I first saw Gautrekur in the summer of 2009 at Suðurlandsmót. This charismatic brown horse immediately caught my eyes in the four-gait competition. I knew right away that I had to get to know this horse better.
Gautrekurs owners entrusted me with the horse and I started training him right away to be my future competition horse.
We went through great things together. Both of us had much to learn. We were fortunate enough to get help from many great people who made it possible for us to reach our goals.
To begin with we focused on building him up as a better competition horse. We trained his gaits by focusing on him using his body correctly. Mainly through exercises like short gate changes only in working tempo.
We put an effort into ensuring the best foundations possible for future training.
Our efforts started paying off as early as 2010, and Gautrekur and I became the triple champions on the Icelandic champions in youth category. We got first prize for four-gait, tölt and combined four-gait.
It was at this moment I realized that aiming to compete at the World Championship in 2011 was a realistic goal. With some help it all came together. Our bond became stronger as both rider and horse developed.
By the end of first round on Gullmót 2011 we had already guaranteed our ticket to the Icelandic Horse World Championship 2011 in Austria.
The following 6 weeks we used to develop the horse further with great help from my trainer Anton Páll Nielsson. It’s my belief that these last weeks played a crucial part in our success.
Time passed quickly and soon it was our last day together in Iceland, the last time I put Gautrekur out in his private field at home. Our bond had grown so strong over the past two years, my mind was racing. Was I making a mistake? Was it perhaps not worth it to go? After a calming talk with my mother she had me convinced that Gautrekur would find a good and trusting home outside of Iceland.
When I arrived in Austria, Gautrekur had already been there for a few days. Seeing him again felt great, I was determined to make the most of the time I had left with my trusted friend. I kept a low profile in Austria and held fast on to my plans. We kept on training, this time with the help of Einar Öder, trainer of the Icelandic team. Einar knew how we had laid our plan out and put his trust in us and our strong bond. I didn‘t push Gautrekur hard for the first days and our training was low tempoed, to such an extent people started to notice. Three days before the competition started we took one training session at full pace, showing what we were really capable of. By then I knew we were as ready as we could ever be.
Our first competition was tölt, during which it rained more than I had ever seen. During the warm-up session I felt that we were not as strong as before, this wasn’t our best day. Nevertheless we tried our best, to little avail, even though tölt had been one of our strongest gaits. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it simply didn’t work out that day. I kept my spirits high and decided not to let this be an indication of what to expect. We would rise and show what we were made of, no matter what.
It’s the day of the four-gait competition, it’s bright and beautiful. I had a good feeling, I was confident this was our day. The warm-up session went well and I was optimistic. As I entered the collection ring, I realize my gloves have become soaked with sweat. I couldn’t hold onto the rein anymore. My boyfriend Eiríkur was sent on a record breaking bike trip to find another pair of gloves. Moments before it’s my turn he comes back totally exhausted with a pair of gloves he borrowed from fellow Icelander, Hulda Gústafs. I was ready.
We did great, our efforts paid off and I finished on top in Young Riders four-gait. I was then 12th in combined results. I was celebrated as world champion in four-gait, rather too early. Due to other contestants resigning from competition I was now in B-finals. A german girl in young riders also made it into the B-finals, making sure the title was far from mine yet.
The thought of winning the title never really crossed my mind, I was stoked to be able to compete in such a big event, the largest finals I had ever taken part in.
It’s the day of the finals. Slow tölt went as good as possible and we are on the top. We did good in trot as well. When it came to walk, Gautrekur grew restless, and I can’t blame him, the noise and distraction from the audience was unbelievable. I had expected us to receive a 7, but due to this we only received 6.
By then the german girl had surpassed us and now it was down to all or nothing, we had to give it all we got. Galloping went well, we were making our way back. When the fast tölt started I saw her in the corner. As we went on I prepared the horse well, I knew if we would give it our best she was no match for us.
I was right, we left her in the dust at the first turn. Gautrekur put on a performance I had never witnessed in a horse before. This was one of the most amazing moments of my life. The results were the highest grade awarded for fast tölt that year, and I knew that I was now the young riders world champion in four gait.
The finals took part on Saturday and while celebrating our success, the fact that Gautrekur had not yet been sold bothered me a great deal. Not knowing where his future home would be, I tried to keep myself together and hope for the best. Come Sunday morning, I showed him to an adorable german family looking for a competition horse. From the moment I met them I hoped they would fall for Gautrekur as I did. It all worked out and I knew Gautrekur had found a great new home. I spent an evening filled with tears saying goodbye. Early next morning Gautrekur moved to a new home with a loving and caring family.