Yet another great day in the southern part of Iceland is over! We started the day at the farm Kvistir just outside Hella. The farm in own by the German man Günther Weber but run by Sigvaldi L. Gudmundsson, who lives there with his wife Marta Gunnarsdóttir and their two children Elísabet Líf and Helgi Hrafn. In 1998 Günther build up the entire place and even brought the materials from Germany. Kvistir has been run as a top professional training stable since and many really good competition horses have the name “frá Kvistum”. Fore example Muni frá Kvistum, Óliver frá Kvistum and not least Ómur frá Kvistum. As Sigvaldi said: “Home of the champions”.
We got to say hi to Ómur as well and using him as an example Sigvaldi talked about what he is looking for when breeding. He wants to breed light horses with long legs, that has a strong topline, strong legs, and high withers: “When you are ridning the horse, you should get the feeling of an airplane taking off.”
After having coffee and Icelandic sweets and cake both Sigvaldi and Elísabet showed us how they train the horses and demonstrated how good it is for the young riders to have a horse they can trust and have fun with. Elísabet is 9 years old and just started to compete on the black mare María. Furthermore, we had the pleasure of seeing a young Ómur-son who made an enthusiastic show for os running free in the riding hall.
We ended the visit at Kvistir by seeing the great Ómur showing off with Sigvaldi in the saddle on the roads near by the farm.
Petra drove the bus further into the country. Next stop was Friðheimar where Knútur and Helena live. The don’t just breed horses, they are also growing a whole lot of tomatoes. Actually they grow so many tomatoes that they are selling to the super markeds and are running a really good restaurant with all kind of dishes with tomatoes. And the delicious food is served in the middle of the big green houses.
At Friðheimar, the principle has been to grow tomatoes with optimum taste quality, while maintaining eco-friendly standards. The tomatoes are now grown all year, using state-of-the-art technology in an environmentally-friendly way. Green energy, pure water and biological pest controls make for tasty and healthful tomatoes.
After the ultimate tomato experience we went to see the stable and the horses there. Knútur has been training horses since he was a child and are still breeding 1-3 foals a year. During the summer time guests can enjoy the popular horse show at Friðheimar and get to know more about the Icelandic horse breed.
Third and last farm of the day was Þóroddsstaðir. On Þóroddsstaðir Bjarni and Margrétar have been breeding horses for many many years.
The goal is to fulfill the dream about well–shaped horses with great riding abilities. Bjarni put emphasis on the importance of the mares in the breeding: That it is very important to have good mares to succes in breeding. Today they only use first prize mares on Þóroddsstaðir. So to Bjarni quality comes definitely before quantity.
“We like our horses to be easy to break in and easy to ride: Our children had their first and only riding experience on these horses. As grown-ups they have become outstanding riders and trainers. That is also a breeding goal, by the way! One could say that the breeding will soon be taken over by our son Bjarni, and many of the horses are already owned by him.”
And Bjarni — the son of Bjarni, afterwards showed us two horses to talk about the conformation of the horses and then showed us a beautiful black stallion in all five gaits on the gravel road.
To end the day on the farms perfectly Bjarni’s grandson Hrói rode his white mare Spöng frá Þóroddsstöðum. Hrói is 5 years old and Spöng 20 years old!
After the farm visits we went to the shop Baldvin & Þorvaldur where we had the chance to buy some riding gear and chat before going to the Breeders Night. We had a great dinner and got to talk with all the breeders we have been and will be visiting the next days.
Tomorrow we are ready for even more Icelandic horse power and sunshine!