Last Wednesday, Team Harmony set off on a twelve hour adventure to Shelbyville, Kentucky for the Icelandic World Ranking Show at Lettleiki Icelandics. Three riders, Guðmundur "Mummi" Skúlason, Dave Ferguson and Virginia Lauridsen, jack of all trades Kirby Antisdel, and five horses, Gosi frá Lambastödum, Koldimm frá Midasi, Vördur frá Hallkelsstadahlid, Lyfting frá Hallkelsstadahlid, and Bolti from Harmony Icelandics, made the trek. We were all upbeat and excited so time passed quickly.
Upon arrival at dusk, we settled the horses into their temporary home facing the track, front and center. Lettleiki is a GORGEOUS facility, with a stunning oval and pace tracks, lovely indoor arena, wash stall, shoeing area, outdoor paddocks, large gathering area and roomy show stalls. The horses were happy to eat some dinner and rest after the long journey. The humans headed out for yummy Mexican food in town - our last opportunity to relax for the next five days!
Thursday was a schooling day. We had the track from 1-5 p.m. and Mummi put us to work. He spared no mercy but horses and riders all rose to the challenge. We met fellow Icelandic lovers from all over the U.S; from Maine to Washington state. Kentucky is definitely a central location for Icelandic riders and it was fun to share our passion for the special creatures. Riding in a World Ranking show gives horse and rider combinations the opportunity to log scores into the global rankings. The U.S. sadly trails Europe in Icelandic numbers, but we are determined to close the gap!
The World Ranking Show is a three day competition, and each day is scored separately. We chose to use the first day as a "warm up" day, riding in lower level classes and learning the ropes. The rules police were out in force checking tack, shoes and whips. All riders and horses had to be checked after riding and disqualifications are not uncommon, so we wanted to make sure we were ready!
Day 1: Friday. Our "warm up" day. All of the horses were terrific, despite a few rider errors and technical problems. For instance, the leather pads on the horses were 1mm (yes, 1 millimeter!) too thick and had to be replaced during lunch! Mummi and Vördur took the win in Flying Pace and runner up in the Pace Test.
Day 2: Saturday. Our BIG day! Gosi and Virginia led the charge by qualifying for the V1 (Four Gait) final with a cumulative score of 5.87, putting them in second place. They next rode in T1 (highest Tölt class) and unfortunately had a short break into trot during speed changes. Still, they qualified in the fourth spot for the final round. Koldimm was a star in T2 (loose rein Tölt), never changing speed for a moment. Mummi and Vördur reversed their Friday scores, winning the Pace Test and clinching second in Flying Pace. The highlight of the day (and probably the entire weekend) was Dave and Lyfting winning the gold medal in Beginning rider Tölt! They were a perfect pair. As the oldest competitor, Dave was impressive to all - especially the judges.
Day 3: Sunday. It was a rainy one, but the show must go on! Once again, Gosi and Virginia were the first Harmony combo on the track in the V1 finals. They had an excellent round, but were edged out by Kathy Love and her stallion Pegasus (former World Championship competitors) for a strong second place finish.
The 2017 rendition of the World Ranking Show was a huge success for Harmony Icelandics...and it so fun! We can't wait to practice for the 2018 rendition!
2017 World Ranking Show: Harmony Icelandics Medal Count
T1: Highest Tölt Class • Gold medal to Virginia & Gosi
T2: Loose Rein Tölt Class • Gold medal to Virginia & Koldimm
PP1: Pace Test • Gold medal to Mummi & Vördur
P2: Flying Pace • Gold medal to Mummi & Vördur
Beginning Rider Tölt • Gold medal to Dave & Lyfting
V1: Highest 4-gait Class • Silver medal to Virginia & Gosi
3-gait • Silver medal to Dave & Lyfting