This was my second trip to Iceland. Returning with one of my daughters so that I could spend time with the horses amongst other things. As a surprise she had booked us into an Air B&B on a horse farm called ARABAER. We stayed in a converted barn which was amazingly comfortable and well appointed. Having three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and bathroom. Louise, originally from Scotland had married an Icelander and they had bought the farm 10 years ago. They are raising four children and horses. It was amazing. We arrived late in the evening but it seemed like late afternoon because the sun goes down somewhat in the early morning, then pops up again a little later as long as the weather is good. Louise met us at the car as she was on the way to check the new five day old foal in the barn.
This was quite the story. The foal was born in the field. When it was found, it had been kidnapped by another horse. I guess she fancied being a mother without the hard work of producing it. When Louise tried to return the foal to the real mother, the mother was so stressed out, that she kicked the baby off and would not nurse it. Abandoning her baby. Neighbours in Iceland really help each other out. Louise was given a mother who had lost her baby. They covered the foal who needed a mother in the dead foal’s scent and he was accepted gradually. For the first day or two Louise milked the mother and poured the milk down the foal’s throat. Gradually the quantity of milk lessoned as she milked her. Now it was obvious that the foal was truly nursing and was getting enough milk to thrive. The foal was very dirty, but he had to remain like that for a while in case the new mother rejected him. They need time to really get established.
The next morning I went into the barn to spend more time with the mother and her foal and the other horses who were in the barn eating their hay.
My daughter joined me and it was a great experience. When the surrogate mother has another foal next year, the foal will go with her until he is weaned then he will be returned to Louise.
I was taking photos of some of the other horses in the barn and one kept nudging my arm if I was not paying attention to her. So cute.
The horses seemed to be losing their thick winter coats.
We went outside to see two horses in the field outside. We were joined by the family dog. The brown horse was 26 years old and the white one was four years old. The white one was on the slim side so they were leaving it in the field for 12 hours a day so she could eat the grass and fill out a bit.
On our way again we came upon some more beautiful horses. We just had to stop and take a look.
They were as interested in us, as we were in them. They came to the fence to greet us.
We were enthralled by the light brown horse on the left who looked like she had been to the beauty parlour for blond highlights.
Iceland is magical. These horses are just gorgeous and so good natured. They keep the breed very pure. If a horse is exported, it can never return to Iceland.