ICELANDICHORSES, A HOTEL & THE LAND OF THEIR DREAMS - KATHI & ALEX IN ICELAND!
We are Katharina Kujawa (Kathi, 26) and Alexander Uekötter (Alex, 31) and originally come from Dortmund and Münster, Germany. After previous short work stays on the island of fire and ice, we have been living in Iceland for four years now and have been able to learn and gain a lot of experience here, for which we are incredibly grateful. We were drawn to Iceland on a long-term basis, mainly because of Kathi’s dream of studying in Hólar, which then came true. We also wanted to expand our Icelandic breeding Vængsstaðir (frá Vængsstöðum), which has existed since 2017. We soon realized that we wanted to stay in Iceland permanently.
This summer, Kathi almost finished university and earned her diploma as a rider. For health reasons (Unfortunately, Covid 19 has not passed Iceland either) she had to postpone her bachelor thesis until next spring in order to complete the full B.Sc. as a rider and riding instructor from Hólar. In addition to her studies, Kathi has worked for many famous trainers in Iceland, including Þórarinn (Tóti) Eymundsson, Mette Mannseth and Barbara Wenzl.
Until this summer, Alex was employed as the main rider by one of the 6 riding champions in the Icelandic horse world, Tóti. Here, he had the opportunity to educate and train many fantastic horses and to gain further experience in competition riding and on the FIZO track.
In the course of working at Tóti, Alex broke in a very special young horse in winter 2019/20 – after just a few weeks it was clear that this mare was his absolute dream horse. Unfortunately, the dream of buying this horse could not be realized for us, so we brought our good friend Lea Busch on board. Both of us worked together with Lea at Mette and Gísli in Þúfur.
In spring 2022, we made our dream come true! Together, we bought the unique mare Þenja frá Prestsbæ, a daughter of the Landsmót champion mare and honorary prize winner Þoka frá Hólum and the first prize stallion Hróður frá Refsstöðum. Þenja was four years old on her first FIZO and received an incredible building mark of 8.68 with 9.5 for back and proportions! At that point at the latest, it was clear that we had done everything right with her. It was already agreed at the time of purchase that Þenja would become a breeding mare and that Lea and we would take it in turns to have foals from her. But before she went into breeding, we still had a dream: that she, like both her parents and most of her maternal siblings, would go to Landsmót! All three of us had the chance to train her for a certain time. Tóti presented her last year and she was third place in the class of five-year-old mares at Landssýning!
This year, the big day had come: Þenja and Tóti exceeded our wildest dreams when they took the 2nd place at Landsmót 2022 with the same final score (8.49) as the winning mare! We know that Þenja was just at the beginning of her riding horse career and could have achieved great things. That’s why it was difficult to say goodbye to her for breeding. But Þenja’s first filly from a surrogate mother, owned by Lea Busch, already gives an idea of what a pearl she will be for breeding. Although we miss the unforgettable rides with her, we are all the happier that she will enrich our breeding from now on. Next year our first Þenja foal will be born under the exceptional fourgaiter Hannibal frá Þúfum.
And because 2022 was such an incredible year for us, thanks to the support of our wonderful families, we have also fulfilled our biggest dream and have finally settled down in Iceland – in the beautiful north-west of the country, between Hvammstangi and Blönduós, on the Vatnsnes Peninsula. Here, we have acquired Þorfinnsstaðir Farm and Hotel Hvítserkur! This autumn we have already moved to our new home with all our own horses and our training horses and are currently working at full speed to renovate our small but fine hotel for next spring and to open it in April 2023. You can find all information and bookings on our website https://hvitserkur.is. The hotel has 15 rooms and can accommodate up to 35 guests. From next year, we will also be renting out a cozy summer house (3 rooms, kitchen, bathroom).
In addition to overnight accommodation, we offer breakfast as well as individual riding lessons on our own well-trained horses, fishing in our river and other leisure activities. We are also open to receiving smaller groups for riding courses from next winter. Over the winter months, when the hotel is closed, we will mainly focus on horse training and riding lessons in Iceland and clinics abroad.
In addition, we often have interesting horses for sale and work closely with Alexander’s brother Johannes Uekötter, who has taken over the family business “Das Vertherland”, in the areas of breeding and sales. You can find our current sales horses, stud stallions and more on our Profile on UNDRA.
You can follow our journey and life here in Iceland on Facebook (Vængsstaðir & Hótel Hvítserkur) and Instagram (Hotelhvitserkur & Icelandichorses_breeding).
Thank you, dear Kathi und Alex, for your time and insights! We are excited to follow your journey!
A land of fire and ice, with more sheep than inhabitants, characterized by a unique nature! This is just a brief description of such a diverse country. While a volcano may erupt on one side of the country, you can hike a glacier, admire the Northern Lights, or take a bath in a hot spring on the other side of the country - at the same time.
This not only speaks for diversity, but also for spontaneity, which is also reflected in the changeable weather in Iceland. A popular Icelandic saying is "If you do not like the current weather, just wait for five minutes".
In contrast to this inconsistency, one thing is constant and that is the enthusiasm for Icelandic horses! The Vikings brought horses to the island in the 9th century.
To find out more about Iceland, you can find travelogues, reports, or interesting facts here in the UNDRA Journal!
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