A tribute to Nick Foot, Oakfield Farm Icelandic Horses

The Icelandic Horse Society GB is truly saddened of the deaths of Nick Foot and Judith Darmady.

In the past Judith was our Breeding Leader and our members have expressed their sadness at her passing.

Nick has been an integral influence in how Icelandic Horses have dispersed across the UK and into the hearts and minds of many of us. We wish to pay tribute to his generosity in helping to establish the Icelandic Horse here in the UK, and his commitment to those who loved and rode them.

The fact that we have a vibrant Icelandic Horse community in Britain is in no small part due to Nick and therefore many of us will have been shocked and saddened by his death in the early hours of Wednesday. These are truly difficult times and our heartfelt sympathy goes to Mo and Nick’s close friends as they face their grief and the necessities of the coming days.

His involvement and influence in our breed goes back to the eighties when he and Mic were one of the first to import horses from Iceland to their smallholding near Hurn Airport and to bring Icelanders to teach new horse owners how to ride these energetic tölting animals. The move to Oakfield in the mid-nineties however, started a new tradition of regular social, educational and sports gatherings that are an important part of our events calendar and enjoyed by so many.

Memories of Nick will be of his infectious enthusiasm for the breed and his kindness and generosity to everyone he came in contact with. Anyone who found themselves in a problem with their horse or their tack or wanted to understand what was going to happen at a competition, would be met with a smile and his softly spoken assurances that everything could be fixed – and he would fix it right down to nailing a shoe back on or completely changing his show schedule to fit something in.

His own riding career spanned the spectrum of being a part of the British Team at the World Championships, charging across Viking battle scenes, and inventing outrageous illuminated fancy dress outfits – in fact anything to enjoy his horses.

There have been some significant people in the British Icelandic Horse scene and Nick will always be a very real presence and a treasured memory. As the folksy, fluted music fades, we will hear his voice say “Okay riders, return to walk. Now please show Tölt, please show Tölt”

Bless you Nick.