Galsi fra Saudarkrokur was back in the news this summer as his offspring have come of age.  They are doing extremely well as a group in this year’s breeding shows in Iceland.  I came to know Galsi a little bit a few years ago when I was living in Iceland for a summer.  That was the year of Landsmot in the North in the Eyjafjordur.  I spent a month or more prior to Landsmot visiting as a guest of Baldvin Ari there in Akureyri.  I arrived as the training was proceeding up to Landsmot that year.  That was the Landmot year that Galsi became the 5-gait champion.


            I am an average rider and I was there very much on visitor terms.  I went to work everyday with Baddi and helped as I could but mostly I was just his shadow.  Before going I had read enough about Icelandic Godi viking type chieftains from the Eydjafordur to know to not get in their way.  I was just lucky to be along. 


            Always strong in my mind then was the old Saga of Hrafnkels.  Hrafnkell was a devotee of Freyr  who owned one treasured possession, a dun stallion that he loved so much.  Maybe too much.  He gave to Freyr, as an act of offering, one half share in the horse and swore an oath that he would kill anyone who rode the stallion without his permission.  This was a strong devotion not to mess with.         


            In the innocent work of the farm a Shepard one day did take the stallion after a group of lost sheep in the mountains up to the head of Eyjafordur.  The Shepard boy rode the horse hard all day and when he came back the horse bolted down the valley and presented itself directly to Hrafnkell neighing loudly at the door.  Hrafnkell went outside, and when he saw his stallion he said to him,  It grieves me how you have been treated, my fosterling.  You had your wits about you when you came to me, and this shall be avenged.  Go back to your herd.”  The stallion left immediately and went up the valley to his mares.  

            Hrafnkell slept soundly that night.  The next morning he put on blue clothing and rode up the valley to the shieling where the Sheppard boy was tending the sheep.  On arriving, Hrafnkell dismounted and buried his axe in the boy’s head for such a transgression. 


            With that in my mind and even another like, Viga-Glums Saga as a back drop, I did not press my luck with these horsemen in Eyjafjordur there.  I was not about to get between any viking and their horse!   These Saga chieftain men were of Freyr and Freyja.  Clearly there is something there in these Northern men to regard.  Even today.


            In my own experience, we tend a mare named Freyja out of Freyr fra Akureyi who is an extraordinary soul from Eyjafordur.  She is a tremendous horse now even at 24 years.  Her being is a character not to trifle with.  Hers is definitely a manifestation of mother Divine.  We care for her a lot and carefully.   




At that time I was in Iceland,

I never rode Galsi the

Icelandic champion 5 gaited horse in Baddi's care

then.  However, I did tend the horse a lot while I

was there.

             Galsi  is of  Baddi's domain and their

domain is way beyond my own; their clear

characters are a match in talent in a way that I

could not even think of coming to.


            Baddi's riding itself is a talent native to

him in a way that few of us will ever have.  It is

all-encompassing for him with a clarity of

resoluteness in his mind, heart, hands and body

which is totally there as he rides and works


            Having watched him ride and then

having also ridden along side him for the month,

for myself, when it came to witnessing the

competition at Landsmot my opportunity, from

being close at hand for the time I was there in

Iceland, was to watch Baddi the rider ride the

situation and watch him make the situation

happen under saddle. 

            Armed with my big telephoto lens,

more than watching the horses, the show for me

was more in watching these riders in their own

presence of mind ride their programs.  In

witnessing these programs, it only confirms for me

that he culture of horsemanship in Iceland is

simply awesome to behold and witness!


                        With Best Regards,  Doug Hamilton

                                    Fairfield, Iowa 





            The end of my story about Galsi, is that I did get to ride him on a visit to Iceland earlier this year.  He is not normally available to be ridden by just any tourist, but I figured that as I had fed and tended him prior to his Landsmot so I did press to be able to ride him this last time... with permission. 


            He is in the category of divine to be able to ride.  This is a pure expression.  He is the best riding horse I have ever ridden.  Light, responsive and everything right there between your legs and in your hands.  In character he really is a horse that the whole family can ride including a championship rider like Baddi or someone like me, an amateur  half  blind partially handicapped rider.   Galsi is what horse breeding is about in Icelandic horses.


Doug Hamilton