All human beings enjoy being accepted members of a community, feeling loved and being appreciated and honored for their contributions and effort.
The Icelandic horse community offers all of this.This drawing illustrates the areas, which may be attractive to riders:
Me&My Horse; this is the centre of it all. The joyful hours of freedom with your horse. The happiness of developing together with your horse. The little breaks during the week, where you can focus on your horse and yourself. The Horse Profile comes into the picture here: to secure, that the rider from the very beginning gets the horse, that is most suitable for his/her skills.
Meet&Compete; participation in any competition reaching from T8, to TREC, Tölt in Harmony, Hestadagar etc.
Meet&Learn; any educational activity for horse and rider, ranging from horse-yoga, to cliniques and ordinary lessons. It may also be TREC or similar for beginners
Meet&Achieve; sharing information, experience and solving difficulties, securing access, legislative achievements securing rider’s rights, safety etc
Meet&Tölt; this includes meeting for a joyful ride whether it is long distance Riding, Relay Rides, shorter tours etc.
Meet&Contribute; the joy of being part of something big as for example assisting as a voluntary helper at WC. It could also include being a spectator at WC having paid for the ticket! Any contribution belongs here.
The illustration above will be the future working plan for the Leisure Committee. One or several areas can be selected for a year or more and the whole illustration may be worked through over years in a systematic way. The member countries of FEIF already offers it all, but it needs to be shared in a structured way to make it available to a broader range of riders or fans of the Icelandic horse.
What has happended in the Leisure Committee so far?
Over recent years more and more member countries of FEIF are beginning to look into Leisure riding. Surveys conducted within FEIF reveal that outside Iceland (more than 3000 respndents on a survey) the majority of riders are female and that almost all riders enjoy riding in nature either alone or in groups. The surveys also reveal that the character of the Icelandic horse is conceived as being of utmost importance: a controllable and cooperative spirit as well as being safe in interaction with children, mountain bikers, hikers and traffic in general are very important factors when choosing the right horse.
In 2017 the Leisure Committee has launched the Riding Horse Profile, which is a description of the character of any horse on any given day. The Horse Profile has been developed on the basis of material from a large group of member countries and together with educational institutions in Iceland. The Breeding Committee of FEIF has contributed to the work and in near future the Education Committee and the FEIF trainers will be involved. Professional trainers will be recommended to prepare the Horse Profile to secure that we measure is really revealing the correct characteristics of the horse.
In parallel herewith the members countries have increased focus on securing access to riding in nature. Rules and regulations are extremely different. The information collected on this homepage shall serve as inspiration between countries and people on how things may be done. Each country is encouraged to place information of relevant nature for leisure riders om FEIF homepage under Leisure Riding.
A project will be launched early 2018 on establishing a network of ancient routes – taking its start in the European member countries of FEIF and hopefully spreading from there through voluntary efforts. The relay riders going from one World Championship to the next have established routes, which could be part of a Viking hoof print throughout Europe.
It is of paramount importance that riders are welcomed when appearing on tracks in the nature. This requires that we all observe good manners and demonstrate good and safe riding. Each September, emphasis will be put on this through “FEIF LEISURE RIDING MONTH”. This is the time of the year when we all on tours give our riding habits a sound brush-up and secure that all participants, new-comers as well as routine riders – are well aware of promoting the Icelandic Horse well through demonstrating good horsemanship, good manners and harmonious riding. The member countries are encouraged to take this up on an annual basis using the material on this website.