Wednesday, March 4, 2015

From Iceland, to Canada and then to the USA ~



In late April 1960 a new chapter was added to the history of Icelandic’s export when horses were for the first time taken abroad with an airplane. 
The transport, consisting on 38 mares and 3 stallions, was flown with a Lockheed Super Constellation plane of KLM from Keflavik to Montreal in Canada. 
The purchaser of the horses was a company established by the Canadian Lees family in Arcola, Saskatchewan, who already had bought 34 Icelandic mares the previous summer and had them shipped to Halifax. 
The Lees’ sold most of their horses to various buyers in United States, mostly located in Colorado but also further away like California and Florida. 
The family still kept some 15 horses for their own use, among them a gray mare that still in the 1990’s was delightfully much used by the youngest family members.


The club in Greeley was formed in 1962 and named Icelandic Pony Club and Registry, Inc. Somewhere I heard the club's activities went out, when two of the founders died in a plane crash. At the same time there were some Icelandic people in Boulder that imported horses directly from Iceland. It was some struggle to get those stallions out of Iceland at this time and the request had to be approved by the general assembly of the Icelandic Agricultural Society in March 1960.


Thank you very much to 
Þorgeir Guðlaugsson  for allowing me to post this new information on this blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Icelandic's in the late 1890's in the US


Thank you
 Þorgeir Guðlaugsson for sharing this interesting news paper clipping on Icelandic Horses in the late 1890's.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Icelandic Horse's to Greenwich, Connecticut before 1967

Aloha dear Wanda and Shari……where to begin. As some of this story is quite painful !!!! And brings up some very sad memories, and as well as very fabulous, fantastic memories. AND, all of this began long before 1967 when I was quite young, and now I am even younger at 69 !!!!!

My family was from Greenwich, Connecticut, and my father was very involved with the Icelandic Government and many business projects with Iceland. I am getting ahead of the story, so the story really all began when I was in my teens and we had a foreign exchange student living with us from Iceland. We loved Haldora, and were delighted when she invited our family to Reykjavik to visit her family. We fell in love with the country and her people, and it began a “love story” for many, many years. We would often go up for weeks during the summer, when Iceland had 24 hours of daylight and we explored the entire island……..salmon fishing in the private rivers, hiking on the fjord’s and horseback riding on Icelandic horses all over the lava fields. We then began going up to Iceland 2 times a year and would spend Thanksgiving helping the women of Reykjavik with their annual craft fair to raise money for charity.

My family began importing Icelandic sheepskin rugs and Icelandic sweaters………….icelandic wool, Icelandic cheese, and especially Icelandic FISH…….fish made up approximately 85 % of the Iceland economy. It was during this time, that Iceland was almost exclusively selling all these items to Great Britain………and one day, the British fishing trollers began sneaking into the Iceland 12 mile “no trespassing zone” and fishing for the juiciest, most healthy fish………………..the Icelandic government warned and warned the British that their illegal “invasion” into the “no travel zone” was being violated………….without obeying and leaving, the British trollers were then captured by the 1 and only Icelandic navy ship…..and Iceland declared war on Great Britain.

That is when the big problem began……………….America had an air force base, Keflavik, right outside of Reykjavik, and America was concerned when our government found out that Iceland began selling all their exports to the USSR. Of course, at that time, we had the Cold War going with the USSR. The USSR could not pay cash to Iceland for the fish, so they agreed to “bater” in their trade…..iceland began receiving USSR cars and oil and other products.

We found out that Iceland had already sent a herd of their gorgeous horses to Germany, and the German people loved the horses for trekking. They loved the horses, because the practice was, that the Icelandic horses were allowed to run wild in herds until they reached about 3 years old…….they then would be introduced to a bridle and saddle. As we all know, the breed is very gentle, yet when they get a saddle and bridle on, they become more than feisty and spirited and were always sensitive and loyal…….the horse than LOVES to race. With their 5 gaits, especially with their 5th gait, the tolt. They are very sure footed and have very strong hind legs……………they can go for days and days of riding and seem to never tire.

We made an agreement with the Icelandic government to import 40 horses to America. They would NOT give us a stallion, as they wanted total control of the breed…….not wanting anyone to breed a pure breed……..so we accepted 35 geldings and 5 mares….they were put on a ship and 10 days later arrived in Clifton, New Jersey, where they had to go into quarantine. We hired a veterinarian to go onto the ship and take blood from each horse………the veterinarian was so impressed, that these horses that had traveled in rough seas for 10 days, and were so docile when he went to draw their blood. All were pronounced perfect to be transferred by horse vans to our home in Greenwich, Connecticut and to a farm we rented very near by in Bedford, New York. We had hired 4 Icelandic men, who cared for and groomed, rode, the 36 horses for us. My husband and I had our 4 personal horses at the stables at our home….2 for guests to ride, and I kept Grani as my own personal horse, and joe had Svetenga……..we had such a very strong bond with our beloved horses, our best friends. We lived with all 1000 of acres of Greenwich riding trails surrounding us, that we road for hours and hours…….our Icelandic’s always beat and raced the Hunters and Thoroughbreds along the trails.

Our plan, was to help the Icelandic government by importing and selling the horses to families in the northeast. We began by holding a weekend event where “horse” people from all over New England, plus a good turn out of the press, came to see our herd perform.joe was even written up in Sports Illustrated as President of the Icelandic Horse Association. It was very successful, and I remember that the Rockefellar family bought 2 of the horses, as well as many other of the horses going to other prominent horse families. At my age, I really can not remember the names, but they were all from New England.

It was during this time (sad part) that my mother became deathly ill, my father left her for another woman and our lives began to fall apart. My mother died, we sold the herd to a man (I will find out his name) and he brought the entire herd to Vermont. This was all about 40 years ago, I had lost a baby, had 2 tiny babies, was emotionally distressed with all that was happening to my family. My brother and his wife, and joe and I all moved out to Oregon……….that is when the herd went to Peter Strong. we totally lost track of them, as we began new lives away from the tragic time in our lives. We had all the files of each horse and what it cost, yet I really do not know after 40 years where the files ended up. I do remember that back then, the horses were VERY expensive. About $3000 dollars per horse.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to let me know……also, we have some fun, fun, fun stories about many of the horses, with each having such incredible personalities…………fir instance, they loved beer……and on a hot day, we would bring many of them a can of beer……..the would lift their heads way up, smack their lips and guzzle, guzzle.


Thank you Gail Mitchell for allowing me to post your wonderful and sad story of your time with Icelandic Horses.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Photo problems


Just wanted to let you all know there was a problem with Google+ and my Blogs. I am slowly re uploading photos to this blog but since I am in the process of moving, some of the photos that are stored on disks are in a box and I do not know when I will be able to re add those photos to the Icelandic Horse blog.
So if you have photos here, do not see them yet, if you could please email me I would be grateful.
Thank you for understanding.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Young Steve Barber and the Long Island Icelandic's



Very special photo: It is a photo of a young Steve Barber, taken probably in the late 70’s. The place was Caumsett State Park on Long Island. The horses undoubtedly are the Icelandic horses brought over that became later known as the “Long Island Herd”. That is special enough considering Steve’s involvement with the breed today. But the really amazing part is that we believe the pinto in the photo is none other than Skutla frá Þverholtum - or “Saint Skutla” - the horse our regional club is named after.
Thank you Andrea and William Barber for sharing this wonderful photo and story!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Long Island Herd 2





Photos of the Long Island Herd

Thanks to Amanda, we now have photos of the Long Island herd to share with you all. This is a special treat for me as you will see a little farther down the Blog.
It will take a couple of weeks to get all the photos up.


This little light colored buckskin Icelandic mare, was the first Icelandic horse I had. She was small, about 12.1 hands tall and loved to fly at the Pace. When I got her the Vet said she was 30+ years old, and had never seen a horse alive so old. ;O)
She was feisty when ridden by adults but oh so ever very gentle with babies and children.
I only have a couple of photos of her myself, will have dig them out and get them scanned soon.







The young man that started the whole business with the Long Island herd.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

News paper Article of the Long Island Herd











You can click on the photos so it is easier to read.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The early Icelandic Horse photos from Annie

From Annie Shields, more great photos of the early Icelandic horses!
Annie,received an unexpected bonanza of photos of Icelandic horses from the '60's from Alan Koontz. A lot going on in this picture, horse being herded by motor cycle, etc. The house in the background belonged to Herbert Quick, the novelist and later became the home of Sam Ashelman, importer of Icelandic horses. It is in Berkeley Springs, W.V.


Bonnie Weiss helped Annie with the Icelandic's in Maryland and then later in West Virginia. Photo taken around 1967.



Buffy Ellis with friend and Tinna, during Tinna's stay in Washington D.C. McComb ST. playground in the background.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photos of the 1960's Imports continued ~

Toppa fra Stóru-Ökrum IS1954258636 (Also in Dyfra's pedigree)



Mosa and Rhefna were the only two horses that were rideable of the imported mares. Margaret Ashelman was the wife of Sam Ashelman who imported the horses and owned them until 1966.





A young stallion pulls a sleigh in West Virginia. 1966




By the early 80's, the horses were getting old. My kids called them their "pony uncles" and lounged around on their backs. Annie' children.


Annie Shields, spent a summer working for Peter Strong getting horses ready for endurance rides in Vermont. He wanted to have a big Icelandic horse farm in Brattleboro, but it never happened.





Siri Ashelman and some kids checking out a foal.










1960's Import Photos

Annie, has been finding her photo and has allowed them to be shared on this Blog. It will take me a few days to match photos with captions, so please bare with me.



Valur ~ 3 gaited Icelandic Stallion imported from Iceland. Can see a lot of Dyfra in him.


Annie's friend Molly Warner riding imported mare Gletta. They had no saddles and the bridles were dry-rotted pieces of junk they found hanging on nails in the barn.




An endurance ride in Vermont in the early '70's.



This imported mare, Tinna, was wild as a March hare, couldn't be gentled, so Annie brought her to Washington D.C. and against city ordinances, she lived with Annie for months so that I could spend time with her.




A young stallion pulls a sleigh in West Virginia. 1966





The imported horses were not trained. Annie and her friends helped her get them started, then they rode for fun.







A few months after the mares arrived, they began having foals. Anne Dunbar and Annie Shields.



16 year old Annie.










Bonnie Weiss helped Annie with the Icelandics for years, first in Ashton MD, then later , after Annie bought the 50 horses in West Virginia.






Blesi was the stallion who came from Iceland in utero and was among the first batch of babies. He wasn't related to any mares (except his mother). Here he is pictured as a three-year old.







Blesi as an older horse. Annie always have thought he has a debauched look about him in this picture









Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's a puzzle ~ 1966 and 1968

The Icelandic foal Deca with Brenda in the summer of 1966. In the other photos of this set the Icelandic's Geira and Tata. These Icelandics were in North Royalton, Ohio.
Brenda's grandfather's neighbor had a cousin that was stationed in Iceland, married a native gal and when they returned to the US they brought several mares (some of them bred) back to the states about 1960/1965.

Geira is one of the original 1960/1965 import born in Iceland and shipped to Canada or the US and ended up in Ohio. Tata and Deca are her purebred offspring.



This photo was taken in the summer of 1968.

Deca a couple of years old in this set of photos on the bottom left, then Geira and Tata.
Brenda's grandfather's neighbor let her play with the Icelandic's and she showed the young horse Deca in 4-H.
Brenda told me, the back portion of both her Grandpa's and the neighbor's property was fenced as a whole and Grandpa had helped with the care of their earlier horse (an Appaloosa mare). As a former trainer, Grandpa was tickled to just be involved with the horse and later the ponies, and made an agreement with his neighbor Mr McCollough that he would care for and train the ponies in exchange for my use of one as my own.
But the name of the neighbors Cousin who brought these Icelandic's to the US is unknown for now.

So another piece of the puzzle.. leaving more questions.


I want to Thank Brenda for allowing me to share these priceless photos and information.
Added note: the one imported from Iceland could possibly be Geira fra Gufunesi
Problem is, I seem to be unable to find any thing about her in any registry to confirm or deny wither this is her or not.