Riding Icelandic Horses

First and foremost Icelandic Horses are horses and good riding is good riding. Unfortunately a lot of the riding teaching in the UK is not good and this results in large variations in the way people ride.

Francois Boucher, in 1833, wrote "Walk is the mother of all gaits" and this is still a great truth now. If you can't get the horse to lift it's back and walk in an elastic manner then the rest of the gaits will not be good either.

I have started putting together a series of videos where I am discussing how I ride and why it works for me and these are being added to this page as I complete them. They all have a commentary and need to be viewed with sound turned on. It is not a post production voiceover, it is recorded as I ride so please excuse the breath noises and the odd comments here and there, it is unscripted and you are seeing what happened as I rode and hearing my description of what I am doing.

I am not a professional rider, these videos are not perfect, they are an attempt to help people see what I am doing as I ride. I can teach this riding style in the flesh, if you want lessons then contact me. I don't know if people will be able to get enough from these videos to help them, feedback is appreciated, we are on Facebook and often in the Icelandic Horse Chat Group as Oakfield Farm.

Onto the first videos.

In this video I talk about how a horse moves and why it needs to lift it's back to support a rider. This allows it to take longer strides with it's back legs and push itself along rather than pulling itself along with it's front legs. As a by product it's head drops into that position known as "on the bit" with the front of it's head vertical. This happens as a result of the back lift and is not achieved by pulling in the nose. Draw reins, side reins, or a Pessoa will very rarely achieve this the horse just braces against them and builds up the wrong muscles.


In the second video I take this on board Erik and start to discuss what I am doing in walk and show how he responds to it. This is the first of several ridden videos I will be recording about Walk before I start showing the faster gaits.  In this video I am riding in a headcollar and you can see Erik's head is dropping into that classic position with minimal rein contact.


More videos will be added as I can. Feedback is very welcome.  Nick