Åland is hosting the Nordic Championships (NC) for Icelandic horses
Nordic Championships for Icelandic horses alternate between the Nordic countries, and on 9 – 14 August 2022, Finland will host the event. Åland – with its ideal location in the Baltic Sea, with newly built tracks for Icelandic horses and a competition area with complete facilities, is one of the best competition arenas in Finland. The above-mentioned reasons are part of the reasons why NM 2022 will be held on Åland.
The competition is organized in collaboration between Álenskur Icelandic Horse Association, Åland Equestrian Association and the Finnish Icelandic Horse Association.
NC is normally held every two years. In 2020, the NC was planned to be held in Sweden but was canceled due to the pandemic. This means that it has now been four years since the NC was last held. The commitment for this summer’s NC is great and the neighboring countries are already forecasting an audience record.
The maximum number of participating horses is 246 and to this is added a number of a maximum of 60 reserve horses. The estimated actual number of participating horses is about 200. The horses are accompanied by about 200 riders and 200 grooms. In addition to this, the national team of each participating nation comes with its coaches and team members as well as family. The audience is estimated to be 3,000 – 5,000 in total.
During the event, the competitions are the main focus, but the event is also a large folk festival that brings together people from all over the Nordic region. NC is a family event that brings together women and men, girls and boys of all ages. In addition to the competitions, an opening ceremony, program during the breaks and evening events are arranged. At the competition area visitors will be offered a restaurant in Toto hall, food street with food carts and various stalls. There will also be a market street with sales stands where both Åland and foreign companies offer their product for sale.
Icelandic horse competitions are interesting also for people who are not Icelandic horse riders or owners. In short, in competitions for Icelandic horses performances of participants in the different classes are being scored. The Icelandic horse differs from other horses because they have two extra gaits; in addition to walk, trot and gallop, they also have tolt and pace. The focus in the different classes is thus to show the horse’s gaits and rideability in as correct and smooth way as possible.
On the oval track, the riders compete in sport and gaedinga competitions where the gaits are judged. In addition to the competition disciplines arranged on the oval track, more fast-paced pace competitions are also arranged; a kind of a speed race on a special track. Girls and boys, women and men compete on exactly the same conditions in the different classes and disciplines.