WF in New Zealand

Prins Valíant frá Þúfu í Kjós [IS2011125435]
Photo: Jemma Currey

We have not had any official FEIF assessments as yet. It is too expensive to invite breeding judges to come over. We however have had some breeding judges visiting our beautiful country. In 2008 Herdís Reynisdóttir unofficially assessed two breeding horses and in 2016 Silke Feuchthofen, while on holiday in New Zealand, assessed some horses via the ‘Linear Assessment form for Young Horses’.

Most assessments were done in the paddocks at the breeders’ place and not in a uniform set up, such as an arena, but nevertheless will give a good indication for the breeders. As Association, we highly encourage breeders to assess their breeding horses and possibly the offspring. In 2018 and 2019/2020 Silke was able to assess more horses as we were lucky she choose New Zealand again as holiday destination.

Compared to most other FEIF member countries, New Zealand does not have a long history with Icelandic horses. Although there were already records of Icelandic horses arriving in New Zealand in the late 1800s, it was not until the late 1990s when the first breeding horses arrived in New Zealand from Europe mainland.

The first stallion to arrive was Dux von Roetgen (DE1997143863), accompanied by four broodmares: Tinna (DE1987244167), Glæsa (DE1993244860), Fjóla des Prés (FR1993267020) and Grána  vom Sophienhof (DE1993244981). Two other broodmares arrived a little later: Sunna frá Laugabæ (IS1985235567) and Desilóa frá Torfastöðum (IS1990288502) and in 2000 the first foals were born out of these horses.

More stallions followed in early 2000; Þótti frá Wetsinghe (NL2002100078), Sindri from Haldane Icelandic Horses (AU2003103010), Gneisti von Roetgen (DE2004143189) and Stormur frá Tornbjerg (DK2007105337), all imported as young colts. They were followed by more imports of breeding horses from Australia and Iceland with the first and so far only officially assessed stallion  Prins Valíant frá Þúfu í Kjós (IS2011125435), arriving in 2019.

With permission of owners we keep record of most of these assessments for future use. As long as it is too expensive to organise official FEIF assessments, we will continue to encourage our members to assess their breeding horses via the assessment done in previous years. Together with the information on WorldFengur the assessments are an important tool for the breeders here to improve the quality of Icelandic horses.

Sunna frá Laugabæ [IS1985235567] – lead horse.
Photo: Roelf Schreuder

Þótti frá Wetsinghe [NL2002100078]
Photo: Jennie Boerema

Since an Icelandic horse Studbook in New Zealand did not yet exist (the Association was founded in 2006, and the Studbook Rules were only set up years later) and there was no official requirement for registration of horses, it was not until 2007 that the first New Zealand born horses were officially registered on the WorldFengur database.

Initially they were registered without DNA verification, but this soon changed and now only horses that have been DNA verified on both parents and can be traced back to Iceland, can be registered. There are only a handful of horses, mainly older geldings, which are either not DNA tested or only to one parent (in this occasion the other parent died before DNA could be verified).

In New Zealand it is quite common to crossbreed and there are hardly any horses here with official papers, let alone registered in a Studbook. Therefore raising the awareness that the Icelandic horses are registered in a worldwide database and also DNA verified on both parents, is an important aspect of promoting the purity of the breed.

Our next step now is supplying an official Certificate of Ownership in co-operation with WorldFengur for every fully registered and DNA verified horse born in New Zealand. Due to the small population of Icelandic horses and limited breeding, it is relatively easy for us to keep the database updated. The lines are short, we know most breeders and it is relatively easy to locate “missing” horses. Just like in all other countries, we depend on the cooperation of the breeders, owners and sellers to be able to do so.

We highly promote the use of the database. Our members have free access and it is a great source of information. We realise it is a tremendous effort to maintain and keep the database updated and we very much appreciate all the work the WorldFengur team and all the registrars put in.

We will continue to register all pure-bred Icelandic horses born in New Zealand according to the set rules and we look forward to continuing the good relationship we have with the WorldFengur team!

 Text: Jennie Boerema, WorldFengur registrar NZ

Grána vom Sophienhof [DE1993244981]
Photo: Estelle Hobbins