How we raise our horses at Langhus farm
| The youngsters and broodmares having fun in the sun. It’s spring, beginning of june.
Horses in general, and most of all Icelandic horses, benefit from being raised in a herd. We provide a herd environment for our youngsters for the whole upbringing, and when we start them and train them, they still spend the summer living in a herd. They also have very large pastures, which lessens drastically the risk of worm infections, and gives the youngster a large playground. The soil is rich of nutritients, making the grass and hay so rich of minerals and other nutritients, that few additive feedstuffs are needed.
The foals are born in a herd consisting of 3-4 broodmares, their foals, and 15-20 youngsters that are 1-5 years old. There is also a 14 years old gelding (former showhorse, for example at Landsmot) that is mostly retired in the herd. The young geldings and mares are thus mixed together in a herd, and stallionprospects enjoy their first year in it (after that they go to a herd with only geldings and stallions in the wintertime, and a small mare-herd in the summer). This herd is together most of the year, from september to june.
Few things are prettier, or more exiting, than a broodmare that is just about to foal. Dögg from Halldórsstöðum at Langhús.
In the summertime the broodmares go with their foals for a few weeks to be bred in a 1. class stallion’s herd.
Meanwhile the youngsters go with other youngsters from the neighbourhood up into the mountains. The neighbourhood, Fljót, has an enormous pasture (thousands of acres) in the mountains that encircle our valley, where 70 youngsters from several farms roam together in the summermonths. In september they are gathered again to the lowlands, to spend the winter on their farms.
We have our youngsters on a regular de-worming schedule, that our vet has organized. The hooves are also trimmed as nessesary. The rocky soil takes care of most of the hoof-trimming, but we check regurarily and trim as needed.
In the wintertime the herd lives in a big pasture, about 30 acres, where they are fed all the hay they can eat. The winters are cold, so they don’t get exessively overweight, and they have a gathering place at the roller-bale of hay, but lots of room to play. As someone visits them on a tractor every day, either bringing hay or checking that everything is okay, they are on friendly terms with the humans, without being overhandled. We also bring them into a barn to deworm and trim them.
So, when the youngsters are 4 years old, they trust the humans, but as we take care not to overpet or overhandle them, they respect the humans too. When we bring them into the barn as 4-years old (to start them), to be tied on a stall for the first time, they always take it very calmly, and often just stand quietly in the stall like they’ve never done anything else. So, we can start the frisky youngster on friendly terms, instead of having to begin by overcoming a lot of fright or a lot of pushiness in the youngster.
Even our stallion lives a very free life, he’s with a herd of mares in the summertime, and with a herd of stallions, or 2-3 geldings, the rest of the year. That life is of course a free life, so he’s out of shape on the picture, but he’s a very satisfied horse. On his own page he’s on the other hand in top training.