Signs of spring are everywhere, including in our events calendar, the Midland Winter Tölt Series is over and what a great new adventure it has been.
Winter events can be difficult. Days are short, weather uncertain, camping out unattractive. We are fortunate in the Icelandic Horse Community in the UK to have not only the splendid facilities at Connegar Farm but Ann and Dave Savage now have a purpose-built indoor arena, oval track and a new clubhouse which is operational although not finished. Dave has been working very hard over the last few months to get it up together enough to be usable this winter and to allow a first foray into winter events at Pinchbeck Gaited Horses in Spalding, Lincolnshire. Having been through the process a few years ago at Oakfield I know how long it takes to get everything functional at the very least and finishing off is something else entirely.
We are a widespread community and a new facility in the Midlands is a very exciting development for our Icelandic Horse Community. It has allowed us for the first time ever this winter to have two Winter Tölt series. The other was held at Connegar Farm in Dorset October, November, January result links – Overall results below.
Many insights have been gained into what our community seems to be looking for and prepared to travel for in the winter months.
- Lessons/Qualifiers on one day and finals the next seem to have been a winning combination.
- One or two nights “roughing” it seems bearable for most.
- Limiting the number of classes and combinations (each horse and rider is a combination) has meant that the winter events are more manageable time wise, later starts and shorter days meaning many people can travel on the day.
- Using one judge keeps the cost down and provides good feedback for training and development.
- An element of friendly competition adds a little spice and helps focus the mind on the advice and feedback received from the lessons and qualifiers.
Several intrepid adventurers converged on Spalding from as far away as Cumbria, West Wales and Bridgenorth despite the warnings of Storm Freya. Becca Hughes even managed to compete at both venues. (Fi was judging at Pinchbeck so was unable to compete).
The event organisers in the Icelandic Horse Community in the UK have been so impressed by the response that we are discussing a multi-centre Summer Tölt as well as a way to involve as many of our community as possible we may offer the opportunity to video the qualifiers and have the finals as a one-day in-person event.
Thank you to all the organisers, participants and supporters, online and in person. You are what makes our Icelandic horse community in the UK so very special.