While the thermometer climbs to the high teens in the rest of the northern hemisphere and spring is either in full flush or at least right around the corner, here in Iceland, we have a little bit of winter left to go. But even up here we are getting ready to exchange our snow suits for a summary lopapeysa, the traditional Icelandic sweater. Next to the return of the light and our official “First Day of Summer”, which we will celebrate on April 21st, there is one annual event that clearly marks the change of the seasons for us, namely when we bring in the yearlings.
Every year around this time, we separate the foals that were born last summer from their mothers and keep them in the stable for a few days. The moms are all expecting again and wouldn’t allow last years’ offspring to hang round much longer anyway. Once in the stable, the foals share a few boxes, so they are not alone, and we gently get them used to being handled by us. They learn to wear a halter and to be led as well as to be touched by people. We also care for their hoofs and look at their movements. It’s a pleasure to watch them change from frightened babies huddling together to curious young horses that demand cuddles and attention and discover something new every day.
They will stay with us for about 10 days before we reunite them with their moms. Breeding mares and yearlings will continue to be in the same herd for quite some time, but they will have detached from each other and while the mares are getting ready for their new foal, the yearlings will mainly stick together and do all kinds of mischief. It will be years before we take them in for serious training and for now they get to be wild horses and enjoy the summer.
On a different note, we are extremely proud to announce that two of our older youngsters, the 4-year old Vallarsól and the 5-year old Sónata are showing outstanding promise and we are planning to present them to be judged this summer.