Advanced training

We discuss a training plan with each owner keeping in mind the future role of each horse.  With that goal in mind the training is aimed toward preparing the horse as well as possible to fullfill its future role.  

The training is about the physical and mental buildup of the equine athlete, and teaching the horse to move in four or five gaits according to its qualities.  

We emphasize correct working outline based on the anatomy and physiology of the horse, and equine biomechanics.  By logically working on improved endurance, strength, flexibility and coordination we improve the ahletisism of the horse.

Advanced training
Training the gaits

Training the gaits

The training of the horse here in Holtsmúli aims at increasing general fitness of the horse, including strength, endurance and flexibility so that he is physically able to perform as well as possible.  We emphasize correct outline, which starts in engaging the hindquarters of the horse, incorporating the belly muscles and relaxing the topline.  Psychologically we want a confident horse, responsive to all aids, equally willing to move on and stop, i.e. willing to do whatever the rider asks.  Then we have a horse that is confident, moves freely forward without hesitation, yet is relaxed.  He is using his hindquarters actively, well raised and in good head carriage.  Leg action and stride length becomes higher and longer as the horse becomes stronger.

Some horses come here for retraining with specific problems either in the gaits or they have some issues about who is in control.  In those cases it is important to find the root of the problem, but generally the reason is one of the following:

  • The horse is afraid
  • The horse doesn´t understand
  • The horse has physical limitations
  • There is a conflict about who is the leader, the horse or the rider

Our job is first to figure out why the horse doesn´t behave as expected.  In the case of the fearful horse, we need to fill him with confidence.  The horse that doesn´t understand needs further explanation of the subject he is supposed to perform.  Physical limitations or injuries often explain why a horse does not perform as he is asked to.  The horse can be hurting somewhere, for example in the mouth, or in the back muscles, or simply just not talented enough to do as expected or hoped to.  Leadership issues are also common, the brave horses sometimes refuse to do what they are asked to do just because they think they can get away with it.

The facilities in Holtsmúli are great for training horses.  We have an indoor arena, gravel roads, mud roads, grass roads, hills, rivers, wetlands and the best competition track in Iceland close by.