childhood as the daughter of an English headmaster in schools all over America.
When I finally did have the opportunity to have a horse of my own, by chance it was a gaited horse (Tennessee Walking Horse). Simile Polka was my first heart horse.
I studied in America up to university level and then came to England for a visit – I never left!
As in America, I took every opportunity to borrow or ride other people’s horses but work took over and it wasn’t until I moved to France in my mid 40’s and looked at my next-door neighbour’s fields that my eye’s lit up and I thought “Finally, I could have a horse of my own.”
My first horse was Hengist – a Selle Francais – the first of many rescues! He is the one that is still with me and he was my riding horse for 15 years but his sarcoids have become so prevalent that he is now retired with us.
There have been many rescues in between times who have come and gone with much heartache, including Galero who was the most difficult horse. Galero was a very severely abused Andalusian rescue who brought me originally to clicker training and Oakfield. I couldn’t even lead him across grass, not because he wanted to eat but because he became aggressive for an unknown reason and I needed to find a way forward.
Having met Icelandics at Oakfield and fallen in love with them all, they wouldn’t fit in my luggage despite many attempts to smuggle one home with me, I had to find one of my own in France.
France is showing obsessed with regard to horses, Icelandics are unknown, unrecognised, and unheard of except to the Icelandic community.
The Icelandic Horse community in France is small and centred around the mountains and the German border where the weather is generally cooler and where it is easy to obtain Icelandic horses from Germany.
My first Icelandic (Alkor) was very sadly an escape artist who found a pile of apples and suffered the very sad consequences.
As it happened, a new companion Undri, had arrived a month before Alkor made his final escape. He has turned out to be the second heart horse in my life. I call him Undri the Wonder Horse (all sing along now). It wont be too long before there is another Icelandic here as a friend and companion for Undri as Hengist’s sarcoids become more unmanageable we have to start thinking of his quality of life.
Abigail and my first venture into a nuno-felted garment a couple of winters ago. It was a labour of love and I am very pleased that Alkor is commemorated.