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November 28, 2014: New Foal

Tonight we went to see Hellarounde, Frank and Claudia Sihler’s new foal. The English translation of the Icelandic name is smooth lava. I don’t know why, as far as Icelandic horse names go, that there’s a need to distinguish between smooth and jagged lava. But smooth lava it is, and smooth lava it will remain.

The Sihlers are conscientious horse owners and love their two new acquisitions, Giff and Katla, dearly. So these two older mares have ended up in good homes. About a year ago I wrote a dispatch in which I expressed considerable concern about a December born Icelandic foal. The foal ended up at the Sihler’s for a while – it had been sold to another buyer before they temporarily took it on.

Giff's foal last spring

I was aghast that the owners of the first foal were not on top of the situation – they had poor fencing so the mare and stallion got together, resulting in the December foal.

The Sihlers got a two for the price of one deal because the stallion impregnated Katla before they purchased her. Okay. So the first breeding (resulting in the December foal) might be considered an accident of sorts. But not the second breeding (this one resulted in the November foal) – no, no, no. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes, right? The breeder did have the stallion gelded. Well, this could happen a third time because the breeder is making noises about going to Iceland and getting another stallion. I badly want to take this person and slap her upside the head.

The weather’s been good – thank dog – so the mare and foal got lucky. Frank built a barn – he lined it with straw and set up a heat lamp so that the little fellow will be warm at night. In addition, he’s built a two corral panel enclosure up by the house, so he can feed and water the mares separately. This is right outside his window, so he can watch them.

The Silhers have also put up a round pen. When I first heard of this I expressed my dismay because round pen training is something that doesn’t work well with Icelandic horses. Round penning is based upon the predator/prey relationship. Problem is, Icelandic horses don’t perceive that they have any predators because they had none in Iceland. I told Frank this for at the time I feared that he would go the conventional route in training his horses. As it turned out, he’s now using his round pen for agility work.

Claudia recently found a website in which participants can join an agility club. You become a member – and as a member you get a once monthly course to train your horse to. Then you make a video of your horse doing this course, and then submit it to the club administrators. You are then rated on your performance and that of your horse’s. Me, I really like the idea of having one set course to work on. Raudi and I are currently all over the map – this would provide us with much-needed focus. So I am now mulling over the idea of signing up. Could be fun. And I could do a state fair demonstration. We shall see. We shall see.

Next: 318. 11/29/14: Dressage Troll