DAY 5: PERFECT ENDING OF A GREAT WEEK

On the last day of the Icelandic Horse Expo tour we woke up to a clear blue sky and sunshine. No one showed any signs of tiredness after the party last night, and after an excellent breakfast some of us enjoyed a cup of coffee on the terrace before embarking the bus for todays drive.

While driving through the scenic landscape of the north, our guide Petra was telling us a little about the history of Iceland. For example, many farms have through the centuries kept the same name that they were given by the first Viking settlers in Iceland, over a thousand years ago. You can find the names in the Book of Settlement and the Icelandic sagas, written in the 12:th century.

Today we had the great pleasure to visit the Gauksmýri farm. Like many of the other farms we have visited this is a family business, and at Gauksmýri we met Jóhann, his girlfriend Kolla and his daughter Hrund. They do not only breed and train horses, but run both a hotel with an excellent restaurant, a horse rental and are also putting on a horse show every day from the beginning of May until middle of October. The show is set up as an introduction to the Icelandic horse, its special gaits and other characteristics, and is very popular among the many foreigners visiting Iceland.

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After a very nice lunch we went outside to see the show, performed in all gaits at the oval track just by the restaurant. We got to see three first prize horses ridden, for example the "King of the farm", Karrí frá Gauksmýri. Then we were invited to see the stables, and get a close look at both young horses, stallions and rental horses.

A beautiful sunset greeted us when we arrived to Keflavik,  with many, manyexperiences, memories, information and pictures to bring home.

We want to thank everybody for a fantastic week – our guests for visiting us and their endless interest in the Icelandic horse – and the breeders and the Icelandic horsepeople for inviting us and putting so much effort in making the visits an unforgettable experience. Hope to see you all again in Iceland or somewhere else!

DAY 4: THE MAGNIFICIENT LAUFSKÁLARÉTT!

As the people in Skagafjörður say: The day of Laufskálarétt is almost a holy day. Bringing the free roaming horses down from the mountains to the round up corral at Laufskálarétt, all families, friends and guests gather together to chat, laugh and sing old as well as new Icelandic songs. Some are enjoying a beer or two, and of course the delicious Icelandic kjötsúpa!

Some members of the Horse Expo group had the pleasure of riding with the herd down to the corral, together with Rúnar and the people from Dýrfinnustaðir.  The rest of the group went for a visit to the Glaumbær museum. In that way both groups got a chance to get closer to the Icelandic culture and traditions.

After Glaumbær the non-riding group drove to the round up and watched the big herds of horses coming down from the mountains, accompanied by more than 300 riders. The misty weather gave a special mystic touch to the gorgeous landscape surrounding us, and the sight of all the horses running like a river down the hill side was truly magnificent!

Afterwards we could all enjoy seeing how each farm sorted out their own horses from the herd. Some of the horses had tried it before, some of the younger ones made quite a show, but the Icelanders always keep calm, and took everything with a smile.

There is a tradition of selling and buying horses at the round up in Laufskálarétt, and of course today was no exception. A couple of the Horse Expo participants fell instantly in love with some foals in the herd and made a spontaneous decision to go ahead and make a deal. We wish them the best of luck in the future!

In the evening, we had a nice dinner at Hótel Varmahlíð and then continued to a barn party at the stables of Vatnsleysa. Icelanders and Germans got engaged in a kind of a singing competition, which was great fun! Some of the most eager party people then hit the dance floor at Hótel Varmahlíð, where a live band was playing. This day will for sure live in our memories for a long, long time!

DAY 3: IMPRESSIVE YOUNGSTERS AND LEGENDS!

Yet another excellent day at the Horse Expo! After a good nights´ sleep and a solid breakfast at Hótel Varmahlíð and the Hestasport cottages, we went for todays first visit. At Miðsitja we met the owners Magnús, Ingunn, Birgir and Ása together with their team. While showing us some of their very interesting young horses from famous stallions, like Spuni frá Vesturkoti and Ómur frá Kvistum, they introduced us to their breeding history and philosophy. Their goal is to breed beautiful horses with excellent proportions and a lot of tölt, and obviously they are doing really well! It was a great pleasure to stroll around the stable with a cup of hot coffee and some Icelandic snacks, while chatting with the friendly staff and studying the pedigrees of their great horses.

Our next stop was at Varmaland, and as soon as we stepped out of the bus we heard some music coming from the stable. Inside we found not only the owners Sigurgeir and Birna and their team, but also their neighbor Geirmundur who happens to be Iceland´s most well known accordion player. He was entertaining us as we took the tour of the stable, where we of course found a whole bunch of fantastic horses.  We were treated with both cold and hot drinks toghether with some tasty Icelandic specialities, and then a demonstration of the Aqua Trainer. We were also shown horses in different stages of education, spanning from a recently started three-year old to well-known competition horses. Last but not least we were amazed by the stunningly beautiful first prize stallion Erró frá Ási 2, shown free running in the riding hall. After a couple of hours we had to say goodbye to all the nice people and horses, and head towards lunch.

The clouds were gone and the sun was shining as we drove through the scenic landscape, even more beautiful with a little snow on the mountaintops. We stopped for lunch at Hofsstaðir, well known for excellent service and good food.

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Our last visit today was at Vatnsleysa, a farm with a long history of breeding. The owners Björn and Árndís greeted us outside the stable, and started with telling us about the history of the farm. Björns father started building up  the breeding in 1966, mainly with Kolkúos bloodlines and offsprings from Lýsingur frá Voðmúlastöðum. Some of their top stallions, for example Hraunar frá Vatnsleysu, were presented to us, and the special characteristics and movements of the Vatnsleysu breed was very obvious in all of them. Finally we got to visit the famous Glampi frá Vatnsleysu in his field, now 28 years old and retired but it was really nice seeing him enjoying a good life with his best friend. 

After Vatnsleysa we headed home for dinner at Hótel Varmahlið, and then it was time to visit the Laufskálarétt Horse Show at the riding hall in Sauðárkrókur. One great horse after another was presented, there were world champion riders and many first prize horses. Great fun, with a lot of singing, humor and high spirits. A memorable way to finish a great day!

DAY 2: THE MECCA OF THE ICELANDIC HORSES

We started the day by visiting Mette Mannseth and Gísli Gíslason at their farm Þúfur. They gave us a warm welcome and introduced us to their breeding. A lot of hard work, but sometimes you also need at bit of luck - as when a stallion broke out from his field and the result was the exceptional breeding mare Happadís. It means Goddess of Luck in Icelandic, and this time it really was! Mette showed three horses in different stages of training for us. A four year old mare, a six year old stallion and her favorite horse Hnokki. Mette both bred him and trained him all from the beginning. Hnokki is the father of Fönix frá Syðra-Holti, and has won a lot of competitions together with Mette. A great team! Mette was sharing a lot of her philosophy about horse training and education with us, and to put it in a few words it all comes down to keeping the horse happy and satisfied at all times.

After saying goodbye to the people at Þúfur, our next stop was the farm Varmilækur. The owners Björn and Magnea welcomed us at the doorstep with Icelandic schnapps, and started their presentation by showing us a first price breeding stallion and a first price mare, ending with flying pace straight through the riding hall. We also got an introduction to their well-known breeding, and a well performed program by the Icelandic Youth Champion at Landsmót 2017. Afterwards we looked around in the stable that is very light and open, and well planned. It has a special twist - a straight track that goes along the boxes all the way to the riding hall. After getting to know all the horses and studying their pedigrees that were on display for each horse, we were offered a fantastic lunch with Icelandic specialities, all made by Magnea herself. As we were enjoying our meal Björn and some of his friends from the local choir entertained us with Icelandic songs.

After a short drive we arrived to the next farm, which was Hafsteinsstaðir. Skapti and Hildur with family gave us a warm welcome, and started by sharing some of the farms history with us. One of their sons had put up an amazing buffet for us, with local specialities as smoked puffin, different kinds of Icelandic beer and schnapps. While munching away on all the tasty food and drinks, we strolled around the stable looking at all the horses. A lot of interesting discussions were going on, about both the history, the present and the future of horse breeding and also about farming in general in Iceland. Then we went outside to have a look at the breeding mares with foals that were in a field just by the stable, and as a grande finale Skapti and team showed us three amazing horses in all gaits, for example the first prize stallion Oddi frá Hafsteinsstöðum and his full brother. With a happy smile on our faces, we once again got into the bus and hit the road.

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Next stop was at what you might call the Mecca of Icelandic horses, the university of Hólar. Here we got a very interesting presentation of Hólar by Víkingur Gunnarsson, responsible for the Equine Science program. Except from being a university, Hólar is also one of the biggest farms in Iceland with about 50 000 HA of land and some 300 horses. A lot of the horses used in the education are also bred at Hólar. Young horses are used for teaching the students how to start a horse, and the older and very well educated horses are used for riding lessons at all levels. Since Hólar can’t breed enough horses to fill the school’s needs there are also high quality horses from many of the most well-known breeding farms in Iceland. We got a tour around the newly built stables, and then students from the first and third year were showing us horses in all gaits together with their teacher Anton Páll Nielsson. 

A short walk from the riding hall is the Museum of the Icelandic Horse, where we spent some time together with Víkingur. He introduced us to the exhibitions, and as you go through the museum you really realize what an important part the Icelandic horse has played in the history of Iceland. Some of the most influent and important breeding stallions through the history were presented on the top floor, together with the super-mare Ragnars-Brúnka frá Sauðárkrókur, born in 1937 and who you can actually find in the bloodline of all Icelandic horses of today!

Happy and satisfied, and with our heads buzzing with new impressions, we ended the day with a three course dinner at Hólar together with our new friends from some of the breeding farms. To finally top off this great day we could see the Northern lights dancing in the sky on our way back to the hotel!

DAY 1: THE ICELANDIC HORSE EXPO IS ON!

The first day of the Expo started with an extensive breakfast at the hotel. Then we drove up north to Skagafjördur, the area in the North where we’re spending the Expo days. We were welcomed by a nice Icelandic lunch in the riding hall of Svaðastaða: Grilled Icelandic lamb.

After lunch, we drove to Kolkuós through a really beautiful landscape, while Anna Þóra Jónsdóttir from Vatnsleysa told us a lot of interesting details about this area and the farms here; the early times, history of the Kolkuós and Svaðastaðir breeding lines, and about some of the famous horses from this specific area. Kolkuós is a former farm and now run as a guesthouse, but the bloodlines from Kolkuós has definitely a very special place in the breeding of the Icelandic horse.

After the historic throwback, we continued by visiting Syðra-Skörðugil, the family farm owned by Elvar and Fjóla. Here we got a presentation about the business model at the farm, their concepts of breeding and the horses at the stable. We also had the pleasure of seeing a great demonstration of two interesting young mares in front of the stable. The family at Syðra-Skörðugil served us coffee and homemade Icelandic snacks. And before saying “sjáumst” the group also got the opportunity to take a walk in the herds outside and visit some breeding horses and youngsters. 

In the afternoon, we returned to the riding hall at Svaðastaða, where we visited Þórarinn Eymundsson, known as Tóti. He made an introduction to his training and breeding followed by a demonstration of two young stallions and a very interesting young mare with a lot of “thinking forwardness”. We enjoyed the horses, the riding and the delicious snacks and beer, that we were offered. The visit ended with a little show with three first-price-stallions under the saddle. 

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Checking in at Hotel Varmahlíð and Hestasport Cottages we had the pleasure of a really beautiful Icelandic sunset. We finished the day with a meet-up and a delicious dinner at the hotel.

These were just small highlights the first day in the North of Iceland 2017. Today will bring us new adventures! 

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: ÞÓRARINN EYMUNDSSON

In Sauðárkrókur the Icelandic Horse Expo group will get to meet the succesful rider and breeder Þórarinn Eymundsson - also known as Tóti. He will show some horses but also tell about his way of training the horses. As the photo below also tells, we just recently saw Tóti compete at the World Championships in Holland where he was ridning Narri frá Vestri-Leirárgörðum.  

“I have breed a few first prize horses but I highest judged horse is a stallion called Nói from Saurbæ. Our breeding is on a small-scale and we get 3 - 5 foals each year. We are focusing on breeding horses that are fun and easy to ride. Fun horses are those who have good gates, forward and positive character and a conformation that makes it easier for them to perform. But first of all I focus on the mares. My goal is to own and breed with at least one mare that only gives good or super good offsprings - that is one of the most important key for success in breeding. 

I am looking forward to meet interested people. People that love the Icelandic horse and share the same passion for breeding and the Icelandic horse in general. Get to know them a little and that they get to know me, my work and my thoughts better."

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THIS WEEK: FOLLOW THE HORSE EXPO TOUR

From today until Sunday the group at this year's Icelandic Horse Expo Fall-North will visit not less than 11 different horse breeding farms, experience spectacular shows, explore Icelandic food and take part in Laufskálarétt 2017! 

The farm we visit are: 

Kolkuós

Syðra-Skörðugil

Þórarinn Eymundsson

Þúfur

Varmilækur

Hafsteinsstaðir

Hólar

Miðsitja

Varmaland   

Vatnsleysa

Gauksmýri

Follow the event here on our website and on Facebook 

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HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: GAUKSMÝRI

Have you ever traveled across Iceland on horse back? Many tourists enjoy the beautiful nature from horse back and at the farm we present today tourists are a part of the daily life: 

Gauksmýri

Gauksmýri is situated in Húnaþing vestra in the northwest of Iceland. The people at Gauksmýri are running a quite extensive tourism business with emphasis on horse related activities alongside a hotel and restaurant. In addition to that organised breeding has been practiced at the farm for 20 years.

Gauksmýri is a family run business. Jóhann Albertsson began farming and construction of the farm in 1997 alongside with his former wife Sigríður Lárusdóttir, who has sadly passed away. Jóhann´s current partner is Kolbrún Grétarsdóttir, a well known horse photographer and trainer, who breeds horses from Hellnafell. Therefore horses bred from Gauksmýri are from Gauksmýri and Hellnafell. Jóhann´s daughter Hrund and her fiancé Gunnar Páll Helgason run the business today with Jóhann and Kolbrún. 

“We offer horse shows for tourists where the Icelandic horse is presented. The priority is that tourists can get in close contact with the horse and get to experience the life and work on a horse farm. We also offer horse rental and riders can stay on the farm with lessons and trek riding with the option of relaxation and pampering that is called „Stay on the horse farm“.

Our horse breeding emphasizes on breeding beautiful horses that benefit the operations of the farm i.e. performing in horse shows and competition in addition to being suitable for the widest range of riders. We get about 8-10 foals a year. 

All of our breeding mares are 1st prize or have good 2nd prize evaluation. Today the farm owns four 1st prize stallions. The most recognised is Karri frá Gauksmýri IS200915550 who has the highest assessment. Karri has been used quite a lot on the farm in the last few years, but of course we look for desirable stallions from other farms. Our young horses that are awaiting training this fall are for example sired by Spuni frá Vesturkoti, Sjóður frá Kirkjubæ, Karri frá Gauksmýri, Freyðir frá Leysingjastöðum, Gandálfur frá Selfossi and Aríon frá Eystra-Fróðholti.

We are looking forward to show the Icelandic Horse Expo guest our lodge and the horses from Gauksmýri!”

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: Þúfur

Tomorrow most of the participants of the Icelandic Horse Expo Fall-North 2017 will arrive in Iceland! We are looking forward to a great week with lots of beautifully trained horses, and today we are happy to introduce a farm known for bringing their passion into breeding as well as their training. Let’s prepare for:

Þúfur

The horsecenter Þúfur is run and owned by Gísli Gíslason and Mette Mannseth.

The breed in Þúfur is mainly based on four mares: Lygna frá Stangarholti, Happadís frá Stangarholti(Icelandic champion in 4-gait), Birta frá Ey(landsmótsfinalist T1) and Píla frá Syðra-Garðshorni(landsmótswinner 2008,  5-year old). And the bloodline of three stallions: Gáski frá Hofsstöðum, Náttfari frá Ytra-Dalsgerði and Kolfinnur frá Kjarnholtum.

Lygna has 18 ofsprings, 11 shown in breedingshow with an average score for conformation: 8,15 ridden abilities: 8,39 and total score: 8,30. Seven of her daughters and granddaughters are currently in the breeding. Her first is Baldvin frá Stangarholti(20years old) born 1996 who has an incredible cariere;  icelandic champion in T2 and fivegaitcombination, Landsmótsfinalist in B-flokk, A-flokk and childrensclass, and this year, 20 and 21 years old, he becameicelandic champion in Tölt childrensclass and fourgaitcombination. Last  year we showed her 5 year old daughter List frá Þúfum (sired by Trymbill), who got 9,5 for tölt, trot, character and form under rider. She was the highest judged 5 year old, 4-gaited mare that year. Her daughter Kylja has been in the finals at Landsmót (A-flokkur) and the Icelandic Championship (5-gait and T2). And her son Hnokki (sired by Hróður) has three times been in the A-flokk finals in Landsmót. He won the 5-gait combination at the Icelandic Championship last year, 2016. He is also the father of Fönix frá Syðra-Holti, World Champion 2017.

Happadís won the 4-gait at the Icelandic Championship 2010. Her first offspring, Lukka (by Trymbill) 5 years, was shown last year with 8,71 for ridden abilities, which is the highest scor for 5-year old mares that year.

Our main breeding stallions are Hróður frá Refsstöðum, winner of Sleipnirstroffee on Landsmót 2008, and Trymbill frá Stóra-Ási, who we bred and who is doing really well with his first offsprings on the breeding track. Other stallions we have used the last years are f.eks; Viti frá Kagaðarhóli, Stjörnustæll frá Dalvík, Karl frá Torfunesiand Kolskeggur frá Kjarnholtum. This year we used this stallions: Trymbill, Hróður, Kalsi frá Þúfum, Karl frá Torfunesi, Þór frá Torfunesi, Mozart frá Torfunesi, Sesar frá Þúfum, Korgur frá Ingólfshvoli and Þráinn frá Flagbjarnarholti.

Þúfur was awarded Breedingfarm of the year in Skagafjörður 2016. This year we showed 10 horses from our breed, with an average of 8,23. All mares and stallions born 2011 has now been shown and they are all over 8. Some of them are breeding mares and some are heading for competitions next year. The highest were to ofsprings of Kylja. The winner og the 6-year-class on Fjórðungsmót Kalsi, son of Trymbill. And Kveðja 9 year old daughter of Kraftur frá Bringu. She is now pregnant with Karl frá Torfunesi.

We train horses bred by us and but almost half are from other breeders. The horses we produce and show are usually started here, and are trained by us until they are shown, sold, go into breeding or back to their owners.

Our emphasis in the training is that the horses need to have a good basic education and become durable and usable, good riding horses. Hopefully good competition horses that might be shown in a breeding show if they are ready. We use our horses, also the competition horses, for herding sheep and horses, even some of our stallions.

We breed horses that we like ourselves as competition and riding horses. We like light horses with good self-carrige and a lot of speed. Light for us means light movement and light spirit.   

We are looking forward to welcoming you at Þúfur!

HORSE EXPO NORTH PRESENTS: MIÐSITJA

Many famous breeding farms are located in the northern part of Iceland. And next week the Icelandic Horse Expo group visit one of them. Many of you properly know at least one of the horses from this farm - and even your own ridning horse might be related to the horses from: 

Miðsitja

Miðsitja is located in the heart of Skagafjörđur near by Vindheimamelar, a Landsmót location for many years. Horses have been bred in Miðsitja since Iceland was settled, but organized horse breeding has been practiced there for almost 40 years. Miðsitja is a traditional breeding farm for Icelandic horses thanks to Sólveig Stefánsdóttir and Jóhann Þorsteinsson (Jói Vakri) that lived there and bred horses for more than 20 years. They based their breeding on offsprings out of Perla frá Reykir and Gustur frá Sauðárkrókur (Höfða Gustur). Their most famous offsprings are Krafla and Kveikur frá Miðsitja. Kveikur is the father of many of the best breeding mares in Iceland. And everyone knows the offsprings of Krafla. These are horses like Keilir, Kraflar and Katla, whose son is Spuni frá Miðsitja. Magnús took over Miðsitja in 2004 and started his own breeding by following the traditions of the former owners: 

“I chose to use daughters of Kveikur frá Miðsitja as my breeding mares and mixed them with the blood of Gustur frá Sauðárkrókur, when it was possible. I used Roði frá Múli on most of my mares, as he is a son of a Gustur daughter. Our best breeding mare was Björk frá Hólar, a daughter of Viðar frá Vidvík. She has given us a number of first class horses. The best known is Blær frá Miðsitja. He has been the highest judged horse both in Skagafjörđur and in Iceland. He is the son of Arður frá Brautarholt who is a son of Askja frá Miðsitja. So it all leads back to Miðsitja. The last few years we have renewed many of our mares as I have new partners working with me at Miðsitja: Ása and Birgir, who have great ambitions to the take the breeding of Miðsitja to an even higher level.

Our goal is to have 5-7 foals every year, all from first class breeding mares. Furthermore, we'll only use the best stallions available, according to our taste.

We want to breed nice horses with a great temperament. We like the horses to be easy to brake in and pleasant to ride for the average rider. We mainly breed 5-gaited horses and concentrate on the quality of the tölt. We export most of our horses and we love to have happy customers all over Europe, that we can call friends of Miðsitja.

When choosing the stallion for our mares we look at many different things, but we definitely like them to have 9 for the following abilities: Tölt, form under rider, slow tölt, neck and shoulder, and proportions.

We are happy to have the guests from Horse Expo visiting us and we are looking forward to meet all of you next Friday, share a good time and show all of our young horses.”

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: SYÐRA-SKÖRÐUGIL

In Skagafjörður we'll also look forward to stop by at Elvar Einarsson, Fjóla Viktorsdóttir and their lovely daughters, Ásdís Ósk, Viktoría Eik and Sigríður Elva, who are the owners of the farm:

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When we visited the family last year, Elvar told us about how they combine being sheep farmers and horse trainers. And in 2017 they have been training and riding the whole year:

We have been to many competitions this year, and especially our daughters have performed very well. They rode at the Fjórðungsmót, Íslandsmót and etc, and always ended up in finals. 

We also have some new promising mares and geldings that we started training this year. A daughter of Nökkvi frá Syðra-Skörðugili by the name of Karta is probably the most interesting one. She is out of one of our breeding mares, which is a daughter of Kolfinnur frá Kjarnholtum. We did not take her to a breeding show because unfortunately she was injured.

We have a very promising 4-year-old stallion that we started training a little last winter. His name is Muni frá Syðra-Skörðugili, F: Konsert frá Korpu M: Mön frá Lækjamóti. Mön was a very successful competition mare in our family for many years. Muni is a four-gaited horse with very nice and high movements.

We got 6 foals this year in total. They are after: Nökkvi frá Syðra-Skörðugili, Spuni frá Vesturkoti and Lávarður frá Syðra-Skörðugili (Half brother of Nökkvi , M: Lára and F: Álfur). The stallions we used this year was mostly Nökkvi and Muni. Also, we had one mare that went to Viti frá Kagaðarhóli. We are looking forward to see the results next summer.

Our family will be very happy to have the Horse Expo group for a visit. They can expect a good chat, a warm welcome and some good food!

 

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: VARMILÆKUR

The Icelanders are warm and welcoming and the atmosphere on the farms are great. And the farm Varmilækur is no exception - we guarantee that this visit will put a smile on your face. 

VARMILÆKUR

Varmilækur is located about 30 km from Sauðárkrókur and about 45 km from Hólar in Hjaltadalur. On the farm Björn Sveinsson and Magnea K. Guðmundsdóttir have bred, trained, and sold horses and served tourists for many years. Björn has lived on the farm 62 years and Magnea for 16 years.

“At Varmilækur we have two bloodlines from the main broodmares in the breed for many years, Hrafnhildur from Varmilækur and Kolbrún from Sauðárkrókur. Most of the horses we have on the farm are descendants of these two mares.  We have six 1st price-breeding mares in the breeding. We practice horse breeding, training and marketing as well as hosting horse shows for tourists. We have a lot of land, about 700 hectare, recent stables and a riding hall built in 2008 and a lot of hot water, which we use for heating our houses. 

We get about 6-8 foals every year. We are looking for good character in our horses but also good movements and clear gaits. First and foremost we breed fantastic horses with a good mind - both great five gaited horses and four gaited horses. We believe that a good temperament is the most precious quality in a horse and besides that all five gaits have to be well trained and good so anyone can ride with ease. We breed beautiful horses for everybody – breeding horses, competition horses and good riding horses. When choosing the right stallion or mare we think of the best qualities of each horse and how they fit together to make the best results in the breeding process.

This summer we have used the stallions Trymbill frá Stóra Ási, Hróður frá Reffstöðum, Dorfi frá Sauðárkroki, Glúmur frá Dallandi, Nátthrafn frá Varmalæk, Þráinn frá Flagbjarnarhölti. 

We are looking forward to welcoming the Horse Expo visitors. We will show the guests our excellent horse-breeding farm; show them various horses in different age, categories, and the facilities on the farm. A visit to Varmilækur is the perfect opportunity for those who want to see interesting breeding and facilities at its best.

You can learn more about Varmilækur on: www.varmilaekur.is 

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: VARMALAND

Have you ever seen an Icelandic horse in a water treadmill or on a vibrating floor? If not - then you get the chance when visiting the farm: 

VARMALAND

Varmaland is located at the western side of Skagafjörður approximately midway between Varmahlíð and Sauðárkrókur, namely in Sæmundarhlíð. At Varmaland Birna Sigurbjörnsdóttir and Sigurgeir Þorsteinsson live with their children Hannes, Jón Helgi and Sonja. 

“We have lived here for 18 years now. We are running a training station for horses with Aqua Icelander water training and a drying box with vibrating floor. We also breed horses and get 6-7 foals a year. We are aiming to breed horses with high and good movements, beautiful frontlines, good temperament. And we focus on five gaited horses with good tölt. This year we used Sægrím from Bergi , Dofra from Sauðárkróki, Erró from Ási 2 , Spuna from Vesturkoti and Jarl from Árbæjarhjáleigu -  so we are really looking forward to next summer.

Our breeding mares are from Varmaland and Miðsitja and they have Gustur from Sauðárkrókur in their genus. When we choose a stallion for our mares we are looking at the genus and of course the temperament. Beside that we like to use five gaited horses in our breeding.

When you  come to Varmaland we will show you some of our foals, young horses and trained horses after some most popular stallions in Iceland. In the stable right now are promising mares out of Eldur from Torfunesi, Suðri from Enni, Sjóður from Kirkjubæ, Trymbill from Stóra Ási, Glitnir from Eikarbrekku, and Narri from Vestri Leirárgörðum.  This summer we got six foals - four mares and two stallions. They are after Gangster from Árgerði, Viti from Kagaðahóli, Spuni from Vesturkoti, and Grunur from Oddhól.

We will also show you our water trainer and afterwards the horse will go to the draining box which is very recent - and we also have a surprise for you!

We are looking forward to welcome the Horse Expo guests to Varmaland!”

HORSE EXPO FALL-NORTH PRESENTS: Hafsteinsstaðir

The countdown for Horse Expo Fall-North 2017 has begun! Let's start the preparations for this spectacular event by presenting the great farm:

Hafsteinsstaðir

Hafsteinsstaðir is located in Skagafjörður in Northwest Iceland, 10 km south of Sauðárkrókur.

The owners and managers are Hildur Claessen and Skapti Steinbjörnsson. They have 3 sons, Steinbjörn Arent, Jón Haukur and Skapti Ragnar. Along with Hildur and Skapti are their youngest son Skapti Ragnar and his girlfriend Elin Rós who both have graduated with B.Sc. in Riding & Riding Instructions from Hólar University. Skapti Steinbjörnsson is a qualified trainer and riding instructor C from Hólar. Hildur also works as a Bowen therapist.

“Here at Hafsteinsstaðir we train and sell horses of our own breeding and we usually have horses at different stages for sale. 

Hafsteinsstaðir has been nominated to the Breeding farm of the Year Award three times, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, and also received the price Skagafjörður’s Breeding farm of the year 2003, 2010 and 2011. Brynja from Hafsteinsstaðir received the highest score for Breeding Horse of the Year 1991 and Fáni from Hafsteinsstaðir received the top score of the year in 1995. At the WC in Switzerland 1995 Fáni and Skapti came in first place in the breeding class younger stallions. At Landsmót 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2016 Hafsteinsstaðir received the show‘s Best Breeding Farm award. 

Toppa from Hafsteinsstaðir received 1st prize for her offspring in 1980 and she is the source to a long and successful line of horses. 

Hugi from Hafsteinsstaðir received honorary price for offsprings at Landsmót at Vindheimamelar in 2006.

Today our main stallion is Oddi from Hafsteinsstaðir who has 8.53 for riding ability as a fourgaiter.

Our aim is to breed high quality horses with excellent gaits and temperament. Usually we receive five to seven foals each year. This summer our choice in stallions was Spuni from Vesturkoti, Glúmur from Dallandi, Dofri from Sauðárkróki, Hálfmáni from Hafsteinsstaðir and Oddi from Hafsteinsstaðir.

We are really looking forward to welcome Horse Expo at Hafsteinsstaðir 2017.”

DAY 5 - HORSE EXPO SPRING-SOUTH

The last day of the Icelandic Horse Expo offered two more interesting farm visits, open stable at Daniel Jonsson’s and a visit to the riding club Fákur. And then the Expo ended with a ‘grande finale’ - the stallion show Stóðhestaveislan 2017.

We started the day at Austurás, where Haukur told us about the interesting thoughts behind their 10 year old stable - regarding the interior design and the amount of space, light and air. Afterwards he showed us the king of the stable, Draupnir frá Stuðlum, followed by a demonstration of their work with the young horses and some presentations of young, promising mares. Every Expo guest got a nice hat as a farewell present when leaving Austaurás after a great visit.  

The last farm visit of this Expo was at Sunnuhvoll, a farm that is also characterized with new facilities, designed with a lot of passion. Arnar Bjarki presented the family, the stable and their horses. He also demonstrated a training session with the horse Glæsir and explained his philosophy of training young horses. At Sunnuhvoll we also got a very delicious soup for lunch. The visit ended at the oval track, where some very beautiful horses was presented. 

The next point of the Expo agenda was a visit to a well-known horseman: Daniel Jónsson. Daniel welcomed us with the smell of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. What a treat! Subsequently we had the opportunity to walk around in the stable and experience some of the best horses in Iceland right now. 

Next up was a reception at Fákur, a riding club with a long history and great facilities. We were introduced to the thoughts behind Landsmót 2018 and the reception ended with a highlight: A game, where the happy winner got a ticket for Landsmót! 

The Expo ended with a phenomenal show, Stóðhestaveislan 2017, where an impressive amount of spectacular stallions were presented. A perfect closure to a great week, packed with passionate talks about and demonstrations of our amazing Icelandic horses - by the welcoming Icelandic people. 

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See you at the Icelandic Horse Expo in the Northern part of Iceland from September 29 to October 1, 2017!

Photos by Daniela Greis. Words by ALTHING.

DAY 4 - HORSE EXPO SPRING-SOUTH

On the fourth day of The Icelandic Horse Expo we got to see some really great horses - both when visiting Árbakki, Árbæjarhjáleiga and Kirkjubær. But also at the evening event where we experienced the intense and exciting atmosphere at the grand finale in this years Meistaradeildn - a big indoor competition held during the winter in the Southern part of Iceland. 

We started the day at Árbakki where Hinni and Hulda showed us their wonderful place and great facilities. They showed us some of their up coming competition horses - and Hinni also showed this competition horse Pistill fro Litlu-Brekku, a son of Moli frá Skriðu.

Hulda showed us Valur frá Árbakka, a son of Hnokki frá Fellskoti, and she also showed us and explained how the horses on Árbakki are trained and educated and what is important for them in the training.

Hinni welcomes and explains about the breeding at Árbakki. 

Hinni welcomes and explains about the breeding at Árbakki. 

The bus took us a bit further and we stopped at Árbæjarhjáleiga. The family met us on the gravel road with a group of ridden horses - among others the king of the stable Jarl frá Árbæjarhjáleigu, and his 5-year old son Snorri who is very similar to him. We got very delicious grilled lamb from their own breeding for lunch and afterwards a presentation of the horses. 

And then we got a surprise - or everyone did: The first lamb this year was born on the farm during our visit - he might get the name „Expo”!

As the last farm this day we stopped by Kirkjubær. During the wintertime the horses are kept in a stable nearby the riding hall in Hvolsvölllur - but they just arrived back to Kirkjubær again three days ago. And as they explained: “In spring and summer Kirkjubær is the most wonderful place on the earth and that´s why we move the horses again in the end of the winter.” 

As many might know - at Kirkjubær they aimed for a long time only to breed chestnut colored horses with a blue eye and white mane. They not do that anymore - but the breeding is based on 4 black mares. 

There are still chestnut colored horses at Kirkjubær! 

There are still chestnut colored horses at Kirkjubær! 

Even though we didn’t visit more farms this day the program wasn’t over! In the evening we went to the popular Champions League - Meistaradeildn. We got to see the best tölt horses in Iceland! The atmosphere in the riding hall was great and the goosebumps took over your body. 

All in all a great day packed with impressive presentations, good food and great people! 

Photos by Daniela Greis. Words by ALTHING.

DAY 3 - HORSE EXPO SPRING-SOUTH

Day 3 of The Icelandic Horse Expo was filled with interesting talks about breeding and impressive presentations of beautiful mares and powerful stallions. Join us in visiting Kjarr, Kirkjuferjuhjáleiga, Vesturkot and Þóroddstaðir - followed by Breeders' Night. We might also have a small surprise for you the end of the article! 

We started the day visiting Helga and Helgi at Kjarr - combined with a visit from Kirkjuferjuhjáleiga. Here Trausti, the owner of Kirkjuferjuhjáleiga and a very well-known trainer and riding instructor, explained about the breeding on his farm - especially related to the concept of "Tölt in harmony“. Related to that we got a very interesting demonstration of "Tölt in harmony" in the riding hall. We also got to see six of the impressive horses from Kjarr being ridden outside - including the stallions Máfur frá Kjarri and Stúfur frá Kjarri (se photo below). 

Next up was Vesturkot, home of the famous stallion Spuni frá Vesturkoti, who is of course outstanding to meet. The horses in the stables were presented during a stroll along the boxes. After that we enjoyed a well prepared lunch including a very delicious dessert. We are really being spoiled at the farms! The visit ended with a great ridden presentation of three beautiful Spuni-daugthers. 

Last farm of day 3 was Þóroddstaðir, an old farm with a long tradition of breeding. Bjarni told us the story of the farm, explained their breeding goals and mentioned some of the exceptional horses from the breed. At Þóroddstaðir they also presented four young, very special and very talented horses. One of them, a young mare, was shown in the riding hall. And as Bjarni said, “This is a horse that we are going to hear more about in the future!”

A day of amazing horses and great stories ended with “Breeders Night”, where we got the opportunity to get even more insight and to participate in nice discussions about the breeding of the horses we love. 

Pssssst… We are now accompanied by a Swedish television crew! And it’s very exciting what they will come up with afterwards. One thing is for sure: They’ll learn a lot about the Icelandic horse breed on this trip! 

Photos by Daniela Greis. Words by ALTHING.