We are excited to announce that the IHSGB Summer Festival was reported by Isibless!
See below for the full Isibless article.
IHSGB summer festival: Innovative sports action in GB!
by Paul Delb
Photo by Mike Adams
The Icelandic horse society of Great Britain, which was founded in 1986 and has brought out several WC medal winners, held their annual summer festival last weekend. Due to restrictions it was held under somewhat difficult circumstances, but that didn`t stop the British Icelandic horse enthusiasts. In the following, Karen Smith, the communications manager and Mike Adams, a successful WC competitor and the sports manager have told us more about the organization of this ambitious project:
In the early part of 2020 discussions about the venue for the British Championships (BCs) were under way. An ambitious plan was made to hold the BCs at a commercial venue allowing ease of access to many and encourage spectators to attend so they could enjoy watching the Icelandic horse and rider combinations demonstrating their different gaits. It was the first time we had used a “Super Arena” at a commercial equestrian centre. Aston-le -Walls is a renowned centre of excellence for eventing, jumping and dressage.
They made us feel very welcome and were amazed to see their huge jumping arena transformed into a 6-metre-wide, 250 metres long, International standard Icelandic Horse competition track. It took about 2 hours for a muscle-bound Kiwi (Andrew), 2 highly qualified scientists (Freija and Torben) and a gofer (Mike) and a replacement gofer (Jemimah) to create a track that could have hosted a top-quality competition anywhere. Our vision was that this may encourage further interest in the Icelandic horse amongst the wider equestrian community. As we are all aware by March the world had changed and our sport portfolio, led by Mike Adams, were determined to find a way to deliver a COVID safe BCs despite the ever changing challenges and complexities that presented themselves.
For the first time, our tireless volunteers: Sarah, Jan and Linnie catered for folk under strict Covid rules in the Pavilion, serving top quality food from 7.30 in the morning until 8 in the evening. They not only fed us but kept up a lively cabaret of quips and jibes that made the Pavilion a very happy place to be. One benefit for the catering team was that they could watch the whole competition in comfort from their ring side vantage point.We had to make things safe and easy for the competitors so we had another lot of firsts. Entering was made easy and for the first time, the entry fee covered as many tests as the rider was allowed to enter. Also, for the first time, riders were allowed to enter any test, for example you could do T7 and T8 or V1 and V5 which meant that riders had more rides and more opportunities. Like this we tried to give the audience and the participants a great competition experience, while also adhering to pandemic rules. The team worked tirelessly to comply with the ever changing rules and regulations and were supported by so many members volunteering to help make this vision a reality. Their determination and positive problem solving approach was admirable, and they pushed further into the society`s needs by including the member’s exam of the Judge Training Program too. The competition was attended by many combinations and 4 persons took the live practical third part of the regional judges examination delivered by Fi Pugh, who has worked tirelessly to deliver the judge training initiative (and rode and judged at the event too). GB is a small but mighty member of FEIF, with only 1000 Icelandic Horses, a determined Membership who travel far to enjoy what their horse has to offer, and a core of riders who aspire to qualify for the World Championships.
Our field of participants was made up of first timers as well as experienced WC medalists, which made it a competition that was exciting to follow. The fivegait was won by Mike Adams, riding his experienced gelding Kafteinn frá Kommu. The gold medal in T1 was taken by Jemimah Adams with her young stallion Kolbeinn frá Efri-Raudalaek, who also won the T2 and V1 with Skirnir frá Skipaskaga. The complete results can be found on Icetestng.
Isibless thanks Karen Smith and Mike Adams for their interesting story and Michelle Rushen for the pictures. It is truly amazing to see how much effort and planning is needed to organize a competition and with how much enthusiasm the team of IHSGB took up the challenge!