"The sweetest of all sounds is praise."
After living in Northern Iceland and training horses at Efri-Raudilækur for several years, we are now thrilled to offer our services for Icelandic horses in the United States.
We believe that, as prey animals, balance is essential to a horse's happiness and wellbeing. After all, from a horse's perspective, balance is a matter of life and death - it doesn't matter how fast a horse can run if he's going to stumble and fall in front of a predator. An unbalanced horse is often an anxious, tense, irritable, or otherwise "difficult" horse. Therefore we reject all training practices which intentionally deprive the horse of balance in order to gain control (such as the use of auxiliary reins to tie the head in a fixed position, the use of aggressive round-penning, the practice of quickly turning the head so that the horse must stop or slow down, etc.), and seek instead to empower our horses with physical, emotional, and mental balance in all aspects of life - not just under saddle.
We like to say that our training is Iceland-inspired, and science-informed. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of learning theory and its application to equine education. We make use of R+ (positive reinforcement) techniques such as clicker training to motivate our horses to work with us, and to spark their natural (but sometimes forgotten) joy-in-movement - first on the ground, and then under saddle. We then provide them with a solid classicaldressage foundation to strengthen, stretch, and balance their bodies and to help them move correctly underneath the rider. We keep our training multifaceted and exciting, and strive to never have our horses do the same thing two days in a row. The bulk of our training is conducted outside of the arena, in the beautiful nature surrounding our farm. We have access to endless miles of dirt roads, quite similar to the riding roads in Iceland, as well as miles of trails which lead us through open fields, thick woods, steep mountains, and across rivers and streams. We make use of the steep and varied terrain to balance and strengthen our horses, and use techniques such as ponying to help them discover (or rediscover) their natural spirit and energy. Most importantly, we tailor each horse's training program specifically to that individual, ensuring that each horse gets the time, attention, and specific kind of exercise they need to be at their best. Our horses are bright, happy, aware, and unafraid moving through any and all conditions. They develop trust in their riders through the R+ training, trust in themselves through the dressage training and hillwork, and trust in their surroundings through the long conditioning rides we enjoy in the mountains and on the dirt roads. The result is a strong, flexible, balanced horse who is ready for anything - be that competition, sport, trail riding, drill teams, parades, or anything else the rider can dream up.
Training Your Horse:
We are proud to offer on-site training, in part-time (3 sessions per week) or full-time (5 sessions per week) training board. Lesson/training packages may also be available to our boarders. For local clients, we may also be able to drive to you for training at an added expense.
We specialize in starting young horses and gait training, and also enjoy problem solving, especially in the form of rehabilitative training for horses with physical or emotional issues. However, especially in rehabilitative training cases, we may recommend certain veterinary therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, or bodywork after working with and evaluating your horse. Many behavioral, postural, and gait-related issues result from discomfort somewhere in the horse's body, and the horse may require some form of physical therapy outside of normal training to resolve the problem. If we suspect this may be the case with your horse, we will immediately let you know before continuing with the program. We encourage owners to be as involved as possible in the training process, and we strive to be transparent about our methods so that owners may replicate them. We believe that we are training your horse for you, so you should understand what we are doing, as well as how and why we are doing it. Our goal is to help you achieve greater harmony and understanding with your horse, and to prepare your horse to be your partner.
Please contact us for more information and rates.
Click through the photos below to see pictures of some of our horses in training: