The Character of Willing.


Breeding ”feigur fra Flugumżri


By Doug Hamilton



This gets repeated about Ofeigur:


<<Could it be that for instance Ofeigur

frŠ Flugumyri has a
difficult character?>>

<<We've discussed that on this list too. But then it
was decided that a grandson/daughter of Ofeigur
shouldn't really be affected by the dun with "ugly
head's" personality. So, I've often wondered what was
the deal with my Ofeigur grandson
. I wonder if his

mom or dad also had a difficult personality?>>


††††† A difficult personality?A score of 9 for personality on a 10 point scale where 10 is perfection?


††††† Breeding Ofeigur fra Flugumyri, I often have wondered what this means, that some people claim this horse was difficult.In whose mind and by what standard is this aspect of reputation being attached to this horse?Is this a case where "loose lips are sinking ships" in the way we talk or is there some other truth of the matter?†††


††††† In Iceland they seem to culturally know what they mean when they describe a good riding horse as being, willing.It is a positive value of character which they know.In English we seem to have a range of possibilities with the word, "willing" unless it is qualified.In common usage we have shades of gray in the way we use the word.I suspect that the problem here lies in this difference between what is willing and what is willful. ††


††††† With the word, there is willing, there is willingness and there is willful. In use, the disposition ranges from cheerfulness to earnest to unpleasant and difficult.I have wondered what really is the deal with Ofeigur the horse?Are some people thinking that when willingness approaches 10, it is running over to a willful out-of-control side of "willing" instead of the 10 of a perfection and bliss?



††††† It seems odd to me that such a great horse of such high regard, who has produced such an incredible number of top riding horses; horses that are also the top breeding horses in the breed, could have this folk-assessment also being passed on his character.


††††† Some describe this horse or his offspring as especially willing.Others call them difficult.Every time I hear him assessed either way it makes me wonder what it is about his nature that makes him such a great horse in Icelandic horse genealogy?


††††† Recently I read this kind of dismissive judgment, yet again. This time in reaction, I called people in Iceland who really knew the horse to ask them directly.What really is the deal with old Ofeigur that he has earned this reputation?


††††† One person that I was recommended to call was Ofeigur fra Flugumyri's owner, trainer and rider himself, a horseman named Thorvaoldur. He told me that the thing to understand about Ofeigur was that his nature of character was to please the rider.That even from an early age he was always eager to please his rider.As a young green horse he was quick to learn and easy at the beginning."Easy in that it was like he was already trained even the first time he was taken out to train. He was very unique this way.He was always unique and he had a big character in that he was always willing to please the rider as a riding horse.


††††† Thorvaldur went on to say, Ofeigur was never stiff on the bit, always willing to work.Never hard.He was easy to ride, very willing.


††††† I asked in a specific way, was Ofeigur able to be ridden lightly by the fingers?Answer: "That was exactly as he was, just as we like horses to be"."His temper was always even".


††††† Thorvaldur has ridden and trained many horses in his lifetime.Riding and training since 1962, "Ofeigur was by far the best of all.I hope to meet another horse that will be so good to me."






††††† One other phone call I made was to Baldvin Ari Gudlaugsson and I asked him directly also.He is fun to talk to about this kind of thing because in combination he rides these caliber of horses, he takes them and trains them, he breeds these horses and he lives in the circles of breeders with these top horses.It is his life and he is living and breathing this in ways that are special.

††† Conversation with Baddi always gets animated in such an Icelandic way when the conversation goes in these directions.So, in reply to my asking he very directly says that old Ofeigur himself was not at all hard or difficult in character.But Baddi went on to describe more things about old Ofeigur.That was interesting stuff about Ofeigur also related to character.


††††† In Iceland, in breeding Ofeigur, Ofeigur was looked to for his breeding strength. Hence his honor prize as a breeding horse."You knew what you had with Ofeigur. Ofeigur was not pretty but he gave nice color, lots of mane and tail, an incredible talent of movement, high movements, action, physical power and "a super pace.And his character."


††††† By Baddi's description, Ofeigur's "willingness" is that he delighted in work and his interest in being ridden.He was a horse that was willing to work.He was interested.He was willing in the sense that Icelanders use the word. He was not willful in the bad sense of the word that we might use.In character he was willing but with a softness that was sweet to the rider.This willing in combination with the power of his talent is what made him great.


††††† The Icelanders have a word that expresses this and a saying, "willing is all you need".The same was said of Hervor and he was used as a breeding horse for similar reasons.


††††† So, what of old Ofeigur?What Baddi also pointed out is that many of the best breeding mares in Iceland are Ofeigur daughters. The breeding classes in the last Landsmot had them at the top as breeding horses.

††††† Sveinn in Saudurkrokur used Ofeigur well.In combination with the right mares the outcome was incredible as history has shown.He would take talented sweeter character horses in combination to Ofeigur with his character of will to work and this would produce incredible combinations.But differently,Sveinn would take talented more hard minded difficult-willful horses bred to Hrafn and he would produce incredible combinations in a different effect.That is horse breeding.††

††††† Also, you could take a no-good (talent-less) sweet horse to Ofeigur and get get good riding horses out of her.This is the thing with breeding strength.However, in combination to a bad-tempered difficult horse you could also get a bad combination with Ofeigur.Baddi said that he had heard of it but not seen so many.

††††† This can also happen with any horse.They say that 10 to 20% of Orri horses have no trot and an ugly neck.Is that Orri or the mares?


††††† Baddi's conclusion about breeding was the old saying of breeders, "It is also in the hands of God.."


††††† I kept coming back to this thing of Ofeigur's willing character.What was the nature of his scores for willing character.Willing has a range of connotation in English and often is not a precise word in usage.You can have cheerful willing.There is co-operative go-along willingness.Earnest willing. But also, will with the strength of a whim or also will with an attitude.Willfulness.

††††† Where willing becomes willful, it goes over to be too damned much; like the difference between a willing child and a willful child.We know the difference between willing and willful when we see it.In extremes, too little will becomes lazy.Too much with a bad attitude becomes hard and then stubborn.The will of whim and the will of steel.


††††† According to Baddi, Ofeigur was willing, co-operative and a sweet riding horse.You could ride him "in your hands with two fingers".The thing about Ofeigur was that he was willing with natural power in movement.He was an incredible riding horse because of his talent and this willingness.

††††† According to Baddi, you can't have a great horse without these two things.Talent and willingness.The talent, power of energy, and a willingness to use it going forward.It is will and energy going forward that changes movement into high step and pace.A lazy horse without will can never be high stepping."You can not have a tolt to ride without will".In Germany Bruno Podlech experimented with a marketing strategy that attempted to produce quiet "family" horses by breeding quieter horses with quiet horses and what he arrived at was shuffling, lazy and stubborn horses.


††††† So again I asked, was Ofeigur himself hard, difficult, or strong minded?No.Willful?Did he willfully hang on the bit? No? Willfully taking the bit or was he willfully stiff on it? No.Was he hard in the hands, unable to take cues or be shaped by the rider or unyielding to the rider?No.Difficult, willful, stubborn or spoiled? No.


††††† So what is the deal?Evidently this was an incredible riding horse.A stallion that you could ride on one finger, given the skill of the rider.The deal is probably in some people's perception colored by their own level of skill and also the enigmatic translation of this word, willing.That is probably the real deal with Ofeigur 882 breeding.


-†† Doug Hamilton


<<About ”feigur frŠ Flugumżri then I remember when he was shown 4 years old 1978 at Skogarhůlar (Thingvellir, the last LM there). Then he was on the third place there of four years old stallions. When horses, four years old come to judge they have at least rather good temprament, that means that he must have been rather easy in training and willing to work for the rider.÷rn Karlsson at Ingůlfshvoll did ride ”feigur at LM 1982 and his tel. is 4834566. You can also contact Toelthestar (, they must have homepage), there ÷rn is the owner. As I remember ”feigur donīt give good mane and tale, maybe average.

 Enything new from you, best regards from Oddsstoedum.

Bless, bless.   Sig. Oddur