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).

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Do you love to read books about kids and horses?

Then check out my Keystone Stables Series.

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Today’s Horse Facts: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth, My Next Book

Take a look at my newest book idea, STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH, a 60-Day Devotional for tweens.

Horse lovers, I’d like to share some exciting news. I’m working on a new horse book (as if 13 aren’t enough.) This one’s a little different from all the rest because it’s a devotional for tween kids. We’re looking at 60 different horse breeds and relating them to characteristics a Christian kid should have in his life to glorify God.  So let’s get started. Each week for a while we’ll feature a different breed of horse after this introductory blog:

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

horses-mouth

A 60-day Devotional for Tweens

Let’s Go Riding!

Horses and kids. Kids and horses.

What is it with kids and horses?

Many kids think horses are the most beautiful creatures God ever made, even better than puppies!

As a kid, I loved horses that way. I’ve always said I was born with a silver spur in my mouth and have horse blood in my veins. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love horses.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a horse or to be around them (like mucking stalls at a riding academy in exchange for riding lessons), then you know the thrill of climbing on a horse and jogging him around the training ring or trotting down a serene path in the woods. If you’ve done so, I’m sure you’ve treated your mount with kindness, never kicking him in the ribs too hard or slapping him in the face with your reins. In return, he’s given you a wonderful ride you can talk about for hours with anyone who’ll listen without yawning a lot.

When I was growing up, I lived in a small town and couldn’t have a horse, but I dreamed about owning one someday. I read any horse book I could get my hands on, books like Marguerite Henry’s Album of Horses, The Black Stallion and My Friend Flicka. I collected horse calendars, plastic horse models, and all kinds of “horse stuff.” I colored horse pictures and watched TV Westerns along with any movie with horses in it. One Christmas, my parents gave me a “real” leather jacket with fringes all over it. I was in pretend horse heaven!

I finally had the chance to actually ride a horse … well, a pony.  When I turned about ten, my mother took me on Sunday afternoons to a riding stable where I rode Sugar, a Shetland Pony,  in a corral for a half hour at a time. Can you imagine the thrill I had every time I climbed in the saddle? I loved horses so much, I’d rub my hands real hard on Sugar when I had to get off. That way I took home with me that wonderful sweet odor of “horse.” It lasted a few hours (or until my mother made me wash my hands to eat supper.)

As I became an adult, I prayed I’d be able to have a horse of my own. I’m so happy to say that God answered my prayer. Once when I had my own home and a job to afford a horse or two, I had horses for a long time. I have years of wonderful “horse time” memories I’ll cherish forever.MyFifthHorse

Do you know there’s someone else very important in your life who loves horses as much or more than we do?

God loves horses. Do you know there are about 150 verses in the Bible that include the word “horse”? Do you think if God mentioned equines so many times in his Holy Word that he’s also very fond of one of the most beautiful creatures he ever made? But there’s something, or someone, God is much fonder of than horses.

You.

God wants you to know He loves you more than anything in this world. He also wants you to know about Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to this earth over 2000 years ago and gave His life so you could live in Heaven some day.

The best way to learn about God and Jesus is to read the Bible. We call that special quiet time with your Bible “having devotions.” If you are a Christian, then you probably already have devotions every day, and that will help you become a strong Christian with a determination to do right.

So saddle up and get ready to hit the trail. Next time, we’ll look at our first horse, the American Albino, and see what’s so special about that breed.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

Have you read my Keystone Stables books yet? How about starting with A HORSE TO LOVE, book one in my best-selling Keystone Stables Series:

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone and everything until she meets a beautiful show horse, Champ, at a foster home and special needs riding academy

keystone-stables-book-1Available at any bookstore on online at Amazon, Zondervan, or Barnes and Noble

My 5th and 6th horses weren’t exactly a lady nor a gentleman.

My 5th and 6th horses weren’t exactly a lady nor a gentleman.

My Fifth and Sixth Horses

My 5th Horse

MyFifthHorse

 

While going through all my picture albums, I’ve discovered that I only have one picture of horse number five, a flighty grey Arabian, whose name I can’t even remember. The reason for that is because I only had the horse on a two-week trial basis (about 35 years ago after we moved to the outskirts of Middleburg, PA), and she only lasted two weeks. Why?

This horse, a pretty little thing, was fine to saddle and bridle, fine to walk beside and fine to ride around the barn. BUT … the minute I tried to take her any distance away from the barn, she would balk and rear up on her hind legs. It only took me one tumble off her back to realize this horse needed some work, and I wasn’t the one to do it, so she went back to its owner. It was a shame she didn’t work out for me because she was a very attractive mount, but she was headstrong; thus, she was no good as a trail horse at all.

My sixth horse was a nice looking black Tennessee Walker gelding. I remember his name, Chico, but I don’t even have one picture of this horse. Why?

Well, this horse was another two-week trial fluke.

Was he pretty as a picture? Yes.

Did he stand to take his tack and let me clean his hooves? Yes.

Was he easy to ride? Yes!

“Well, then, what was the matter?” you might ask.

The first time I rode this horse, everything went as smooth as silk. We had a great time out on the trail. When I got back to the barn, I unbridled him and tied him so I could unsaddle him. I loosened the cinch and walked around the back of him, about four feet from his rump (as I had always been taught to do), and BAM! This old boy, for no reason at all, landed a kick on my hip that, if I had been closer, could have done serious damage. Even at that distance away, he gave me a good wallop, which turned into quite a huge black, yellow, and purple hematoma over the next few weeks.

Well, enough of that. I immediately called his owner, who immediately asked, “Did he kick you?” (Surprise, surprise!) The next weekend, the black Walker, unridden after that, went back to his owner, and I was horseless once again and horse hunting for one or two good mounts.

The plain horse fact to learn from all these horse stories is that you never know what kind of a horse you are buying. He/she might look good on foreign territory, he might be pretty as a picture, and his/her owner might sell you a good line. So, when you find one you like, get the horse on a trial basis with the option to return him/her if the horse has dangerous patterns of behavior. And make sure the deal includes your getting all your money back.

Next time, we’ll discuss my favorite horse of all times, Rex.

Happy riding!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

(Buy a horse book for a friend!)

(Learn about my Keystone Stables books at http://www.marshahubler.com )

 

Please check out my 8-book best-selling Keystone Stables Series

BOOK ONE: A HORSE TO LOVE

Keystone Stables Book 1

 

Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her show horse, Champ, and all their exciting adventures.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U80FZK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Today’s Horse Facts: Learn from the Past Horse Facts Blogs

Read about all the horses I’ve owned in the past.

Today’s Horse Facts: Goodbye for a While

My.Little.Red.Barn

Fellow horse lovers, for a while, I’ll not be posting any new horse facts blog. You see, I’m working on a new girl/horse fiction series for horse loving kids. The series is about a girl, Dallis, who rescues a wild white mustang from the slaughterhouse and whose parents start a horse rescue ranch in central Pennsylvania. Right now I’m not even sure of the title of the series or the first book. If you have any ideas, let me know.

If you want to continue reading about horses in this blog, I suggest you scroll down the right side and click on RECENT POSTS of your choice, or add a month to go back to other blogs I’ve posted. We’ve discussed quite a few different breeds of horses. If you ever read through all those I’ve posted and want to learn about more breeds, let me know, and I’ll put a new blog in here about a brand new breed I’ve not discussed before.

You might really be interested in learning about all my horses that I’ve owned. I have blogs in here about them too. Just type in April of 2011 and that will take you to the first horse I ever owned, a nifty little three-quarter horse named Moon Doggie. From there, just continue reading the rest of the posts after that. 🙂 You’ll eventually read about Rex, the most wonderful, sweetest horse that ever lived. He died of old age a long time ago, but I still miss him terribly.

Riding My First Horse, Moon Doggie
Moon Doggie was safe to ride bareback
Rex, My Dream Horse
Rex, My Dream Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for being a fan of my blog. You and I are kindred spirits. Anyone who loves horses can’t be all that bad. Ha ha.

Marsha

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Have you read any of my best-selling Keystone Stables books yet? How about the very first one about rotten foster kid Skye Nicholson who hates everyone and everything until she meets Champ, a gorgeous registered sorrel Quarter Horse:

Keystone Stables Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/Horse-Love-Keystone-Stables/dp/0310717922/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371907184&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Horse+to+Love+by+Marsha+Hubler