Yesterday, my Icelandic-horse owning daughter and I spent seven-and-a-half hours at an Icelandic horse event, almost a race.  The horses all had names like: Hraunar fra Kirkjuferjuhjaleigu and Galdur frá Auðsholtsháleigu, and I can’t tell you who won.  I didn’t think to bring my camera, but it was like this video, except in two respects.  The first is that it took place at our local ice rink where they usually play ice hockey — I still don’t understand why this was on ice, but never mind about that, it didn’t affect their performance.  The second is that it wasn’t proper racing, it was a knock-out competition, four horses at a time.  There were three experts who judged the horses according to ‘how well’ they tølted — the tølt being a smooth and rhythmic ambling gait that Icelandic horses have in addition to being able to walk, trot , canter and gallop.  The WEIRD thing about tølting — you can see it in the You-tube video of a tølt race linked above — is that the rider remains seated.  The ride is so smooth that they never rise out of the saddle, no matter how fast the horse is going.  They look as if they’re driving bumper cars.

We were an audience of one thousand; people had come from all across Scandinavia, but it may not have been for everyone.  The organisers ran out of baguettes after half-an-hour and there was VERY loud music while the horses were tølting round the ice rink.  Since it’s an annual event, I think next year they might try playing more than just the one cd.  We heard YMCA, by The Village People, and ‘Smoke on the Water’ about four times an hour, for seven hours.

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