Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The waiting

February used to be the time of changes.
In the area I grew up, it was called Karneval - carni-vale - good-bye to meat, as the beginning of the pre-easterly fasting season, and in pagan times setting fire to the winter spirits and drive them out of the country. (On today's Karneval, however, people mostly pour spirits of high percentage - Schnaps and beer - into their heads and drive manners out of the country, that's why I don't miss Karneval)

Far away are we from this. Far away from driving out anything from anywhere.
The big snow melting had brought a fresh smell of spring into the air, had made birds, horses and men get a little shaky and nervous - but snow came back, covering every vivid feeling under its calming cold blanket.
And made you continue to patiently wait for sleeping beauty to wake up .......

We are spectators of a strange and silent dance: the exhausted land, tired from snow and cold and seeming to be not able to ever give life again - is kissed by the light, a daily growing miracle, that every now and then manages to set things on fire in an attempt to create joy in man.

February is the time of silence, kind of a dead month.
Nothing will happen so far - it's too far away from christmas to remember, and too far away from summer to look forward.
Good to have the kiss of light from time to time.

Few voices are around me to break the silence. Music. Beethoven's "Elise", preferably played at night. Rare brilliant guitar tunes from downstairs. Icelandic cradle-songs like a musical clock in my brain, sofdu ungan ástin min, úti regnid graetur .... The voices of my new project, solemn ones, and still in confusion ... The soft voice of my wonderful mare that tries to please me, to make me overcome fears, and follow dreams.

And his voice.
He's the only one that is talking and asking every day, as much as a horse can talk and ask, he spreads his bright mood and curiosity, he has spring in his eyes and makes you leave his place with joy in your heart - every single day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thorri - done

Lucky me - I was invited to a thorrablót-evening. :-)
As we were only two útlendingar in the whole building, I did'nt dare to take pictures of the buffet - instead went straight and brave with my dish and filled it with food.
No need to choose testicles and svíd, I tried it once and don't like it because of its strong taste and smell of mysa, the sour debris of milk. If you are not used to it, it will upset your guts.
So this was my first choice: sheephead and the famous hákarl. The sheephead has only very few meat, but delicious fine one, I don't mind the offered form *g*

My table-vis-á-vis though had severe problems and got really shaky ... ;-)


Second choice (I was really hungry) - sur hvalur (sour whale) and ... hákarl. The whale had to be, I never tasted whale (the grill-steak you can buy is too big for one person), so be it sour one ........ this is really disgusting, worse than testicals and as bad as svíd/aspic! I guess you can only eat it while you are drunk.
The hákarl/rotten shark however, is something delicious, as I do like very strong old cheese, and it tastes the same. They cut it into small cubes, so you forget what you are eating.
The orange mousse is rófur, some sweet beet, cooked with sugar ... one of the things you can live without °!° The rest is just potato, cold salads, sweet rugbraud and ... hangikjöt/smoked lamb, the meat I love the most in Iceland :-) Drinking traditional brennivin with the meal does not help, if you can't stand the food. It just helps to get drunk - in a fast way. So take care.


Funniest picture to me: you could not buy any alcohol in the house, so everybody came with a plastic-bag, filled with beer and whatever. After the meal there was some kind of theatre programm with jokes and songs about happy men and women *g* - lots of them were around us and immediatley started to dance and didn't stop - a big difference to Germany, where women like to dance and men never do unless they are forced to. The main problem is the same in both countries: you need someone to be with, otherwise you will sit alone and watch. Singles (in icelandic 'einhlaupari'-the one that runs alone, which was hard in the old times) are dangerous, so hands off. So I was home short after midnight, and dreamt about happy ... heads and ... stuff.


Happy were the men from boat Harald / they went on fishingtour from Akranes / and all of them came back / and no one died. /Happiness made all the women smile.

Life is simple. Just be happy to have your love back home, safe and sound, every single day. :-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gaedingafimi 2012

February - time of Meistaradeild, the icelandic master class of riding. Tonight we watched Gaedingafimi, a part of the championship I am not sure about name and purpose. It is no dressage-keppni as we know it.
Maybe some kind of proof of subtleness? A dance-proof?

Es ist Februar und wieder mal so weit: Meistaradeild, die Meisterklasse in Island, zeigt, was sie drauf hat. Heute abend fand das Gaedingafimi statt - jene Prüfung, wo ich noch um einen Namen mit mir ringe, denn eine Dressurprüfung ist es nicht. Vielleicht eher eine Abfrage der Rittigkeit, eine Art Tanzprüfung? Wie gut tanzen zwei zusammen?

Hammering rockmusic like ACDC for sure is not the right background for horses to work relaxed and dance under the rider. However, they showed 'kind-of'-dressage'-lessons in high speed, most of the horses nodding and kicking with their heads under strong sawing hands. The curb bits in use (most riders chose icelandic bits) revealed that modelling the head into a right form is not the way to subtleness, it would only show that focus lies on forehand action and not on the 'motor' in the back. Horses struggled against the pressure, with open mouths and waving tongues, the phenomenon 'contact on the bit' has no lobby as long as the show was fast and 'wow' enough. The audience is used to the showing-off-factor, and to fierce poney-faces, too. And looseness is definetively not what this keppni is about. Are we way too critical?

No. This year we were surprised how things are changing.
We not only saw a demonstration of exceptional genetic potential, we saw power and beauty - and riders, who stopped chasing their horses and started to ride them. Gudmundur Björgvinsson would never win a price for spectacularity, but his white horse moved content and loose and tried to dance with him. Sylvia Sigurbjörnsdóttir would win a price for her precise show in harmony with her horse, Aevar Örn and his black for showing sober fun together. He choose the right song: "Give me freedom, give me fire" ...
Unfortunately they all disappeared in the preliminarie round, as they were too slow and obviously too boring - on second place we found a mare that could but run with a stiff back and was stressed by her own extreme movements.

This crazy poor mare got most of the audiences' applause - the first price, however, went to Artemisia Bertus on Korgur frá Ingolfshvoli, one of the youngest horses in this championship (5 years).
Artemisia showed a well educated horse, calm but not boring, relaxed but awake, very young but trustfully on the bit, though she used an icelandic bit.
He was with her, he danced with her, happy with her choreography, starting in canter, then going over to trot and ending the performance in tölt without stress and without ever being boring. It was a choreography according to his young age, as the tölt was not perfect, but the rest loose, precise and happy - and maybe Artemisia got her high scores in gangtegund/gaits and flaedi/flow exactly for this.

I think I would have left the hall in protest, if Korgur and Artemisia hadn't won this competition.