01-05-2011, 09:37 PM
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Hi, new member, first post. Glad to find the forum.
We (my wife and I) have two Icelandic geldings. We like them a lot. They are extremely comfortable on long rides, energetic but controllable, alert but not skittish, very sure footed, and low maintainance when fed like they were in Iceland.
We bought them in So. Cal., rode them there for a few years, then brought them with us when we moved to So. Central PA. The desert (Acton) was perfect for them in terms of diet and their feet. PA wasn't so we had to learn what we needed to do. In the end it was simple, but it was a learning process. The horses are doing great here now that we understand how to keep them in this lush climate.
Our horses were both born, raised, and trained in Iceland. We ride them in Icelandic saddles and tack. I have some riding pants from Iceland that are extremely comfortable.
The horses do well in a paddock on grass hay with "very" limited grazing for an hour or two mid day after incremental transition to grass, a few supplements to balance the diet, and a cup of Trotter twice a day to help them take the supplements. Ours do not tolerate eastern grass other than for a couple of hours mid day - it's too much sugar for them and it shows up in their feet.
Ours are barefoot trimmed (Jamie Jackson/Pete Ramey method). I do the trimming myself. With the proper diet, their feet are about bullet proof. They do just fine on the rather rocky trails here, crossing asphalt, or streams, and don't have any problems. I do a maintainance trim every 4 weeks in the summer, every 8 weeks in the winter. It only takes a few minutes per horse so it's no big deal with a HoofJack to help.
I have a bad back and these horses are smooth enough to let me ride them for hours and still walk when I dismount. I love it. My wife's bone mineral content is to low to safely ride now, but we still have fun taking care of them together and I ride them both, though not as much as I used to.