Amazing April – Introducing Terri the American

One of the things that has totally astounded me is the interest in
Tölt.Club around the world. In four months over 500 people have friended us. We have active members from four continents on the facebook group and coaches from three who approached us. It seems “Icelandic Isolation Syndrome” is pretty common around the world except for some of Europe and Iceland, of course. Even in Europe and Iceland the distances involved can be isolating and we will talk to some other Tolt.Club members later on in the month who have found their way here because of that isolation.

Terri Keene joined very early on, in December 2018. Terri and I have had several online conversations about the differences (very little safety regulation in comparison to the UK, spaces and distances are huge, horses travel, etc. More to be explored as time allows) and similarities (Icelandic horses are awesome!) Here she speaks for herself and I am learning about her background too as I read this for the first time.

Terri came to my notice when we were exploring ideas of what
Tölt.Club might offer and we were talking about “Saddle Tramping” – the UK version of what the Americans call “Trail Riding”. The differences between America and the UK were immediately apparent!

Terri wrote: our “holidays” as you call them are our vacations – we can take vacations anytime we want during the year as long as your work lets you off which most do. We get 1-2 weeks paid vacation depending on how long you’ve worked at a place – more at some places if you work there a long time.

(the UK workforce would revolt! For the non-UK readers, from the government website: Leave in the UK. All workers have a statutory right to at least 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave (or 28 days of paid holiday if you work five days a week). Your employer may offer more than your minimum right to paid holiday.)

Terri’s latest article about trail riding which I was going to use last month but ran out of time is now published in latest issue of “The Trail Journal”, the magazine of Horse Trails and Camping Across America (HTCAA), “The #1 Trail Riding Community in America”. This issue is free although it is usually a subscription magazine.

Trail Riding is a huge thing in America and Terri was bemused in our conversations together. Our early attempts at organising multi-day horseback riding holidays are alien to her as is our seemingly very safe and regulated “hacking” in the UK, its such a normal part of the horseback world in her experience.

Its a great ongoing exploration for both of us and Terri is very generous with her time and advice, I hope you will enjoy reading a little about her Icelandic journey and finding out a little more about her (follow Terri’s facebook page too, its fascinating the contrast between the UK and the US horseback (horse riding) world and particularly for me as a Southern UK resident, the challenges of the weather!

(PS: for those of you who would like to know more about Icelandic horses in America, the American Icelandic Horse Society e-magazine is freely available online to download here.)

Terri Keene

Not sure how much you want to know about me and I’m not very good at talking about myself but I’ll try!

I did not grow up with horses and I lived in town but I inherited the horse gene! My great uncle used to race standardbreds at the local fairgrounds!

I didn’t get my 1st horse until I moved out on my own, then I acquired a baby colt! Boy did we learn a lot together! There was no internet at that time, not much for books – Clinton Anderson was still in Austrailia (you have all heard of Clinton Anderson? Not me – Mo)

You didn’t know anything about Pat Parelli or Buck Brannaman or any of those trainers!

When he was about 8 I decided I wanted to do barrel racing! I had the need for speed! We did that for many years at local gymkhanas. He won me my first saddle at age 21 and the second one the next year!

He’s now 27 and semi retired.

I also trained my mare from the ground up for barrels too and she has won many awards for me also.

Terri in 2013 – Barrel racing – no hat, no body protector, no sleeves!

I’ve also dabbled in cattle sorting and team penning, western dressage, obstacle trail challenges and mounted shooting.

(Swoon – very little of that happens in the UK and for women in the last 20 years!?!?!?!? apart from the dressage; of course not Western though – Mo)

I would like to learn mounted archery also. I’ve always loved trail riding and after the need for speed was satisfied, it was traveling with our horses. We’ve been to MO (Montana), TN(Tennessee), Il (Illinois), MN(Minnesota), and all over the great state of WI(Winsconsin, Terri’s home state) trail riding/camping. We are going to Arkansas in May.

I didn’t really plan to get into gaited horses, it just kind of happened. (another one – Mo)

Many, many years ago at the Midwest Horse Fair there were some Icelandics there! Wow- were they ever cute and small!

I said- that’ll be my retirement horse, then maybe I can get on!

Fast forward to 2016 and during the hardest hay season where you know you won’t have a stem to spare- 2 Icelandic horses came up for sale on Fb!

They were not broke so they were being sold for cheap. I told my fiancee- I’m getting one of these Iceys. I told the lady if they aren’t sold by the weekend I’d be up. She took them offline and waited till I got there.

I initially was only going to take the gelding, but it was kind of like a buy one get one sale- I offered her a price for both and loaded them up and brought them home!

Long story short- the gelding and I didn’t click so well, but the little mare I almost left behind clicked with me and now she’s my little heart horse!

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