We started the day at the farm Halakot where Svanhvít Kristjánsdóttir lives and trains her horses. Most Icelandic horse people knew her husband, the great horse man Einar Öder, who sadly passed away a few years ago. Svanhvít continues the ambitious breeding, but the world champion Glóðafeykir frá Halakoti is an excellent example of their good horses.
The barn at Halakot is beautifully shaped with six corners and the boxes placed in a circle around the middle. The ground in the middle is used for lounging, work from hand, and as a small indoor working and relaxing spot in bad weather.
Today the weather was amazing and the sun shining. Svanhvít showed us two powerful horses on the road between the fields. First the beautiful Bay stallion Ötull frá Halakoti sired by Herjólfur frá Ragnheidarstöðum and then a daughter of Hnokki fra Fellskoti, Hraunglóð frá Halakoti. Both horses are out of the mare Glóð frá Grjóteyri.
We had a great first visit to Halakot and the bus then took us further into the country — next stop Árbakki/Hestvit.
At Árbakki Hinrik Bragason and Hulda Gústafsdóttir run their business. Besides training horses they also export a lot of horses from Iceland. Actually they were the biggest exporting company in 2016 and 2017.
Hulda was waiting for us in the door and Hinrik was about to saddle the first horse to show us when we arrived to the farm. Hulda and Hinrik are competing a lot and many well known horses have been trained and are trained at Árbakki. While Hinrik showed us the daily training of two horses - Hrokur frá Hjardartuni and Nutið frá Koltursey, Hulda told us about their horses, the breeding, and how they train the horses. She told about the character of the horse; why it is so important that the horses have a great temper and are fast learners. Big movements and strength are not worth something if the character of the horse is not good.
After the presentations of the horses in the riding hall, we had a great lunch in the coffee room. On the walls all the trophies were standing one by one — you didn't really doubt that here live top motivated competitive people.
We also got to see a beautiful bay stallion running in the riding hall. He was a good example of a horse with a great temper, but also a powerful mind and with elastic and big movements. He was really something special — Arður frá Efri-Þverá.
Last stop on this first day of the Icelandic Horse Expo Spring-South was on the farm Strandarhöfð. The farm is owned by Guðmundur Már Stefansson and Auður M. Möller, but Ásmundur Ernir Snorrason and his girlfriend Stella Sólveig Pálmarsdóttir are running the stable together with their employe Matthías Elmar Tómasson. The farm was renovated in 2009 and is now a top professional training stable with space for almost 40 horses in training and a riding hall.
Ásmundur started by going through all the horses and told us about their age, bloodlines, and state of training. Afterwards we got to see a young stallion, Ás frá Strandarhöfði, a son of Lukku-Láki Frá Stóra-Vatnsskarði, running in the ridning hall. Ásmundur really likes this young stallion and was excited himself to see him run in the hall without rider. The movements were really light and the horse ran easily around with a beautifully arched neck. Afterwards Ásmundur was riding the stallion Dökkvi, which is one of Stella’s favorites in the stable. A really good four gaited stallion.
Before seeing more horses under rider, there was a lottery. And the lucky winner could choose a coverage under one of the stallions from Strandarhöfð! What a prize, and the winner was really excited and now just need to find a good mare as well.
To end a perfect Expo day, Ásmundur and Stella showed us two powerful horses on the road in front of the stable. It was a fantastic view in the sun, with a bit of snow on the ground, and the magic Icelandic landscape in the background.
We are looking forward to another great Expo day tomorrow filled with interesting talks, blue sky, and passion for the Icelandic horse!