Probably not many people have missed, that Johann Runar Skulason brought the nine year old Finnbogi frá Minni-Reykjum with him to this years Icehorse Festival.
They are in the lead in th V1 and also managed to ride in first place in the T1 with 8,77 points. It looks super easy when you stand on the side of the track and watch the two, so the obvious question is, if it actually is easy for Johann to ride Finnbogi on the track.
But the question can’t be answered as easily as you might think.
“Finnbogi is easy to ride. Generally said – everybody can ride him. But what we are trying right now is to really ride a slow tempo tölt with strong wide movements, and that is really hard for both horse and rider and demands a lot of concentration. So the horse is easy to ride, but the different parts of the excercises are hard for him.” Johann explains after is ride on Saturday.
Johann and his girlfriend Stina Larsen have both ridden Finnbogi over the last two years and won titels like the Nordic Championships, and they are improving all the time.
“What makes Finnbogi good, but also is his weakness, is his long stride length . Therefore he has to be really strong in his to be able to carry his big steps. If he would only take half as long steps it would be a lot easier, but than he also would not be as good.” Johann, who bought Finnbogi already as a foal, tells.
“And now he is nine and nearly a family horse.” he says.
Nonetheless Johann would -maybe – consider to sell him … unless his 6 year old son would like to start to ride. Than Finnbogi would stay in the stable as his sons competition horse.
“Sadly he is just not interested in horses, but we are trying to convince him” Johann tells.
When you have been sitting in the audience in the Equsana Arena and followed Johann’s ride, you can pat yourself on the back. Because the experienced competition rider, who likes some applause during the fast tölt, does have some praise for the audience at Icehorse Festival. In the slow tölt on the other hand, he likes the audience to be calmer, which the audience apperently knew.
“It is really nice, that they show the respect not to clap during the slow tempo. But of course they can show their enthusiasm, when you stop, turn around and show the fast tempo tölt. The hardest part, in my opinion is the slow tempo.” Johann tells.
After that he explains, why he chose to ride his presentations in V1 and T1 to rather calm songs: Egill Ólafssons version of the song Ísland and an atmospheric version of “The sound of Silence”.
“I think the two songs fit the horse and somehow they became a part of my presentation. I get used to riding to a certain song, we are listening to it in the car, and they are just two songs I really like. For example in the slow tempo tölt it is really nice when the song starts out slowly and it is really silent in the hall. That way I can focus on communicating with my horse.” we can here from Johann, while Finnbogi stand in his box in hall Q, begging for some attention – or maybe a little treat.
“I notice, the louder it is in the hall, the harder it is to actually communicate with my horse. So this is also a reason why I chose these songs. We try to just be in our own little bubble.” Johann Skulason explains, whose goal for this season is among others to be selected for the world championships this year.
Later today Johann rode another presentation on Thor-Steinn fra Kjartansstöðum (7,87). A horse with great potential, who sadly had some serious problems with constipation. Thor-Steinn has completely recovered, but the damage had already happend, and his training had to be paused for a while.
That’s why the goal for now is to give him some experience in the oval track, Johann tells.