Singing, Riding and Training Horses in Iceland:


Actually they do a lot of singing and humming around horses in method.They do tend to be a singing culture anyway.I lived in this one glacial mountain valley for a while there where they had 6 different singing chorus options in their local farm neighborhood of the valley. Men, women and mix singing groups


In riding it helps relax and re-focus green or tense horses a lot as you are working them.I was able to live with Baldvin Ari (Baddi) for some time in Iceland riding with him training horses.

He told me one time about an old horse trainer who also coached him to do this too.Baddi happens to do a lot of easy whistling or humming when he is working around doing horses.I have found it a good tip.


Singing or humming is different from mindless talking at horses like some people may do, a din which horses often will turn off or filter out as meaningless, stupid or condescending noise.Easily singing, humming a tune or whistling has a different effect of soothing and focusing in effect as you work along, whether as ditties or a song.


I work outside a lot by myself with the horses riding. I have my riding helmet fitted in a way with headphones so I can listen to things and also sing along.My horses get everything from humming to opera from me.Last year it was Mozart as I was learning Mozartís Requiem for a chorus.This year it was Vivaldi for a different chorus concert.Riding and singing works great actually.Hymns, classical, folk or cowboy songs.If nothing else it keeps you breathing, a la Centered Riding, like the Centered Riding approach would encourage you to do, which then reflects also in how the horse will go.Actually it matters a lot in how a gaited horse will go for you.


The cowboy songs?In America we have this wealth of old folk songs in the cowboy tradition of the old west (different from the modern Cntry & Western radio stuff of today).The old ones transposed over to horsemen songs make for great riding songs too.

Singing the old American cowboy songs as Icelandic horsemen songs along the way definitely works for training.




Riding Pal


A horseman's life is a weary thing,
Halter and saddle and ride and sing.
Yes, day or night, in the sleet and hail,
we'll stay with the horses out on the trail.

|: Rain or shine, sleet or snow,
Me and my riding pal are bound to go. :|

We're up and gone at the break of day,
Ridin them horses along lonesome ways.
The horseman's work is never done;
We're up and gone from sun to sun.

We yell at the rain, laugh at the hail,
Driving them horses down the lonesome trail.
We'll yell at the rain, sleet and snow,
Then we reach the little rest on day's end.

Rain or shine, sleet or snow,
Me and my riding pal are on the go.
We travel down that lonesome trail,
Where a man and his horse seldom ever fail.

Travelin' up the lonesome trail,
Where a man and his horse seldom ever fail,
toltin' along through fog and dew,
Wishin' for sunny days, and rest.

Over the prairies lean and brown,
On through the wastes where there ain't no town,
Swimmin' the cricks and rivers cross our way,
We ride on forward day-end on day.

Trailin' the path through mountains green,
We close the horses in on end of day.
Round the fire's flickerin' glow,
We sing the songs of long ago.


Doug in




"Go to the stable, as quick as you're able
And groom off your horses, and give them some oats;
For if you don't do it, the captain will know it
And then you will rue it,for as sure as you're born."




For encouragement,
here is one song I like for giving confidence to my horses as I ride
I particularly like verses 4&6 as in the old Methodist Hymnal.
What horse could refuse?

"This Horse is Tolting On"

"We have sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
We are sifting out the hearts of horses before this judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my horse, to answer me! be jubilant, my steed;
This horse is tolting on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! This horse is tolting on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall see His foot-fall, and the soul of wrong is slave,
Our horse is tolting on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our horse is tolting on."

Etc., Most Americans probably recognize verse one of the original
and the chorus. The other ones are sort of lost in time now.

Turn your sound up:


The other folk version of it that works great is:

There is a lot of character building in that one too that is easy to
hum, sing or whistle around the horses to good effect.

-Doug in