This is an introduction to me as well as to the rest of Tölt.Club.
Linda is almost entirely unknown to me. Mic Rushen has mentioned her, that she was a very accomplished dressage rider/trainer/judge and that is all I know. We will meet in a few weeks in person at the Oakfield Spring Show, until then I am learning too. It’s an exciting prospect, an adventurous, competent, experienced rider coming along to our shows. It brings a welcome new challenge to our established riders and it is such a wonderful experience watching the relationship between horse and rider blossom in a new environment and new friendships being made.
Throughout this month I have been having a lovely time going through the facebook pages of the members of Tölt.Club, having online conversations and learning more about them, wondering what brought them here and how they spend the time they have available with their horses. More of those to come in the next few days and weeks but for now, Linda gives us a glimpse into what I feel is going to be a very interesting ongoing journey….
It all began many many years ago in Denmark...
I’ve been riding since I was 5 years old, ending up with that once-in-a-lifetime horse that you get THAT special connection with.
Fairway – Together we learnt most of the high end dressage stuff. Along the way I also started teaching dressage to some people at the yard and judging at lower level competitions.
My first Icelandic grin –
I was working in Denmark doing riding for the disabled and Arne, the guy who owned the Icelandic horse trekking centre where I was working pointed to a dark brown horse, not the prettiest creature in the world to be honest. Arne told me, if you can catch her, you can ride her.
It took 10 people making a heroic effort and half an hour before we finally cornered her in the field which meant we could all saddle up.
I put my foot in the stirrup and she was GONE.
The power, speed and feeling of raw untamed nature in that horse was incredible, only matched with increasing concerns of falling off or crashing as we disappeared into the forest.
When I finally managed to regain some sort of directional control, about 20 minutes later, I met up with the rest of the group with a huge grin on my face.
Arne chuckled and told me that Tinna had not been ridden for 5 years as she was ‘a bit wild‘. Needless to say Tinna became ‘my’ horse and I got to love her almost as much as my own.
My second Icelandic grin happened when a new horse arrived at the yard where I had my horse – a little white Icelandic fluffball. Bersi and his owner was ranking 4th ( I think it was ) in tölt in Denmark, and I was lucky enough to be allowed to ride him, in return for dressage lessons. Tölting along at a speed of the big horse fast cantering next to him just made you bubble up with joy and happiness. I was completely sold, and just knew that my next horse had to be an Icelandic.
My third Icelandic grin – Fast forward to Wales, 2018, some 20 years and a lot of outdoor adventures later. 20 years since I left Denmark. 20 years in Wales. 20 years since I sold my fabulous horse Fairway. (Linda told me this morning that he lived on with the girl she sold Fairway to as a school master until he died at 30 – a satisfying conclusion to a very difficult choice – Mo.)
20 years of climbing mountains, paddling white water rivers, exploring caves deep underground, sea kayak expeditions, mountain biking, rafting; the list goes on. I had some brilliant adventures both here and abroad, but always there was that pull of horses that only occasionally got integrated into my exploits.
Riding Arab horses through Wadi Rum in Jordan and trekking through the High Atlas mountains on Berber stallions were probably the highlights.
20 years on I decided that I just had to go back to my roots and become a horse owner again, to those that knew of me and my adventures, maybe a surprise but no surprise to my old Danish horsey friends, a new Icelandic horse Fabeina, with whom I’m going to have many new adventures !
I was looking for preferably a forward going 4 gaited gelding, about 13.3 hh, and silver dapple would be nice.
Well, one out of five is OK, I think when you feel that connection, you have got to revise your wish list – Fabeina is certainly forward going and daily gives me the biggest grin of them all.
It is great to welcome new and experienced riders to our Icelandic community and I know we will all be watching Linda with great interest and cheering her on in her new Icelandic adventures and I hope, a lot more Icelandic grins.