To get a little kickstart on this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to do a Q&A so that you all can get to know me and Baldur a little better. So I asked my followers on Instagram to ask me whatever they were wondering, and here is the result! I also want to give a big thanks to everyone who sent in questions, there well over 30 questions from different people!
What’s the one thing that makes Baldur special to you? – Question by @simon.seljak
Well, to be honest he is a very weird horse. He is very fragile(mentally) and he needs to be treated accordingly. But he is also the sweetest horse on earth. He is special to me because he has taught me so much over a few year. Especially being patient and working hard to achieve goals. He may not be an educated horse, but he has definitely educated me through the years!
My question is a bit more personal, about something specific with my horse; we are trying liberty so whenever I walk, he follows. Which is great, but when I turn the the inside, he ignores me and walks right past me, cutting me off. He doesn’t know he’s doing anything wrong, because I haven’t corrected this, I don’t know how. Do you have any tips for me? – Question by @carino.and.me
If Baldur did this to me, I would first start working on stop and start while following. For example, if you can feel your horse is going to walk past you, try to let him know you want him to stop as well. A simple “whoa” or whatever cue you use to slow him down, now is the time to use it. Not after he has passed you, but before he does it. If he stops, reward him massively, if not, try again! I am sure your horse does not do this to be rude, he just doesn’t know what you want. And if this does not work, start using a halter with a lead, and slightly hold him back if he tried to pass you, then give treat when he stops. And when he gets it, move on to doing it without the lead, then without the halter and so on! I hope this helps!
I do wonder how Baldur’s training schedule looks like, how long you train, what you do together. I also wonder what you’re favorite trick is and what Baldur’s favorite trick is and what his favorite snack is. – Question by @kittygulloy
Baldur’s training schedule depends on what we are planning to do, and where we are. Earlier this year, we would have jumping lessons once a week or twice a month, as our focus was to get ready for show jumping competition. We would also do dressage 2-3 times a week and the rest is hacks and a day or two off. This was in Hamar, and we have been in Ålesund for almost two months now. We have not been jumping, only doing dressage, gaited and hacks. My interests have moved to gaited competitions, so we are doing our best to prepare for the competitions we want to enter this fall! Of course we always fit in some trick training and free riding once a week.
My favorite trick is the rear, I know many people dislike the rear, but I love the action as well as this tricks helps Baldur to activate and use his back and haunches. I believe Baldur’s favorite trick is the smile or kiss! After I taught him to kiss, he has become less head shy and he seems so much more social towards people. He really opened up after I taught him this trick. Baldur’s favorite snack is apple flavored treats!
What was it that made you buy Baldur? – Question by @ridingwithunicorns and @sarasnikon
I had leased Baldur for almost a year when his owner announced the was selling off some of her horses. I was desperate because I knew I was not allowed to purchase a horse, and I had literally fallen head over heels in love with him. So I spent a week trying to convince my parents to let me buy him. After a lot of back and forth, they agreed that I could purchase him. They did not help me financially, I managed to pay everything on my own, and I have done so for almost 3 years now.
For how long have you been riding and did you have any special reasons for starting it? – Question by @ck.carla
I have been riding since I was 8 years old in 2004. The only reason I started to ride that late was because that’s when my parents thought I was “old enough” to start taking lessons. I had literally been nagging them forever to start riding horses.
I would like to know more about the traits of Icelandic horses, or at least that of Baldur. I’ve always been fascinated with the breed. – Question by @zarasmile72
Well, the biggest trait of the Icelandic horse is the fact that they can have up to 5 different gaits. As well as they are very powerful, and easily carry a grown man. They are pony-sized, but they fall under the horse category because of how they are built and the fact that they can carry so much weight. And as a bonus, Icelandic horses can have all coat colors in the world! Some are more rare than others, though. I am especially in love with the silver dapple blacks!
Is baldur a 4 or 5 gaiter? And do you often train the gaits or do more dressage and jumping and such? What has your biggest struggle been with Baldur? – Question by @demixwodanxevax
Baldur is a five-gaiter, but we only use four gaits on him. He hasn’t been taught to pace properly, both because of my interest, and because the last gait(pace) can ruin his other good gaits. So we are keeping it at four for now.
Gaited versus show jumping? – Question by @team_emblaogthor
How did you get your coorperation with Lukar Norge? – Question by @tinkythetinker
They actually had a photo contest on hest.no that I participated. I came in contact with them through that, and I was offered to be their ambassador.
Did you always want an Icelandic Horse? – Question by @tinkythetinker
No way! I used to be very stuck-up when it came to Icelandics. I believed they were just some furry, useless ponies with useless gaits. It wasn’t until I met Baldur that my beliefs changed!
How did you start riding? – Question by @mette_and_ketill
I started riding as soon as my parents let me take lessons!
Are you planning on selling Baldur? – Question by @julieogmari
Absolutely not, I would never plan on selling him. And if I ever sold him, it would be if it was the last option in the world.
What are your future goals with Baldur? – Question by @tonii_023
My future goal with Baldur is to start competing gaited again, and my absolute goal is to get a character total of 6 in competition(so far we have reached 5,40).
What kind of camera do you use? – Question by @leonie242431 and @hanne.melbye
The camera I use for my photos is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
When did you meet Baldur? – Question by @silje.gulbrandsen
My first encounter with Baldur was January 12th of 2015!
How long have you had Baldur? – Question by @saraogbalder and @eq_ruutaa
It has been 2,5 years since I started leasing him, but I have almost owned him for two years now! Our anniversary is right around the corner!
Your best tips for getting an Icelandic in shape? Recently got a new Icelandic home, that’s quite fat, and I would love to have him looking as nice as Baldur! – Question by @klara.rindeberg
Thank you for that! My number one tip is do not give your horse more feed than he needs! Too often I see owners give their horses much more feed than the horse needs, causing the horse to over-feed and get fat. Getting a horse that is over-feeding fit, just makes the job so much harder for both you and the horse. Tip number two is to be consistent in the training. I would rather see a horse being used 20 minutes each day, than 1 hour hard training a few times a week. Mountain climbing is also a goldmine! Climbing helps the horse build and use muscles that it won’t use in a training ring. So going for a hack or climb every other day is recommended!
How high is Baldur? And how did it all start with you two? – Question by @icelandic_horse_kiljan
Baldur is 146cm tall, approximately 14.3 hands high. It all started kind of random, because I was looking around for horses to ride(by horses I mean big horses, ala warmbloods and etc). I came in contact with Baldur’s previous owner, and she wondered if I wanted to try out Baldur. I actually turned her down at first, but after thinking it through, I agreed to meet them. And this is how it all started.
What made you want to start riding gaited? – Question by @united.equestriian
When I started riding Baldur, there were mostly just Icelandic horse riders at the stable he was at. So I naturally joined them in riding, and it spiked my interest for gaited, and I was soon interested in starting competitions.
How old is Baldur? – Question by @sofie.and.rebell
Baldur is 12 years now, born June 15th in 2005!
What is the best thing about Baldur? Is Baldur your first Icelandic horse? – Question by @tallintarinoita
The best thing about Baldur is definitely his personality. I have never come across a horse like him. And of course, a bonus is that he grunts like a pig! Baldur is not only my first Icelandic horse, he is my very first horse!
What stable are you staying at now? And are you happy with your progress with Baldur? – Question by @christineogbwana
We are staying at a stable called “Stall Sætre” right now, but in August we are heading back to Hamar and staying at “Stallen i Rognstad” in Stange. Yes, I am thrilled with how far we have come! Especially since I was at the brink of quitting him in the start, it was the worst. But we have learned together and I believe we have grown a lot. So I am very happy with how far we have come!
When did you start riding Icelandic horses? – Question by @_.liiviia._
I rode my first Icelandic horse in 2012, when I leased Logi. But he only had his three gaits, so I never got to experience tölt on him. It was not until I started to ride Baldur that I first got to know the tölt!
How high have you and Baldur jumped? – Question by @mette_and_ketill
Me and Baldur have together jumped 1m10, but he has loose jumped 1m20 and I have jumped 1m20 with another horse!
If you got permission to ride tackless at a show, would you do it? – Question by @lene_olesen
Oh yes, I would! But of course with a lot more training and preparing, if we were just to go right now, we would probably fail terribly!
Can Baldur lie down on command? If not, would you want to teach him this? – Question by @naturtoelter
No, he cannot! But we are currently working on it. It is taking a lot of time, since Baldur does not trust anyone around him when he is down, but he does sort of understand what I want. He laid down for me around 8-9 times the last time we worked on this!
How long did it take you to learn to ride without tack? – Question by @zarasmile72
I have been riding bareback for as long as I can remember, so removing the bridle was not really a problem to me when it comes to balance. Baldur is a strange horse to ride bareback, his trot is very bouncy and hard to sit, so we are working on that as well. But when it comes to give directions tackless, I learned through Baldur. He taught me alot, and I am still learning. We started from the ground and worked our way up. We are not perfect, but we try our best!
If you could intern under one person, who would you choose? – Question by @bandfreaxx
Good question! I would absolutely love to intern under Kathy Sierra(@intrinzen on Instagram) or maybe Anna Marciniak(@onehorselife_official on Instagram). These two are amazing at what they do, and being able to learn just a fraction of what they know would be a dream!