Learn more about Icelandic horses in Australia
Hi, my name is Anna, I’m 57 years old and I am from Sweden. I have three grownup sons and I work with education (mostly on distance) and I love to meet new people and to see new places. I have been riding for more than 50 years now and the last 20 years almost only Icelandic horses. I have been competing sometimes, especially in pace (races).
In 2019, I went to Iceland for a month to help out at a guesthouse. I had been in Iceland before for vacation and I fell in love with the country, the nature, the adventure, the horses, the people, the language, and the culture. This month working in Iceland was awesome and when I went back home to Sweden, I had the plan to go back, and so I did.
Time after time after time after… In 2021, when COVID was terrible in Sweden (and the rest of the world) I spent a whole year in Iceland as I had bought my dream horse Kliður frá Kálfsstöðum the year before and he was (and still is) there. You know ”my home is where my horse is”… 🙂
During 2022, I have been going back for shorter and longer periods but in the end of December last year I got an idea, that I would like to experience a ”new adventure”…
In 2016, I started a podcast, “Islandshästpodden” (The Icelandic horse podcast) together with my dear friend Mirjam Horn. We have more than 230 episodes (mostly in Swedish but also some in English) and one I did with a woman from Australia about the Icelandic horses there. So I contacted her and asked her if she knew someone that I could visit and ”help out”. She connected me with a wonderful family, and just before Christmas I got on an airplane and flew for almost 24 hours to Brisbane, Queensland.
So now, I’m at Northern Lights Icelandic Horses in Jimboomba. It is about 45 minutes south of Brisbane and 45 minutes northwest of Gold Coast.
I spend my days with working in the stable, riding and helping out with whatever they need help with. The Ledgers are a wonderful family of 4, and they have welcomed me as a family member. They are fantastic guides and show me the area and explain the culture, point out everything like beautiful trees and flowers, rainforests, snakes, frogs, koalas, kangaroos, spiders and they take me to beautiful places. They feed me, make sure that I drink enough water (it is really hot here, some days up to +38 degrees), that I wear a hat and stay out of the sun.
There are 13 horses on the farm, one stallion and two mares with two foals that just have been born. The rest is young horses and riding horses. The two breeding mares was last year inseminated with frozen semen from Kveikur frá Stangarlæk and Héðinn frá Feti and they gave birth to two beautiful foals, a filly and a colt.
This is really important and good for the breeding here in Australia as there are only about 350 Icelandic horses here and new bloodlines contribute to the breeding in a good way. You could think that the sun and the weather is too warm for the horse. And at this time of year, we are working the horses early in the morning when the temperature outside is really nice (or in the evening before it gets dark). The horses also have shelters in the meadows so they always can get shadow. But it is interesting to see the foals that quite often is choosing to lay in the sun to sleep instead.
One big difference between Sweden and Australia is that there is so many more Icelandic horses in Sweden and that we have so many good trainers to use for both the riders and horse’s education. Here, there is no certificated Icelandic horse trainer in Queensland and there are also no oval tracks to use.
As one of my good friends is Camilla Hed (FEIF trainer of the year 2021), I contacted her and asked for online training sessions with her and we have had two this fare. It works very well. Due to the time change we start at 6 o’clock in the morning (our time), then it is nine o’clock the day before at her place. The riders at the farm are very inspired and happy that they now have this opportunity to get support, coaching and to learn more. It is a big interest in the Icelandic horses here and the horses are expensive to buy as there is not that many on the market. There is a lot of trail riding here and there is so special to see the country, the nature and all the wild animal on our tours. Every time we ride out there is always kangaroos, different parrots, and many other exotic animals around us. This is really an adventure for me, and I love it so much!
Thank you, dear Anna, for your insights! Take care!
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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