I have known 3 horse fanciers in my life. Eileen Doyle, a work buddy, was one of them. All 3 of the women owned horses, but only Eileen was kicked. She did not blame her horse for the severe injury because she claimed that she made the mistake of walking behind him. This is a definite no no I have learned. I have not learned, however, why women choose to raise horses more than men do although that seems to be the case. All I know is that the horse doesn’t make it into the top 5 of popular animal pets. None of the 3 women I know who love horses has made, to my knowledge, the mistake of trying to take their horses on planes as therapy animals. I did visit, however, a place where therapy horses were regularly ridden. That resulted in an interesting article topic.
I have ridden horses on trips, but there is only one destination where I actively sought out horses–Iceland. The horse has been an important animal there since the 9th century when Vikings arrived with them. They brought horses when they settled there, and for centuries horses were the only means of transportation in this cold place. As a result of their importance, a separate breed of Icelandic horse was developed. I took the photo of one of them when Ruth & I were there. It’s up top with another horse.
The Icelandic horse is said to be friendly, very smart, and eager to learn. They are seen everywhere in Iceland and get lots of attention. They are instantly recognizable because of their impressive manes and tails. They are of no certain color and are hard working animals known to be adaptable in a land with few highways. Half of the roads in Iceland are not paved, and Icelandic horses are bred to cross vast distances over hard terrain. Today, they are mainly used for sport riding.
We learned while there that the Icelandic film director Baltasar Kormakur’s wife dotes on horses and raises them. We sought them out not too far from the community pool north of Reykjavik that this couple is responsible for building. Her horses were running free in a pasture so we were able to take pictures of them. I have really liked 2 of Kormakur’s films, Adrift and The Deep. Both are incredible true tale of survival. Many Kormakur films are about seas and oceans.
Iceland horses are known for their unusual gait. Most horses have actually mastered five gaits typical of all horses–walking, trotting, cantering, galloping, and going backwards, but Iceland horses have developed 2 more, the 4 beat lateral and flying pace. They are distinctive to this breed. The one that some horses in Iceland lack is flying pace, a very fast movement over land that is like a fifth gear on a vehicle.