Thursday, November 17, 2016

Icelandic Horses in Manitoba

Our 1st stop out of Winnipeg was to see Icelandic horses.

About 17 years ago 2 Arnason brothers decided to fulfill their father's dream to bring Icelandic horses to Canada. The catch was once a horse leaves Iceland it is never allowed to return so as to maintain the pure bloodline.
The brothers filled a plane with 87 horses and settled them on a specially built farm where they have flourished in the Canadian prairie climate. 
To read in more detail about the Arnason's Icelandic horse story click here

The farm manager, Sharon, our guide, has just released these horses from a coral out to a clover pasture. She can't leave them out there for too long or for too often because the clover is like candy for them.
Icelandic horses are known to thrive in harsh conditions, forage well for their own food, and grow a very thick coat in winter while living outside. Sharon said they puff up like teddy bears as soon as the weather turns cold.  They are the horse breed with the longest life span, up to 56 years. They are a breed with many other positive characteristics. Read what Wiki says here.
The Arnasons are rewilding their farm. Over the years they have noticed a lot more wildlife and a greater variety is visiting and passing through or is now living with the horses.

They are known for their gentle nature with humans and other animals. Over their long history, they have been used to herd sheep, carry very heavy loads for their size and with a rider cover great distances over uneven rocky ground with surefootedness at great speed. 
A unique feature of Icelandic horse is they have 5 gaits. While watching the video notice how large the rider is in comparison with the size of the horse which shows how strong this breed is. Also, note, once the horse is in the tolt gaits how smooth the ride is for the rider - the shoulders stay level. Check this video view here .
This video shows a magnificent horse capable of doing the super tolt view here 

Sharon with one of her favourite mares. This horse is a great mother and like her breed is a smart problem solver.

Mandy had an affinity with the horses being a horse rider herself.
Movies with lots of Icelandic horses: 
'Of Horses and Men' view trailer here
'Herd in Iceland' view trailer here

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