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A woman I know has an Icelandic she says is "autistic". Says it's sensitive and CAN'T be touched because it "goes away" in the head, she means. She told me some story that the Icelanders eat about half of the horses there because they are nuts. Her horse, she tells me, will just bolt for no reason, and will not take any sacking out to modify it's behavior because it's so off.

This seems really outlandish to me, but I don't know much about the breed. Is being mentally off a problems with these animals? I don't know if it's the horse or her that is mentally off.

I know there are lots of people that own them on this site- any comments?
 

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I've never owned one, but that one sounds very unusual for an Icelandic.

Normally they spook much less than other horses and are very level-headed and smart. People in Iceland probably used to eat them in the past in harsh winters, but not anymore as far as I know. Those horses are very beloved in Iceland and are in fact the only horses in Iceland because Icelandic law doesn't allow animals from outside the country to come into the country, in order to keep diseases out.
 

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Seems to me I recall hearing that there's 2 different types of Icelandic horses in Iceland, the one type is for riding, the other is for meat. But I have not heard anything about them being nuts. There's 2 out at the farm where I board my horses.
 

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One of my best friends grand daughters have Icelandic horses that they use for and show in pony club. They do very well, including the national show last summer. Their ponies are sane and great kids horses. I think they have six or eight, all have great dispositions.
 

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A woman I know has an Icelandic she says is "autistic". Says it's sensitive and CAN'T be touched because it "goes away" in the head, she means. She told me some story that the Icelanders eat about half of the horses there because they are nuts. Her horse, she tells me, will just bolt for no reason, and will not take any sacking out to modify it's behavior because it's so off.

This seems really outlandish to me, but I don't know much about the breed. Is being mentally off a problems with these animals? I don't know if it's the horse or her that is mentally off.

I know there are lots of people that own them on this site- any comments?
It's the woman.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the comments- especially wyld thang= that's kind of what I thought. If you have a problem horse is one thing, but if all of them are, it's the rider. I have ridden with her twice, and the one she rides kicks and has a nasty disposition too.
 

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I'm sure Bergere will chime in on this thread, and she has way more experience with Icelandics than I do. I own one, and have ridden a few more.

No, I'm pretty sure Icelanders don't eat half of their horses. They do eat some - when your culture goes back 1100 years and your ancestors had to survive in a harsh environment, everything that was edible was eaten. And then there are some things they eat which most people wouldn't consider edible, like fermented shark... but back to the horses...

My Icelandic is "sensitive." He is not like most Icelandics I've met which are fairly steady. He takes a long time to trust people, and his default setting in a tense situation is to flee. I've had him for a year and a half, roughly, and even today if I make an unexpected sudden movement, he will jump away. Of course, now he only goes about 3 feet, whereas when I first got him he wouldn't even let me touch him and would go as far away as the fence would allow. There are individuals (like in any breed) that more reactive. I don't know about autistic - I think this woman probably has no idea how to handle her sensitive Icelandic and is likely making him worse.

I don't think you want to "sack out" a sensitive Icelandic like you would another breed. They need to trust you first, and if they don't even want you to touch them, you need to work on gaining trust, keeping your energy low, and working slowly.

In some ways Icelandics in general need you to work with them more like you would work with a mule or donkey. It doesn't sound like this lady has any idea, and hopefully she will sell the horse to someone who knows what they are doing.
 

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Yes, any horse that would harm a human in Iceland would become Sunday dinner.

OK... there are two types of Icelandic's out there.

The Grandma horses, everyone wants...

And the high strung, you really gotta know how to handle those kinds of Icelandics.

Sounds like your friend needs to find someone that knows the mindset of these kinds of horses... they are a lot of work and not for everyone.

Dyfra was one such Icelandic. Super, super sensitive...over reactive.. explosive even, when I first got her.

Biggest thing with these Icelandics.. you HAVE to know what you are doing.
2nd... you need to EARN their trust. If they don't trust you in total, you are not going to get any where.

You can't do the same things with Icelandic's as you would do with other breeds. They are smart like donkeys and mules.
Normally showing them something once, letting them think on it.. is all they need to learn.
Force sacking out is just going to get explosions.

You need to go slow, very slow.. take baby steps.. in training. It will take you years to get to the point of having a safe riding horse.

Where did she get this Icelandic? There have been many large puppy mill type dumps with Icelandic Horses on the West coast the last few years.

Dyfra took years of training, but I know what I was doing.
She is now a excellent trail/back country riding horse. Totally trust her and she totally trusts me.
She will however, never have the mind set for shows, specially indoor shows. This is fine to me.. I only have interest in a well trained back country horse.

Have your friend PM me at [email protected] see what I can do to help or get her in touch with local Icelandic Horse people I know would be able to help.

Have been working off and on, and owning the super sensitive Icelandics for little over 25 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the comments- she is kind of touchy about her horses, but I will ask her if she would like some help, thanks bergere
 

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You are welcome.

See if you can find a way to point your friend into the direction of TTouch and TTeam method of training. Find a clinic in her area.
These methods can work wonders for over reactive Icelandics.
 
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