ICELANDIC HORSE RIDER & TRAINER, HONOURARY ICELANDER
Riding at age 5, training horses at 13, sidestepping volcanoes at 17, and mastering/championing/loving the rare, unique Icelandic horse, brought to Iceland 1500 years ago by the Vikings. Fearless and wise beyond her years, there’s some Viking in Sydney, for sure.
There are 23,000 horses in Headwaters alone…
… but only 2,500 Icelandics across Canada, yes. And we’ve got 30 of them!
What it is about the Icelandic?
The spirit. They’re pictured as this cute, fun to ride pony, when in fact they are very powerful, very spirited, and very fast. Iceland really formed this horse. It was brought there by the Vikings, actually — when they came across the ocean, they brought their best but also their most compact.
And the gait, it’s unique. Amazing, actually.
The average horse is three gaited: walk, trot, and canter. But an Icelandic also has the tölt, its quick natural gait, as as well as the super fast flying pace.
They’re also especially brave. Iceland has no predators outside of man, so the horses are very respectful of people, and that respect makes them quite fun to work with, because they’re so willing to work with you.
You’re brave, too. You went to Germany alone at 13!
That was the turning point, because I was actually given horses to train. When I started training, it became a totally different mindset: you have to plan out “What would I like this horse to become? A sales horse, a competition horse, a backyard pony… what is my plan for this horse?”
Iceland is stunning, But so is Caledon.
Oh my God yes, the Caledon Trail. It’s the old rail trail, wonderfully maintained, most of it is limestone ground and it’s just beautiful, then past Palgrave it’s more woodsy, then it drops off a little on either side, there’s cedar trees… it is a really, really beautiful ride.