Today’s Horse Facts: The Icelandic – A National Treasure!

Can you guess where the Icelandic horse has his roots? If you said Iceland, you are correct. Do you know where Iceland is?

The Icelandic Horse: A National Treasure!

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power

 may be of God, and not of us.”

 (2 Corinthians 4:7)

To see a picture of the Icelandic Horse, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_horse

Can you guess where the Icelandic horse has his roots? If you said Iceland, you are correct. Do you know where Iceland is?

Iceland is a small, island (considered a country of Europe) not too far from Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean where the weather can be frigid and downright nasty. Despite the climate, Icelandic horses are easy to keep and very hardy, and the bitter cold temperatures don’t bother him at all. The reason? They have a double coat for extra insulation.

The Icelandic horse’s beginnings date back to the 9th and 10th Centuries when Norsemen (Scandinavian Vikings) settled on Iceland and brought their ponies with them. If you check the Icelandic historical records and literature, you’ll find the breed mentioned often, the first reference as early as the 12th Century.  Because the Norse settlers honored their horses and brought their Norse mythology and traditions with them, the Icelanders of today have their “very own horse,” which they consider a treasure.

Although the Icelandic has the characteristics and height of a pony, the cute little guy is considered a horse.  Several theories have emerged as to why Icelandics are always called horses, among them the breed’s spirited temperament and friendly personality. Although they only weigh between 730 and 840 pounds and stand at 13 to 14 hands, breed registries always refer to Icelandics as horses. They also have heavier bones and are able to carry tremendous weights, which suggest a “horse” classification.

A very unique trait of the Icelandic is his amazing coat colors. The breed comes in all different shades, over 100 in all, including dun, bay, black, gray, palomino, pinto and roan. Along with the variety of colors, the Icelandic adds to his attractive looks with a full mane and flowing tail.  Another unique trait the Icelandic has is two extra gaits in addition to the walk, trot, and canter that other breeds all have. Thus, he’s often called a “five-gaited horse.”

Although the Icelandic is the only horse on Iceland, he’s also popular in many countries in Europe and North America. One reason is that in 1904, Icelandic enthusiasts created the first breed society for the Icelandic horse. Today the breed is represented by Icelandic organizations in 19 different nations, organized by the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations.

Another reason for his popularity is his long life. An Icelandic mare in Denmark reached a record age of 56. Another one in Great Britain lived 42 years. The breed’s long years can partially be due to the lack of exposure to diseases from other horses in Iceland. Icelandic law prevents equines from coming into the country, and exported ones can’t return.

Although the Icelandics are not usually ridden until they’re four years old and they don’t reach full maturity until age seven, the people of Iceland love them and are proud of them for several reasons. Because Iceland is so remote, the horses have remained a pure breed, unchanged for over 1,000 years. The horses aren’t easily spooked, probably because they have no natural predators. They’re friendly and calm, although they’re also spunky and confident. The people have also used them for all kinds of tasks, including sheep herding, pleasure riding, racing, and showing. It’s very easy to understand why the people consider their little horse a national treasure.

I’m sure you know a treasure is something extremely valuable. Some people, like archeologists, search the world over for treasures from past civilizations. However, Christians have a treasure that’s far more valuable than any ancient relic like gold or precious jewels.

The Bible tells us when we accept Jesus as our Savior, God gives us power to live for Him. The power comes from the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us.  If we want to please God, the Holy Spirit helps us to do our best. That power is the treasure to help us live for Jesus.

The Bible also tells us about another kind of treasure, the kind that we have in our possession. Whether you’re rich or poor, there are some things you own that you might consider your “treasure.” It might be money. Maybe it’s a collection of model cars. Maybe it’s your computer or smart phone. A personal treasure can be anything of value to that person. According to the Bible, whatever treasure you focus on and spend a lot of time on, that’s where your heart will be, as well.

Have you ever thought that God…or your Bible could be a treasure? If you value them more than anything you own, then your heart’s in the right place.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for the treasure of the Bible and You in my life. I pray that I can always focus my heart on You as my most valuable treasure.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of the name of any possessions you have that you consider “treasures.”  Then decide if you love those things more than God.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In the 1780s, many of the Icelandic Horses died following a volcanic eruption at Laki in southeast Iceland, mostly by eating fluorine-contaminated grass or by starving.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34).

**********

Do you love to read books about kids and horses?

Then check out my Keystone Stables Series.

http://amzn.to/2nPbZ5q

Today’s Horse Facts: The Hackney – The Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving

Why is the Hackney horse called the Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving?

The Hackney Horse: The Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving

“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.”

(Revelation 19:16 NKJV)

(Check out photos of the Hackney at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackney_horse)

The Hackney Horse is another superb breed that originated in Great Britain. He’s not to be confused with the Hackney Pony, which can’t be taller than 14.2 hands and has the usual characteristics of a pony, not a horse.

The first records of any Hackney Horse date back to the 14th Century in Norfolk (a county in eastern Great Britain) when the King of England, Edward III, required excellent trotting horses  to be used for riding. Then in 1542, King Henry VIII ordered his wealthy subjects to breed only the very best trotting stallions.

With excellent crossbreeding in the late 17th to the early 18th Centuries, the Hackney developed from the Norfolk Trotter, Yorkshire Roadster, the Arabian, and the Thoroughbred. Wow! What strong bloodlines this high stepper has!  Before that time, heavier, big-boned horses pulled wagons, and they were in no hurry to do it. However, people wanted to get places faster, so they focused on lighter horses such as the Hackney. At first, folks simply admired the beauty of the Hackney but soon discovered his amazing trotting ability and seemingly endless energy. He could cover up to sixty miles in one day!

When people first entered Hackneys in competition, it was “under saddle” (a rider on the horse), not harness. As road conditions improved and the Hackney became the carriage horse, he then competed in harness. Thus, he became known as a riding and driving horse of great excellence.

During the 19th Century as with so many other driving breeds, the invention of modern machinery and the expansion of the railway endangered the carriage horses. Fortunately, Hackney owners revived the breed by selective crossbreeding with Norfolk and Yorkshire Trotters known for their style and speed. The impressive gaits of the Hackney Horse saved him from extinction and began his awesome appearance in England’s show ring.

The Hackney first appeared in the United States in 1878 when a Hackney enthusiast, Alexander Cassatt, brought the first Hackney Pony to the United States. Because Hackneys came in both pony and horse height ranges, they were one of the few breeds that recognized both pony and horse sizes.

As the Hackney Pony developed in the late 19th Century, Hackney Horses were bred to different pony breeds in order to create a very specific type of show pony. In 1891 with the two breeds becoming increasingly distinct in their characteristics, Cassatt and other Hackney enthusiasts founded the American Hackney Horse Society now based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Over the last few decades, the Hackney’s breeding has further produced a horse ideal for carriage driving. The Hackney Horse ranges in height from 14 to 15.3 hands. Their common colors are black, brown, bay and chestnut, and there are even some spotted ones. He has an elegant presence with a small head, well-shaped ears, and a natural high-set tail. But what is the Hackney most well-known for? Of course, his natural high-stepping gait! Although he’s best known for stealing the show in harness, he can also give a smooth and exciting ride. A pleasant surprise is his outstanding ability in show jumping and dressage competition.

To bring the excellence of the Hackney to the world’s horse enthusiasts, in 2003 the American Hackney Horse Society started the Open Competition Awards Program to recognize blue-ribbon Hackneys that were competing against other breeds.

Today proud owners compete in Carriage Driving and Coaching with their Hackney Horses, many driving away with top honors. Horse lovers often have to admit there’s nothing more elegant than a Hackney driving a fancy antique carriage. Because of the Hackney’s royal appearance, it’s easy to understand that he’s called the Rolls Royce of carriage driving.

Do you know what it means to label something a “Rolls Royce”?

The term “Rolls Royce” means the very best of something. A Rolls Royce car is one of the most expensive, special-made cars in the world. As the Hackney is labeled the Rolls Royce of carriage driving, our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, can be labeled the “Rolls Royce of all gods.” He’s not only the best God. He’s the only true God.

Sadly, many people around the world worship gods that aren’t even alive. They worship statues that can’t hear or speak. Some cultures worship animals, believing their ancestors’ souls live in the animals they worship. But saddest of all are the millions of people who believe they can go to heaven if they please their gods by being good or by doing kind deeds. But our one true God doesn’t expect that from us. All our God asks is that we trust in His Son Jesus to be our Savior, the only one who can forgive all our sins.

If you’ve trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then you’re believing in the Rolls Royce of gods, and you always can be sure of heaven when you die.

PRAYER: Dear God, I thank Jesus my Savior for being the One True God, whom I can trust to go to heaven. I realize there are no other gods like Him anywhere.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

What do you think people might be doing to try to earn their way to heaven? Thank God that you know it’s your faith in Christ that opens the way to eternal life.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) In the 1820s, a Hackney called “Norfolk Cob” was recorded as trotting two miles in just five minutes and four seconds.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

THERE ARE OVER 300!!!! I ONLY SHARED ABOUT 60 IN MY NEW BOOK….

GO TO https://amzn.to/2Lgypvm

 

If you like to read stories about kids and horses, then my Keystone Stables books are the ones for you!

Today’s Horse Facts: The Clydesdale – One Powerful Equine!

Do you think you could saddle a Clydesdale horse and ride him? Clydesdales are some of the biggest horses in the world.

The Clydesdale: One Powerful Equine!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clydesdale_horse)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”

(Ephesians 6:10)

Do you think you could ever saddle a Clydesdale and ride him? Let’s find out!

The Clydesdale is a huge, coldblooded draft horse that has his roots as a farm animal from the Clyde Valley in Scotland, a country in Europe. He’s considered a member of an exclusive equine club, “The Big Four of the Draft World,” with Belgians, Percherons, and Shires. It might be well to note that the Clydesdale is as beautiful as he is big.

Way back in the 1700s, the breed developed from Flemish (northern Belgium) stallions that had been imported to Scotland and crossbred with local mares. The name “Clydesdale” was first used in 1826, and by 1830 a system of hiring stallions resulted in Clydesdale horses becoming popular throughout Scotland and northern England. In 1877, Clydesdale enthusiasts started the first breed registry, which raised great interest in the horse.

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, thousands of Clydesdales found their way from Scotland to the rest of the horse world, including Australia and New Zealand, where they were given the name “the breed that built Australia.” However, during World War I, as with most horse breeds, Clydesdales began to decline due to automobiles and the invention of farm machinery. Unfortunately, the decline continued until 1970, when the Rare Breeds Survival Trust then declared the Clydesdale in danger of extinction. Clydesdale enthusiasts began to work to preserve the breed, and because of their efforts this majestic equine started to make a comeback.

So how big is big? Clydesdales stand from 16 to 18 hands and weigh 1,800 to 2,000 pounds.  Now that’s big. Some full-grown males have measured 18 hands and weigh up to 2,200 pounds. That’s almost as heavy as a small car! Despite the horses’ size, would you believe some people actually like to ride them? You’d definitely need a ladder to get on, like climbing on the top of bunkbeds. And I imagine it would be like trying to ride a sofa!

Concerning the Clydesdales’ colors, they’re considered the dark horses of the Big Four. They’re mostly bay, brown, roan, or black with white markings, mostly on the face and sometimes with large white blotches on his underbelly. They also have white feathers preferably on all four feet. Feathers? If you’re a horse lover, then you probably already know that horses don’t have “feathers” like birds do. You’d also know when a horse has feathers, he has long, flowing hair covering his feet.

The Clydesdale is quite the unique horse. Despite his bulky size and bulging muscles, he has a gorgeous arching neck and a flashy, high-step.  He has lots of energy, and even when he pulls an over-sized wagon or a heavy load, his power and beauty leave the admirer in awe. Besides his handsome frame, his mane will probably be braided and his tail either bobbed or braided, which only adds to his stunning appearance.

Some of the most famous members of the breed are the teams that make up the eight-horse hitches of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Also, Clydesdales and Shires are used by the British Household Cavalry as drum horses, leading parades during state occasions. Drum horses, of course, carry drums, and have the special privilege of guarding the Sovereign and the Royal Household. To qualify for that job,  a drum horse must stand at least 17 hands because he’ll carry the Musical Ride Officer and two silver drums, each weighing about 125 pounds.  Only a powerful horse like the Clydesdale could handle all that weight and still prance with an arched neck.

Just as the Clydesdale uses his power to pull heavy loads and serve people, do you know you can ask God for His power to help you serve others too?

Perhaps you have situations in your life that make you feel weak and unable to know what to do. We all have problems in our lives that sometimes can stump us and cause us to want to “run away” from the trouble. But God is always with us, ready to help.

As a Christian, remember that your power to do right and to accomplish anything comes from God. Jesus is your best friend. All you need to do is ask Him, and you’ll receive the power and strength to get the job done or solve the problem.

PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes I feel very weak in my faith. I know I can be stronger with your power. Help me to always trust in you with important decisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some things you think God will help you do to become a stronger Christian.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In past days, the Clydesdales’ feet were so big they couldn’t fit in the farmers’ plowed furrows. Thus, Clydesdales often worked in towns pulling wagons rather than pulling plows on farms.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “He gives power to the weak,
and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29).

**********

Would you like to learn more about different breeds of horses and at the same time, learn about our wonderful God?

Then this is the book for you:

https://amzn.to/2BxEg7k

If you like to read stories about kids and horses, then my Keystone Stables books are the ones for you!