About The Icelandic Horse Farm
2011 is the 35th year of The Icelandic Horse Farm continuously breeding, promoting, importing and selling of Icelandic horses. Our business and life revolves around these amazing horses. The farm sits on 65 picturesque acres just outside of Vernon , B.C. and during the summer we have use of approximately 65 additional acres of pasture. Service is the cornerstone of our business; we are there for you before and after horses are purchased from us. We extend a suitability guarantee to ensure satisfaction to new owners and horses alike. [Note! Click on images to see larger views.]
My husband, Phil Pretty, and I are among the earliest breeders and importers of Icelandics. Our farm has shown a steady, continuous growth in sales and has always been one of the most successful in North America.
Over the years we have sold more than 600 horses and every year more customers visit our farm and take home a horse or two or three. Many of our customers are either repeat buyers, found us by word of mouth or were TTEAM clinic participants. As editor of TTEAM Connections and one of the head clinicians of the TTEAM and TTouch work, I am busy travelling throughout North America, Europe, Australia , and South Africa , teaching this alternative way of dealing with animals.
The glamour of the show ring might be a person's first inspiration when deciding to buy a horse. The reality is that once in the saddle the majority realize that a safe fun ride is paramount. The largest number of Icelandic owners do most of their riding on the trail. They want a safe, rational easy to gait horse.
We emphasize these traits in our horses. Our training goal is to produce safe, reliable horses with natural gaits that do not require harsh contact or extreme bits.
People are always asking me what type of horses I own and since I work with virtually all breeds of horses, they are amazed to hear I own almost 100 Icelandics and become curious to learn what the breed is all about. They often come to our farm to attend a clinic and go home with an Icelandic.
Phil and I first met the Icelandics in 1976, when we helped my sister, Linda Tellington-Jones condition 15 Icelandics and then crewed for the Great American Horse Race. I have been involved with horses for over 40 years, training and showing Arabs, Hunter Jumpers, and 3-day eventing. At the time I met the Icelandics I was ready to quit the horse business, having grown tired of the abuse horses frequently suffered in the show world.
Meeting the Icelandics at the Great American Horse Race resulted in taking five of them home. A small step that lead to bringing several plane loads of Icelandic horses from Iceland in the late 70's and early 80's. At times we have had up to 190 horses at our farm. In order to insure correct trimming and shoeing Phil trained as a farrier.
My love for the Icelandic horse infected the whole family and my other sister, Susan Hodgson, of Palgrave , Ontario became the proud owner of a steadily growing herd.
In 1979 Susan and I helped found the Canadian Icelandic Horse Federation (CIHF) and one or more members of our family were on the board of directors until 2008.
In our effort to promote the breed in North America , we have attended over 100 demonstrations, shows, parades and fairs.
I competed at the World level 5 times and enjoyed the challenge of measuring my skills against European riders. The first time was in 1989, I travelled to Denmark with the whole family, to participate in the World Championships for Icelandic Horses. My mount Spori had just come from Iceland and fared well under tough competition, winning Canada 's first medal ever in the cross country event. Quite a task for a horse just coming out of Iceland and never having seen trees before.
The same year Susan and I again travelled to Iceland and besides 27 mares and geldings purchased the evaluated stallion Lettir fra Ey, a grandson of the Honor stallion Sorli fra Saudarkroki. Lettir is tall, elegant and easy to deal with; an excellent addition to the Canadian breeding of Icelandic horses. Many of his foals have been sold throughout Canada and the United States and are easy to spot in different herds from their proud carriage, elegant presence and good fluid tölt.
When some of Lettir's fillies reached the age of four and were old enough to breed the need for a new stallion became apparent. When Segull fra Stora Hof, a brown, five-gaited 1st prize stallion from Iceland became available, the opportunity was too good to be turned down. When Segull left Iceland in 1995, he was the highest evaluated stallion to have ever been exported from Iceland! The Icelandic breeding judges had given him a score of 8.37 for his conformation, the second highest score passed out that year. Segull's picture is in the Icelandic Breeding Journal with the comment "This is how the Icelandic horse should be built" Both of Segull's parents, his sire Thattur fra Kirkjubae and his dam Nott fra Kroggulfsstodum have achieved the highly sought after title of Elite Horses in Iceland.
Many decades of careful searching and selecting has allowed us to build up a string of 20 broodmares of different bloodlines, about half of which are from Iceland . We want to eliminate the chances of producing horses that don't tölt easily and have to be taught the gait. We are looking to breed natural tölters who are easy and fill the demand of the pleasure horse market up to a horse that can please even the most demanding rider. While the qualities of the individual horse are more important to us than its pedigree, we are pleased to see many well known Icelandic stallions amongst our mares' pedigrees.
The market for Icelandics is constantly growing. We have consistently sold between 30 and 50 horses each year since 1989. In recent years a large number of our sales horses have come from other breeders and owners who trust us to find the right homes for their horses. It is very important to gain a good reputation as a breeder and be fair when dealing with people. When I buy horses in Iceland I want the farmers to tell me everything about the horse. Then I decide if I can deal with the problem. The farmers know that when they are honest with me, I will be back to buy more horses.
We feel the same way when selling horses. We encourage buyers to come to our farm and try the horses several times before making their final decision.
It is important to match the right horse with the right person. The horse can be great and the person full of great intentions, but if it is not the right match there may be problems and that hurt the reputation of the breed. Although this rarely happens, we will take horses back if the buyer is unhappy with the animal purchased.
Horses enjoy a carefree life at the Icelandic Horse Farm. Riding without a bridle, groundwork and lots of trail riding are part of their routine. We have been selling Icelandics for over 3 decades and think we know our market quite well. You have to train the horse for the rider; it takes too long to find a rider to suit a horse with too much spirit or poor training.
Clinics are offered several times a year at our farm. People learn to use the TTEAM methods, Centered Riding, and Connected Riding techniques and enjoy the endless trails in the beautiful Okanagan.
The sales list of the Icelandic Horse Farm usually has between 40 and 60 horses of all ages and various levels of training.
The Icelandic Horse Farm has supplied many breeders in North America with their foundation stock and those adding to their herd often give us a call, as we always try to give knowledgeable, fair advice and excellent suitable horses.
Our horses live in large, manure controlled pastures; receive regular deworming; yearly teeth floating and regular hoof care. We deal with a wonderful local acupuncture and chiropractic veterinarian who is always at hand if there are any physical problems cropping up for a horse.