For the uninitiated that is Dr. Day Zee (Daisy – get it? took me ages!).
Charlie and the girls are probably some of the most frequent visitors in person to Oakfield and its a real pleasure for me to introduce her.
In her introduction she mentions her first visit! That was in the days before we knew better here at Oakfield. Now we try and prepare people ahead of time for what they can expect. I know its normal for a lot of venues to let people find their own way the first time they come but we have learnt so many lessons from people who have had bad experiences and STILL come back. We do try and anticipate them ahead of time these days too.
Charlie is an amazing person in so many ways, GP, mother of 4 fantastic grown up children, daughter to the also amazing Myrtle and yet still full of self doubt and contradictions despite her outward and proven competence in life and on her horse.
She embraces all new challenges with an enthusiasm which I love to see which was why I asked her to introduce herself to the rest of Tölt.Club.
We have a huge amount of exceptional achievers in the Icelandic horse world (in my opinion Icelandic horses seem to attract them) and I find it both reassuring and a privilege to be allowed to see the very normal, uncertain person inside.
Over to Charlie:
Mo asked me to write an introduction so here we go:
I have been involved in horses since I was young (about age 2) and went through the usual route of helping with riding school, pony club etc. I never actually owned my own horse until I was 38 but had them on loan. I have done lots of things in the past, dressage, jumping, TREC, Parelli etc – I used to be very confident until I had children and then I guess it changed – maybe I was more aware that there were more consequences if anything happened as I had responsibilities.
After having children I rode only occasionally then my youngest son Ben asked if he could learn to ride at age 8 – this got me back into horses. I had seen Icelandics at a show and was fascinated and actually came to Oakfield back in 2006 with a view to buying an Icelandic but my very “sensible” horsey older sister persuaded me to buy a “normal” horse as my first one – thus along came Jack my very hairy cob.
I was a very anxious owner and Jack taught me a lot (I did have help which was very needed at the time) – we then had various ponies for the children. Mousie our New Forest had ringbone and Cushings and needed a quiet life and went out on loan and I was left with a single horse – back came my yearning for an Icelandic.
I saw Glowie advertised on the local horse website – 5 years old, as yet untrained (Glowie is the half-sister to Odinn, Barry’s first Icelandic horse – Mo). I took my trainer to see her (not an Icelandic trainer) and fell in love with her.
Wow – what a rollercoaster – first day I had her she gave me concussion! Manners then became a priority – we spent 6 months on the ground with her then moved her up to ridden. With help walk, tölt and trot became established – she is very 5 gaited so “cantrolt” became her faster gait.
She is a lovely character – but extremely opiniated – training her was a real mixture of request and cajoling – with reward for correct behaviour.
Libby and Isabel were getting into their early teens and did not want to ride Jack as he had bucked with them a few times (also opinionated! – Mo) and I was getting hip pain (getting old) as he was quite a wide boy when ridden so I put him back in harness – however the cart got hit on the road so although he was fine and amazing I couldn’t trust the roads for driving. Jack became an RDA horse and now has a lovely home in Andover.
Meanwhile we had come to Oakfield a few times with Glowie – my first show was a total disaster and I left early in tears – but I had great support from the Icey community and with further training made some progress.
Libby and Isabel were kindly loaned Brynja and Svalur to ride and truly got the Icey grin in place, thus the hunt for another horse started. (one between three active riders was a little challenging, guess who got to do most of the walking? – Mo)
Mic told us about two Icelandics in Wales who needed a new home, it was an all or nothing deal but we didn’t want, need or have room for 2 more and we dithered. Eventually my long suffering lovely husband Pete took us on a road trip and we were hooked – I managed to rent a bit more field (long story but still not usable ) and Orvar and Bil arrived early in 2018.
Orvar is a lovely old man – 26 of our years but has given Isabel so much confidence and love – he is such a sweetie.
Bil had more issues – we were told she had Cushings and had her weight held down as a result, and she was very pair bonded to Orvar and stressed if he left. Also she and Glowie seriously disliked each other, and went through electric fencing to get to each other – so Bil went off to my trainers as an interim measure. She did improve and was ridden there but also kicked another horse – my trainer also felt she was lame and would not easily make a horse for Libby to ride.
I was out of options so asked Nick (and Mary) to come and see her as I didn’t want to give up on her if there was any alternative so Bil arrived at Oakfield. I hoped that she could be a happy horse in a field – anything else was a bonus.
I had done some clicker training work with Mary to help with Glowie and loved these R+ methods as an additional option to my existing training methods – Mary agreed to work with Bil and Nick did her animal husbandry – she was very resource guarding and could be anxious if food was involved. After 8 months Bil had relaxed a lot and was interested in working so Nick took her for a walk and then she was ridden.
She is now a very green but lovely mare with a great personality and is still at Oakfield at the moment, and we intend to keep working with her – both Libby and I have ridden her and she is lovely although very green.
Unfortunately I had some issues around me working Bil and came under some criticism but with support from the Icey community we are on the other side. At times like this you know who your friends are and luckily I have some fabulous ones in the Icey community.
(Just to add to Charlie’s trials which she is understating – Mo) Glowie over the last year has been lame for 9 months – eventually an MRI showed a fractured pedal bone and a ligament strain on her forelegs – after muchos time off and lots of ground work and clicker training she is back in the right direction.
I am still a bit of an anxious rider at times (! – Mo) but as the girls say “ you know all of Glowie’s quirks” and I do love being around the Icelandic world. The next step is trying to sort her faster gait into something recognisable !!
We are going to try to get to as many weekends training and shows as we can this year – including more clicker work – I am also taking the girls to the Youth Camp in July in Lincoln – now the I have “Mo’svano” my lovely little 3.5t van – hope to see you around !!!
A footnote from me – and I think you can read it in what Charlie wrote, she is very anxious and uncertain when it comes to her personal confidence but Charlie is always the first person there to reach out when someone else needs help, she is giving up her rare holidays to fetch and carry children from around the country and doing all the safeguarding work for our youth camp. Truly another amazing and amazingly generous member of our Icelandic horse community.