Tag Archives: Icelandic

Amusing a bored horse

The intelligent Maari, an Icelandic mare, can get a bit bored when her friendly human can’t come out to play. A large cardboard box taped closed with a few hay cubes inside makes a great puzzle for a bored horse. The other little horse is Toseland, who has a nice roll.

Maari, the Icelandic mare, peers into the window.

Come out and play with me

Video length: 3 minutes 2 seconds
Music: “If I Had a Boat” sung by Lyle Lovett, an American singer-songwriter and actor.
Uploaded by  on Sep 26, 2010

The window Maari is peering in is an artist studio. Aud Fischer of Creek Valley Critters is a wonderful artist and sculptor. Her Youtube channel is delightful. She uses clicker training methods and hand rears baby mice.

Have a great Wednesday!

Lyrics

If I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

If I were Roy Rogers
I’d sure enough be single
I couldn’t bring myself to marrying old Dale
It’d just be me and trigger
We’d go riding through them movies
Then we’d buy a boat and on the sea we’d sail

And if I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
‘Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I’m going out to sea

And if I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

And if I were like lightning
I wouldn’t need no sneakers
I’d come and go wherever I would please
And I’d scare ’em by the shade tree
And I’d scare ’em by the light pole
But I would not scare my pony on my boat out on the sea

And if I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

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Train a parade horse

Have you wanted to take your horses in a parade, but you aren’t sure if they are ready? Will your reliable trail horse freak out by the commotion of a parade?

Icelandic horse ridden in July 4th parade

Bangsi only got worried at the very start of the parade.

How does a horse prepare for being ridden in a parade? How do you train a parade horse?

Start by letting your horses watch a parade. Let them watch safely on the sidelines, just like humans get to do. Pick a small town parade before you go to a major parade. Choose one that has an easy way to duck out, if your horse becomes overwhelmed. Try to find a parade that is horse friendly. There are parades that cater to horses, which are excellent as a first parade to lead or ride in.

Horse watching parade pass by with float of capping the 2010 BP oil spill.

Twistur watching the parade.

The wait for the start of the parade in the staging area can be tiring and chaotic. Take your horse to participate in a staging area, even if not actually being in the parade.

Even in a small parade you may experience loud sirens, blaring lights, balloons, whistles, bicycles, strollers,  electric wheelchairs, motorcycles, streamers, barking dogs, other horses or mini-donkeys, ATVs, clowns, kids running around, marching bands, truck air brakes, blowing objects of all sorts, frisbee thrown overhead, balls, loud speaker feedback, revving engines, horns, flags, waving, firecrackers, yelling, squeaks, car back firing, and candy tossed from passing floats. If you can think of something crazy happening, then you might see it at a large parade. Be prepared to walk on asphalt with potholes, crunching candy wrappers under foot and items blowing across the road. Check out the route before taking your horse.

Can your horse walk slowly and stand quietly amidst noise and excitement? The pace of a parade may be uneven with lots of time standing waiting, then just as suddenly needing to speed up. Practice at home with your horse with various spooky objects. Let them know that they can stand quietly and watch and listen to craziness.

Walking with our horse in local town Independence Day parade.

Why not walk in a parade? It is fun too!

Even if you plan to just lead your horse, make sure you have good control of your horse on the ground. If they are ready, then after letting them watch a passing parade try walking them in a parade as a groundwork training exercise.  It’s fun to walk in a parade too, so if you aren’t sure if you want to ride then you can lead instead. Later you can try riding in a parade, then maybe an even bigger parade another time.

We use clicker training with de-spooking. This works well for us and our horses.

A parade can make great de-spooking practice, but you can start small and build up to riding in the  Rose Bowl.

Be safe and wear your helmet!

Take A Horse in a Parade Safely

Parade Horse Training Tips

Preparing to Ride in a Parade

Excellent suggestions for preparing and riding in a parade.

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Clipping Icelandic horses in Spring

Icelandics in Texas ==> Clipping Icelandic horses

My Icelandic horses in early March started shedding their long winter coats amidst the singing birds and blooming flowers heralding the coming of Spring in north Texas. Icelandic horses winter coats were not intended for our mild winters. Their winter coat was between 2 – 4 inches long. Slow natural shedding could take over a month. Using shedding tools speeds up the process, but clipping is the fastest way to remove the excess hair.

Every horse clipping explanation that I have read says to use a #10 blade for a body clip. This cuts the hair at 1/16 inch or 1.6 mm. The face, ears, and legs may be clipped even shorter. Dogs, on the other hand, are clipped at varying lengths depending on breed and fashion. There are many blade lengths available for clippers. The #T84 blade (3/32 inch, 2.4 mm) is an extra wide blade commonly used to clip horses.

Andis clipper blades

Spring rains and warmer temperatures bring out the mosquitoes. A female mosquito bites through the skin using a special straw-like proboscis to get blood. They need the blood to be able to make their mosquito eggs. The bite is nearly undetectable, but the after effects can cause an immune response raising welts with itching. Bangsi is particularly sensitive to insect bites.

Besides the irritation that can cause severe scratching, mosquitoes are vectors for several illnesses. Texas horses can be vaccinated against Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis, plus the West Nile virus that also affects humans.

Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are common in north Texas.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian Tiger Mosquito by Sean McCann on Flickr (Creative Commons)

The horses longer winter hair was a definite help in avoiding mosquito bites on their body and even their lower legs. The mosquitoes could not easily penetrate and bite past the long hair. They would land and crawl around looking for a place to bite, but unable to find a spot. The only places the mosquitoes seemed to be able to bite were the face and sheath. The mosquitoes would line up around the eyes and along the cheek bones at dusk and dawn. I smeared those areas with SWAT repellant ointment. Letting horses have a place to stay inside at dusk and dawn, plus a fan to blow on them, can also help lower the bites.

How long is a mosquito proboscis?

Mosquitoes are slender and relatively small insects, usually measuring about 3–6 mm in length. Some species, however, can be as small as 2 mm while others may be as long as 19 mm. (1)

“most of the commonest mosquitoes have the proboscis 0.1 – 0.14 inches (2.5-3.5 mm) long and half or even 2/3 of it is usually inserted in victim’s body” (2)

Small mosquitoes have a proboscis up to 2 millimeters long; in medium-sized mosquitoes the proboscis is 2-3 mm; in large mosquitoes it is greater than 3 mm. (3)

Clipping with a #10 blade (1/16 inch) could leave them more vulnerable to mosquito bites. The difference in hair length to be slightly cooler wouldn’t be enough benefit, particularly so early in the Spring. The #10 blade length is shorter than their natural summer coat.

The ideal clip length would balance cutting their hair shorter to help them be cooler while leaving their hair long enough to lessen mosquitos bites. Last year I experimented using snap-on combs over #10 blade for different lengths of cut, but the combs left more streaks in their coat. A blade cuts more smoothly and evenly with less effort, but does require purchase of extra blades.

I clipped their coats at 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) using a #5FC blade. The #5FC is an even clip while the #5 blade has a skip tooth cutting edge.

Andis A-5 #10 clipper blade

Andis A-5 #5FC clipper blade

Andis A-5 #5 clipper blade

The 1/4 inch clip length would be longer than a mosquito proboscis, which would lessen the likelihood of a Texas mosquito penetrating through their hair to their skin. The extra hair length would also provide them a bit more protection in case of an unusual cold snap or cold wet rain while still helping make them more comfortable and cooler in the warming weather. The longer length would make a blanket unnecessary in our Texas climate for our Icelandic horses, even with a Spring cold snap. I only clipped above the knee leaving their longer hair on the cannon bones to shed out naturally for extended mosquito protection.

Bangsi needed no further clipping later in the Spring to finish shedding his coat. I clipped Twistur again in late March using the #5 blade for most of his body, but used a #10 on his neck, chest, and around his head. He really enjoyed having the hair trimmed off shorter on his head and under his mane. Twistur’s coat re-grows and is a different thickness and texture than Bangsi’s. This maybe a symptom of some insulin resistance.

Next year I may clip them heading into winter to more closely mimic the coat length of a typical Texas Quarter horse in our area. Their 4 inch hair is too long for our winters, though I do love their fuzzy unique look.

A-5 Clipper Blade Inch Millimeter
#40 1/100 0.25
#50 1/125 0.2
#30 1/5 0.5
#15 3/64 1.2
#10 1/16 1.5
#9 5/64 2.0
Blocking blade 5/64 2.0
T84 3/32 2.4
#8.5 7/64 2.8
#7 1/8 3.2
T24 4.0
#6 3/16 4.8
#5 1/4 6.3
#4 3/8 9.5
#3 1/2 13.0

References:
– 1 inch = 25 mm

– “A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects” – Mosquito: Agrilife Extension: Entymology, Texas A&M System

– Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Division of Vector Borne Disease, West Nile Virus

– “Mosquitoes and the Diseases They Transmit“, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System

(1) “Introduction to mosquitoes (Culicidae)” by Cambridge University Press 052154775X – Medical Entomology for Students, Third Edition – Mike W. Service (Excerpt)

(2) Mosquito bite questions

(3) “The Determination of Mosquito Females by Microscopic Preparations of the Head” in “Mosquito Systematics” VOL. 6(4) 1974 by A. V. Gutsevich, Zoological Institute, Leningrad

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Riding Icelandic Horses on coast of Denmark

Nine ladies riding Icelandic horses along the west coast of Denmark on a lovely day.

Video length: 5 minutes 41 seconds
Music: “Like Sunflowers” from the album “Crow” by Eivör Pálsdóttir. She is singing in Icelandic. The title of the song in Icelandic is “Sum sólja og bøur”. She is from the Faroe Islands and has her roots in the Faroese ballads.
Uploaded by  on May 6, 2011

I enjoy listening to the sound of beautiful songs without being able to understand their meaning. This is good because I was only able to find the Icelandic lyrics. Google translate does not do an adequate job on translating Icelandic to English. It seems to be a love song.

Icelandic lyrics:
Hann angar Sum sólja og bøur,
Sum tað bláa hav,
hann sigur tær vakrastu søgur,
tá sól er farin í kav.
Hann droymir teir vakrastu dreymar
hvønn tann einasta dag,
droymur seg burtur
um dalar og heyggjar,
til støð tú ei hevur sæð,
á, um bert ein dag,
eg kundi flogið avstað við tær,
men vit hittast bara,
tá ið eg blundi,
í náttardreymum hjá mær.
Nú komin er kvøldarstund,
Eg droymi meg burtur til tín,
Og eg sovi mí søta blund,
Tú ert vagrasti dreymur mín

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Icelandic horses relaxing in herd

The horses paw and prance and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins;…
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Icelandic horses in Iceland are kept in herds in open pasture to grow up and mature. The herd dynamics develop a naturally socialized horse. They are started under saddle when they are 5 years old.

Pferde in Island: Horses in Iceland relaxing in the pasture

Uploaded by  on Oct 23, 2009
Video length: 2 minutes 36 seconds
Music: “Hills of Calheiros” by Helen O’Hara

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