Icelandic Pace Horses
Riding Pace in
A few summers ago I rode
a pace horse in
that I have ever done. I was being
my visit to
his family. I had arrived a month before
horse show, The Landsmot when my
along with his father and brother were well in the
of the process of conditioning and training
for the qualifications prior to Landsmot.
In their stables
they keep about 45
in for training, about 15 of them stallions
worked with for presentation at breeding
shows. Innocent to the matter as I first arrived, it
out that these are several of the highest
and qualified horses in
My host, Baddi is very
in his riding. During my visit, I tagged
with him and I would just go through the
work with him of riding horses. With
of mind and purpose, Baddi along with
help of his family and others systematically
through the horses they keep in for training.
At that point in
the summer the work
was divided such that Baddi exclusively
to the riding of the so-called Landsmot
of the stable and the rest of us would ride
other horses accordingly. Everyone in
work deferred to Baddi's
mastery as rider
trainer with the Landsmot horses being his
In addition to the daily routine of
and riding, twice or three times a week
the horses of the stable except the stallions were taken out for
rides through the countryside where all
horses were driven freely in a herd along the
way. For these rides, the horses of the stable
gathered together as we all would prepare
riding mounts. Then off we would all go
the group of 20 or 25 horses down the
and then off on the trail-ways which run all over
At one point on
one of these rides, I
issued one of Baddi's pace horses to ride. I
told to work the horse by varying its gaits with
as we went along. We skirted around town
trail-ways, dropped down into the valley
crossed a river with the herd. Eventually
we were riding on left the bank of the river
climbed the walls of the valley we were in.
Riding along we all worked to keep the loose
moving along together. As riders we were
Some of us riding out in front
of the lead horses of the herd
others riding behind cowboy-ing the main body
of the herd keeping any
stragglers from sneaking off.
At one point the trail traversed a mountainside
that had sheep and other loose horses in
it. At that point, things exploded for us with
our herd boiling down the mountain to check
the other loose herd of horses in the pasture.
As riders we
split with some of us continuing along with
of our herd up the trail to use the remaining herd as a magnet to draw our
other horses along from the field.
Behind us, Baddi and
brother Heimer charged down the mountain
wildly to split our horses off from the
loose horses of the pasture.
We all eventually re-gathered our herd on the trail
the far end of that mountain pasture where we let
out through the gate there.
Quickly as riders, we
would lead the herd out and then who would drive
behind. I knew the horse I had was
would stand with me as I closed up the gate
the herd, as it left. So I stayed behind
with the gate. We split up and off the
up along the trail.
I had hopped down from my horse and
to closing up the gate while off the herd and
else went, as I fiddled with the gate.
Once the gate was closed up
when I turned around they were all entirely
Anyone who knows the necessity of the
instinct knows the compelling situation I was left
standing there with my horse watching the end
our herd disappear.
I took and turned my horse towards the
I had just closed, gathered up my reins
quickly as I could with both feet hitting
stirrups and my seat in the saddle.
my horse around and started off after
tail of the herd which was fast disappearing
a mile in my front. I bolted along
and then took to cantering for a few strides
the herd, where I then downshifted my horse,
over to a pace where we rocketed, in
drive, up that trail after the herd.
The pace in that horse was blazingly
My beard had split in the wind and was flapping
we were going so fast! Tearing along on
this mountain trail, eyes tearing from the speed,
I had the clear distinct thought going in my
mind, "I am most
going to die right here pacing
neck with speed across this mountain!"
However; then again, it
was so fluid, so fast and smooth that I
came to my senses in a moment and realized that
this pace indeed will be
the way to heaven!
We closed on that herd in about a
and then it was over. I then sat
disappointed that the ride was over!
I learned that pacing like that on a horse like that sets
a standard that is hard to beat.
It has become an acquired
taste of life that some day I will go back for!