The art of riding forward

Foto by L. Niederquell
Foto by L. Niederquell

One topic always turns back in my clinics, that is how to ride a horse forward without riding fast.


So what is it about riding slow but forward? Use the forward thinking but don't hold the horse back, but keep it slow. Most of you probably have heard one of those sentences. 


For me this forward drive is the positive working attitude in a horse. If you have to push every step out of a horse without any initiative from the horse it gets hard to communicate with light aids. Which is the goal after all. 


But how do you get that? So many horses just go fast, or slow, run away from aides, get stressed or even ignore their rider. Forward doesn't mean running uncontrollable fast and not be able to have any influence, but a happy energetic horse that moves after his ability with lightness.


For me forward thinking has to do with the over all attitude of the horse towards his rider and what he is asking. So as differently the horses are, as different are the problems and their solutions.


In my mind it starts with our own attitude towards the horse and what we expect from it.  So if we acknowledge every attempt of the horse to react the way we expect, it should be rewarded. That way the horse will try harder to understand our aids and we stay alert on reading the reactions and see improvements or where we have to train the horse better.


One possibility to check if your horse thinks forward without stress, is to slow down out of a faster gait to a slower gait and lengthen the reins. If the horse looses all impulse it is not yet thinking forward enough while it is also not the right forward if the horse rushes right back into the fast gait. In my training I try to achieve that a horse can stretch evenly into the rein connection while stepping active but relaxed.


Talking about forward riding we may never forget that every horse has a different energy level and speed range. So what is energetic fast forward for one horse is slow and energy less for an other.


Ecurie de la Colline Vivante

Next weekend I get to hold a weekend course for the 3rd time this year at a great place in France, called Ecurie de la Collien Vivante.

Here everything comes together that makes a great, interesting and fun course. A beautiful and well maintained riding arena, participants who really want to learn and do the best for their horses and are constantly improving.

My courses always consist out of 5 practical and 2 theoretical lessons. In the practical lessons I try to pick up every horse and rider combination where they are standing in their training phase and build up from that point. That is individually for each and every one.

In the theoretical lessons I try to find one topic that suits all participants in their training and challenge them to think and discuss about how that could concern and help them and their way of training. That can be topics as the correct seat and its influence on the communication with the horse, the different gaits of the Icelandic horse and their mechanic and training ways and more


One of the things that also make it so much fun to go here is that the Ecurie de la Collien Vivante is not just hosting courses for Icelandic horses but also focused on Dressage for all horse races by Sara Oliveira and natural horsemanship with Patrick Allorie. That makes it a fun challenge to combine those ideas and focus them to help with the specialty of the Icelandic horse, its gaits. 



How to explain what Gæðingafimi stands for.

It is a form of Dressage Test which is getting more and more interest in Iceland. And because the possibility to follow the Icelandic Master league ( through the internet it gets also more attention all over Europe.




But Gæðingafimi is more than the normal Dressage test. It gives the possibility to connect every aspect of the Icelandic horse and it gives also the possibility to show what it has to offer: 

Gaits, energy, calmness, preciseness, all together forming a flow from being in calm walk on the long rein to fast tempo tölt or flying pace.

And isn't that what we all love about "our" Icelandic horse? The variability of it. So in the end Gæðingafimi not just stands for another test to compete in. It is a way of viewing daily training and having all possibilities from competing on the oval track in gait test to Dressage or cross-country riding, because in the end training for Gæðingafimi includes all different aspects of each and every horse and its talents.

This brought together in a fluent show is the goal of Gæðingafimi.


So if you are interested to know more feel welcome to one of the clinics I’ll be holding on this topic.

Take an evening off, meet people with the same interest and let me and my horses introduce you to the Gæðingafimi.

To enroll please don’t hesitate to write me a short message via the Contact site to which event you would be interested to come.





September was travelling time for me. I went for 2 weeks to Germany and met some wonderful people and horses.


I started out with holding a Clinic at Reitschule Nordpferde. That was a great course with the focus on how bending the horse right improves the horse and especially the means on how you communicate with your horse to help him to bend right.


Afterwards I received an e-mail from a participant which gave me so much joy.
In that e-mail she talked about how much my sharing the idea of dressage work as a way of physiotherapy for the horse, supported her thinking. As well as having a lot of new points to take with her. And also a feedback that she felt understood and supported by me.

Thank you so much! Because hearing that I reached you with my teaching is the reason for me of doing it.

Thank you for a nice clinic and until next year. There are two more courses in planning in May and August 2016.

After the nice weekend I went to Mitteltalhof to give some private lessons. That was really interesting and a lot of fun to get to know new Horse-Rider combinations as well as meet people again from the Cursus in May 2015 in Kaufungen.

After that the journey went on to Hamburg to meet with the firm owner of Svarta Reitsport. Svarta Reitsport is an online store selling almost everything and has also its own Saddle-line. I tried this saddle type on all different types of horses in Iceland and I am convinced of that product.

So after a great time in my hometown Hamburg I went back to Iceland to a group of 20 younghorses waiting to be started up.


Karen frá Árgerði

Autumn comes with big steps and with that my time in Iceland is getting shorter. I like to share some really good times I had.

One of my favorite memories this summer is competing on Karen frá Árgerði in Gæðingakeppni A flokkur. Gæðingakeppni is the traditional Icelandic competition form where it is all about showing the horse, his spirit and gaits at its best so you could imagine it as a breedingshow for every horse.

Karen is an amazing fun mare.

I got to know her first when a friend of mine took her for the 3. Year of Hólar University where you have to come with a high class 5 gait competition horse to train and take you exams on. So she is really well educated. So from shoulder in, croup in to flying pace over to fun group ridingtours she’s just fun.

I was lucky and had the opportunity to compete on her and all though the preparation was rather short the good training Karen received the past years helped us. 

Karen is owned by Herdís and Stefán Birgir in Litli-Garður where I worked the past 1,5 years. Having the opportunity to train horses like Karen and be at such a great place with unbelievable nice people makes it so hard to leave Iceland. Getting to know this family and their idea of the breeding of Icelandic horses is unreplaceable and I will remember that time with a big smile and the promise to come back and visit.