Icelandic Horse Breeding Evaluation By Christine Schwartz Icelandic Horse enthusiasts gathered June 20-21 at Fitjamyri Icelandic Horse Farm, just outside Vernon BC, for the annual Icelandic Horse Breeding Evaluation hosted by the owners of the farm, Arnold and Toos Faber.
ine stallions, 16 mares and one gelding were presented to the skillful eye of two judges who travelled to the event all the way from Iceland. The current system of evaluating young and trained Icelandic breeding horses has been in use for over 50 years and, while some refinements are added from time to time, the system has proven very successful in all the European and North American countries that belong to the Icelandic Horse umbrella organisation FEIF (Federation of European Icelandic Horse Friends). Each year about 60-70 breeding evaluations are held worldwide, all subscribing to the same rules, with the majority being held in Iceland and Germany where there are the largest numbers of Icelandic Horses and breeding quality horses is serious business. All horses have to be registered and stallions need to show clear x-rays that show that spavin is not an issue for them. Each horse is measured before the conformation is judged and the measurements which also include the thickness of the cannon bone and angle of the hips are carefully recorded, but not included in the score. Then each horse is presented to the judges for the conformation score. The judges don’t just look at the overall impression, but break the horse down into head, neck, withers and shoulder, back and croup, proportions, legs, joints, hooves and, finally, mane and tail. Each segment receives a score between 5 and 10 with 7.5 being Blaer from Sand Meadow, owned by Lisi average and anything above 8 being the score that makes Ohm (Vindsdalur Icelandic Sport Horses), the breeder jump with excitement. Each score is then received 2nd Prize with a score of 7.76 for his entered into the computer and given a different value performance during the event. depending on its importance. Shoulder, limbs, back and (Photo by Verena Pecsy) croup have a much higher multiplying factor than head or mane and tail, the latter just having been added in recent years. The horse is then asked to be led at the walk and trot and the judges reserve the right to place a question mark behind the score for back, neck and shoulder and make up their mind when they see the horse under saddle. During the riding portion of the evaluation, horses are shown individually on a straight track and the rider has the option of 6-10 laps during which he/she is judged. Icelandic Horses are either 4- or 5-gaited, meaning they should be able to walk, trot, canter and tolt (a four-beat gait similar to the rack or running walk) and the 5-gaited horse also shows the thrilling flying pace. The riders choose the order in which they show the gaits and, once again, some gaits receive more importance than others do,
Blika, from Fitjamyri, had a final score of 8.18 and her riding score was an amazing 8.42. She travelled to Denmark in July to represent Canada at the World Championships for Icelandic Horses with her owner Maria Badyk and rider Danielle Fulsher from Alberta. (Photo by Verena Pecsy)
The 7-year-old mare Sida, from Fitjamyri, tolted away with a total score of 8.22, giving her the title of First Prize Mare. (Photo by Hanna Dilts)
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