DAY 4: GREAT HORSES, FACILITIES, AND SHOWS

We spent the last day of the Horse Expo on two amazing farms and ended up the day at the riding club Fákur in Reykjavík and a big stallion show in the riding hall of Sprettur. 

First stop was on the farm Kvistir - not the Kvistir we visited the other day, but another one, where Benedikt G Benediktsson and his wife Guðrún Pálína Haraldsdóttir live. Here the horses from Stóra-Vatnsskarð are trained. Benni is born and raised on the farm Stóra-Vatnsskarð in the northern part of Iceland. His parents still live there and the horses are growing up on the big fields nearby the farm. When the horses are ready for training they come to the Kvistir just outside Selfoss. 

Benni had made a tight and well organized program for us where we got to see many of his lovely horses. We started by checking out the breeding mares and especially one of them is very speciel to Benni — the mare Lukka frá Stóra-Vatnsskarði, the highest evaluated mare in the world. She is the mother of many great daughters and sons and they where lined up in the stable as well. Benni proudly also showed us Lukku-Láki frá Stóra-Vatnsskarði, a son of Lukka and Álfur frá Selfossi. 

Afterwards the trainers showed us a couple of horses under saddle and we even got a private pace showoff on the road in front of the house. We also enjoyed seeing both 2 and 3 years old horses running while standing on the fields together with all the foals from last year. And to finish the show before a chat and a coffee in the stable, Lukku-Láki showed off in beautiful trot and slow canter. He really enjoys the attention and this season he is in training at Árbakki and will be ridden by Hinrik Bragason, whom we visited the other day. 

It was a great pleasure to meet the family at Kvistir, enjoying horses at all ages, and to hear about the breeding of some of the best horses in the world. 

Just on the other side of the “highway” the next farm was located - the stunning training stable of Sunnuhvoll. Here Sigurður Sigurðsson and Anna Björg Níelsdóttir live together with their children Arnar, Glódís and Védís - and Arnar's girlfriend Árný. Arnar welcomed us in the stables and told us about the facilities and horses. The stable was build two years ago and has room for 32 horses. It is very well arranged with a riding hall in the end and from there easy to go to the oval track just outside the stable. 

Anna Björg started the breeding from Sunnuhvoll just 14 years old with the mare Saga frá Litlu-Sandvík and she has given the family 17 offsprings. In the breeding they focus a lot on the character of the horse so that everyone can ride the horses in the stable. Furthermore Arnar said that the conformation of the horse has to be good as well being both beautiful and functional. 

While having a delicious Icelandic meat soup Arnar was riding a young mare in the riding hall. Arnar explained about his training of the horses and the importance of having the horses relaxed and aware of the rider. Arnar loves to teach and it was a great demonstration. 

At Sunnuhvoll they are competing a lot and it was a pleasure to see Glódís, Védís, Árný, and Arnar showing us how they train their horses inside and afterwards giving full speed on the oval track on their impressive horses. 

After the visit at Sunnuhvoll we were heading back to Reykjavík and the stable area of Víðidal where more than 3000 horses are stabled. We met up with Siggi Mat and Edda Run in their stable and heard about their daily life training horses in Reykjavík. Since they were kids they have been training horses in this arena. They don’t breed so many horses themselves since they don’t have the time for it yet. During the breeding season they are instead busy with training horses for other people that are going to breeding shows and competitions. During the years they have won a lot of prizes and are often going abroad to teach and educate riders all over the world. Siggi and Edda are a well known couple and are selling a lot of horses too. They really enjoy finding the perfect match between horse and rider.

Just before leaving the riding club of Fákur we got to hear about the Landsmót taking place in Reykjavík in the beginning of July this summer. This year Fákur is hosting the event and with a special emphasis on making it a great event for the entire family. 

You can read much more about the event here: www.landsmot.is

To end up the Horse Expo week in Iceland perfectly we went to the big show Stóðhestaveisla, the stallion show in Reykjavík. We enjoyed the show from the first row — it was amazing to see some of the best stallions in Iceland and the atmosphere in the area was magnificent. It’s not getting any better than this! 

Thank you for following the event during the week - it has been a great pleasure to keep you all updated! 

Tempted to join the next event? 

Find more information here: http://www.icelandichorseexpo.com/fall-north/

Text and photos during the week by Althing