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Too fast for...

Icelandic horses are not only versatile, they are also fast. In Flying Pace and over short distances, an Icelandic horse can reach velocities of more than 50km/h or 30mph. The world record over 100 metres is at 6.95 seconds, which equals 51.8km/h (32,2mph). It was set by Carina Mayerhofer with Frami of St. Oswald at the Central European Championship 2012.

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The right moment breaks the record

World Champion-2017 in Pace race P1 Markus Albrecht-Schoch about Pace.

Author: Viktoriia Vinokurova

To be the best in pace, your back must always be fit, your posture - just right. You must have control over your legs. Did you just think of a rider? No, we're talking about the horse!

Markus Albrecht-Schach became the World Champion in Pace racing in 2017. He knows that being a good rider means “having a brilliant horse and being able to understand it“. For Markus, pace is more about the horse than about the rider. Experience taught him what horses and riders need in order to win: teamwork and trust! And as with every successful team, it is helpful when the chemistry is right. “That‘s why you have to treat your horse with respect,“ says Schoch. Patience is the key to success in pace riding and even more in pace racing. Our four-footed partners can be difficult, but the right horse will be reliable, when it's needed.

“When you can rely on your horse when you need it most, that is the moment when patience and commitment pay off,“ says Schoch. He and his horse Kóngur frá Lækjamóti have a very special connection. Markus prefers to wait for the right moment, because “the right moment breaks the record“.

“Learn to listen and react,“ - he recommends to the riders. By the end of the day “it‘s not just about a brilliant rider, but also about a brilliant horse. There are horses that can make their riders famous.“

The champion spends a lot of time with horses. He believes that if you really get to know the nature of Icelandic horses, you will understand what they are capable of. Pace racing fascinates him because it is the only competition that can be evaluated objectively.

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Inspiring the youth

The young rider is aspired to put Slovenia on the map.

Author: Viktoriia Vinokurova

„I wanna go riding, I wanna go riding!” – were the words of young Nina Vršec, when deciding on the plans for the family weekend 12 years ago. And now, the 23 years old rider is here, on the World Championship 2019. Her goal? “The competition is a way to see what you’ve achieved and how you can become better”, Nina Vršec says.

Is it a lot of pressure to be the one representing the whole country?

In Slovenia we don’t have infrastructure, and trainers who have sufficient knowledge about Icelandic horses and what this breed can do. So I am amazed being here, in fact, I receive more support here, than in my own country, which is both funny and sad.

If you had resources, what would you plan for bringing the icelandic horse on track in Slovenia?

I would buy a huge place and bring trainers who are able to educate young riders about Icelandic horses. I have started my project by setting up the website: isislovenia.com. It’s an educational blog, as well as an instrument to help those, who want to compete, but experience various difficulties like getting a horse, registration, etc. They can simply text or call me and I will try to do my best to provide them with what they need.

Did you bring your own horse?

No, I borrowed one and rode her for the first time last Tuesday. She is a diamond: so responsive, and so calm. Sometimes horses jump around, and she just stands there like: “Can I have a treat?”. (laughing)

You say there is a lack of trainers in Slovenia. How did you overcome this obstacle?

I went to Austria a lot to train there. And when at some point I could not travel that often anymore because of school, I started riding on my own and I realized: if you want to learn, you absolutely have to ride on your own. You have to learn to trust yourself.

But how do you learn about what you do wrong?

I've participated in around 40 competitions – just for the sake of training. And after the test I went to see what judges wrote to find out what I have to work on.

What do you think about competitors?

I have met my idols here. But I feel like now everybody expects them to win, and maybe if a small country like Slovenia, Italy or Australia won, it would shake things up a little. Miracles can happen, you know.

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