Winterhorse Park

Winterhorse Park - Icelandic Horse Farm.
Thokadis and Glidja grooming each other.

Info

Care

Most Icelandic Horse owners keep their horses very natural. We feel that our horses are happier if they are kept as close to natural as possible. That means we keep our horses outside in large herds with minimal handling. They live in communities separated by their need for feed and breeding. In the spring we have our stallion, Fjalar, with the mares he is breeding for the current year. He will be kept with those bred mares throughout the winter months with forage or hay available 100% of their day.

The riding and competition horses are kept in another herd and let out to graze or feed from hay approximately 3 hours am and pm. Our pastures are large and grassy and allow the herd to run well beyond our view at times. Generally, we move these herds by driving them from paddock to pasture, only haltering them when being tacked or handled for vetting and farrier work. These herds are a close knit community and everyone has their place. They rely on each other and herding is quite simple, right from foaling on to the adults.

These herds are left out in our Wisconsin climates to live naturally. They have shelters to protect them from sun, rain and wind but it’s surprising how seldom they use them. We will use our stalls when we train and condition during the winter months. As in all breeds, it’s not healthy to turn out a horse that has worked up a sweat during the winter months. We will either stall them overnight or blanket them with wool or fleece to wick the moisture off before turning them out.

When importing an Icelandic Horse from Iceland, we are careful to realize that they do not have the exposure to our diseases and illnesses prevalent in the U.S. Upon arriving, we vaccinate them for protection against these diseases, along with booster vaccinations as if they were foals without protection. We take months to complete this vaccination process so we do not over stimulate their pure immune system. Once this vaccination process is complete, their medical care becomes much the same as domestic horses here in the U.S. with the same yearly vaccinations, teeth floating, worming, etc.

Icelandic Horses are generally kept with shoes during the riding months. For the most part, they have extremely hard and healthy hooves. By keeping them shod during the riding seasons, we feel we offer the best protection that allows them to perform their gaits freely without worry of bruising or pain from rocks, or wear from performing gaits on gravel or sand. We shoe our horses with specific shoes made for Icelandic Horses offering the right amount of all around support. The hoof of the Icelandic Horse should be kept large and round and balanced at the proper angle. There are strict rules in effect now for shoeing horses for competitions. Generally, 8 mm shoes are used, however, an addition 2 mm can be set either front or hind to offer added balance to the gaits of the individual Icelandic Horse if need be.

Icelandic horses are easy keepers. They are not very demanding of specialized care, and thrive with regular veterinarian care and quality grass hay and forage. On occasion we will find the need to supplement certain horses with grain. Usually, our brood mares, stallion, foals and some horses that are in training.