Trainer´s clinic: From Basic Training to the Show Track

February 13th – 15th at Léttleiki Icelandics


They sometimes say in Iceland that it takes 200 years to become a good horse trainer. Icelandic horse trainers here in the US have a unique situation in terms of continuing education. Here in the USA there is abundance of teachers and trainers promoting a wide variety of methods and ideas but in terms of fellow Icelandic horse trainers we are often isolated. As a trainer this can be difficult. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut or not realize your faults because you may have few people to bounce ideas off of, show horses to, or take lessons from that really know about training the gaits of the Icelandic horse.

Because of this we decided to start a tradition of offering a continuing education clinic for trainers and advanced riders. Our goal is to have a different teacher each time so that we can be exposed to a variety of current methods and techniques presented to us by some of the top Icelandic horse trainers in the world.

This year the focus of the clinic was to help trainers better understand how to prepare horses both mentally and physically for the challenge of international breeding evaluations and sport competitions.

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Who better to help us with that than our instructor Rasmus from Denmark? He is renowned worldwide for his talent as a professional rider and trainer. Rasmus has been on the Danish national team almost every year since 1995 for the World Championships and Nordic Championships. He is particularly recognized for his skills as a breeding evaluation rider. This past year he presented 12 horses that received first prize and among them was the 4-year-old mare Drift fra Guldbæk who received a total of 8.43. This was the highest scoring four year old mare ever outside Iceland and the second highest ever in the world.   Rasmus has successfully shown more than 400 horses in the past 15 years.

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This years clinic was attending by Alexandra Venable (CA), Charlotte Reilly (PA), Shaila Ann Sigsgaard (KY), Martin Nielsen (KY), Kathy Love (KY), Lori Cretney (WI), JoAnn Trostle (PA), Sydney Horas (Ontario), Coralie Denmeade (CO), Hanna Dilts (B.C. CA), Sally Stephensen (MI), and Jessica Haynesworth (MA). The majority of the participants used horses provided by Léttleiki Icelandics. We were honored to have such an incredible group of talented riders and trainers in attendance. The clinic included a demonstration, group lesson, private lessons, and video review. It was exciting to see the progress in the horses over the weekend.

Our dream is to continue offering this opportunity and others to trainers and advanced riders here in North America. We believe that trainers are the key to a growing market for Icelandic horses and services.