Come, sing and dance with us

Author: Elisabeth Hilsdorf

Helgi Björns inspires the audience with his performances: Helgi, you are an actor, singer and breed Icelandic horses yourself. What inspired you for the latter?

My daughter rode regularly in competitions. In 2011, I bought her a very good mare. Unfortunately, the mare got injured and was not allowed to compete. So we started to breed with her under the name frá Skálabrekku Eystri.

What does this name mean?

My wife comes from the Skálabrekka region, we have some land there. It is located directly on Þingvallavatn, the big lake west of Reykjavik.

In your song „Lover of the Wild“ do you talk to a horse or a woman?

You can understand it both ways. But actually, I meant the wild as a whole. You ride, to find someone you love, to find someone you desire, or you want to show someone the wilderness of the Icelandic plateau - the interpretation is up to you!

How would you classify your music?

In the 35 years of my career I pursued so many different projects and types of music. Mostly it‘s pop/rock, but I‘ve also tried swing, blues, country and more. But one thing is for sure: most of the songs I did with the Reiðmenn Vindanna are great for riding!

You were one of the owners of the Admiralspalast in Berlin. Do you still have bonds with this city?

Yes, I still rent an apartment in Schöneberg, I like this area very much! There are still real Berliners around.

You will be up twice at the WM2019 - Friday and Saturday. What can we expect?

On both evenings I will perform with Salka Sól and Magni Ásgeirsson - with my own songs as well as classic ones, a good mixture of Icelandic and other music.

How do you create this good atmosphere?

If I tell you, it‘s no secret anymore!

Does being an actor help you?

I have very different approaches in my professions. Most of it is surely based on experience. “Party” comes from „to participate“, and that is very important to me in my shows. I want a close connection between stage and audience. Come and dance and sing with us, be part of the atmosphere!

Thank you very much for this interview!

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Cheers to friendship

Author: Iris Jonsdottir

You may have noticed that there are quite a lot of Icelandic spectators in the stands. So chances are that you will be clinking glasses with an Icelander, at least a couple of times during the world championship. Here‘s a couple of pointers for what you can do to make great friends:

* If it sounds as if the Icelander says “Go and die”, you don‘t have to be afraid. He‘s only greeting you with a “Good day”.

** Whatever you do, don’t refer to the Icelandic horse as a pony. This will most likely the most annoying thing for them to hear. Icelandic horses are one of the oldest purebreds in the world and have belonged to Iceland ever since the Vikings set foot on the island.

*** Always bring a bottle of “Black Death” ... you will see, why.

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Pace Race explained

In the “supreme discipline“ two riders race each other.

Author: Nora Benz

In addition to Tölt, the Icelandic horse can be tested in Pace competitions. It is a two-beat gait during which both legs on one side of the horse simultaneously touch the ground. Ridden at high velocities, in Flying Pace, at one interval all four hooves of the horse are suspended off the ground.

Riding at a Flying Pace is considered the crown of horsemanship. In this gait, the Islandic horse can reach speeds of up to 50km/h or 30mph.

While during most competitions, the quality of the ridden gaits is important - as is the case in the Pace test - what matters in the Pace race is speed. So, the judges determine the fastest ridden times out of all valid heats.

Two competitors oppose one another directly and create the very special feeling of a classic derby, as the riders commence their heat from a standing position in start boxes. In contrast to the Flying Pace discipline, every participant may go up to four heats. For the first heat the starting order is determined by chance. Then, the competitors start according to the times they achieved, which makes each race more exciting.

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