First out in our breeding series is one of Icelands most wellknown and successful breeders, Gunnar Arnason, Kristbjörg “Krissa” Eyvindsdóttir and their children Þórdís and Hrannar at the farm Auðholtshjáleiga (maybe not so easy to pronounce but something like Udholtshjalega, and with the “U” pronounced as in Surf and turf). The farm is located in the south of Iceland, close to Selfoss and the family has bred horses there since 1995.
Throughout the years they have bred over hundred first prize horses and six horses from Auðholtshjáleiga have gotten honorary prize. Gunnar and “Krissa” have been selected as “Breeder of the year” a stunning six times.
In Sweden, Toppur frá Auðholtshjáleiga (f. Álfasteinn frá Selfossi m. Trú frá Auðholtshjáleigu mf. Orri frá Þúfu) has been extremely successfull on the oval track and is evaluated to 8.49 in total.
Kristbjörg tells us that they still havent´t decided all the stallions that they will use this year. They keep track of new promising stallions and think very carefully about which stallion that fits each individual mare. But two stallions are already on the list.
These are Hljómur frá Auðholtshjáleiga (f.Organisti frá Horni m. Tíbrá frá Auðholthjáleigu mf. Gári frá Auðholtshjáleigu) and Hannibal frá Þúfum (f. Störnustæll frá Dalvík m. Grýla frá Þúfum mf. Álfur frá Selfossi).
Hljómur frá Auðholtshjáleigu, bred on the farm, is a four-gaited stallion that got a fantastic breeding score as a four year old last year. The family is planning to show him again this summer.
Hannibal has a fantastic breeding assesment as a four-gaiter, in total 8.69, with only 9.5s and 9s. He has 9.5 for tölt, canter, slow tempo canter, rideability and general impression. And he also has 8.68 for his conformation.
Gunnar and Krissa are looking for characteristics that are unique and stand out. The stallions should have charisma and the gaits should be well separated. A really good temperament is also an important trait.
The legendary stallion Orri frá Þúfu has a big impact on the Auðholtshjáleiga breeding. Many of their most eminent horses has Orri blood behind them. He has given a good tölt, good temperament, radiance and a good amount of mane and tail. You can also find Ófeigur frá Flugumýri and Hrafn frá Holtsmúla in Auðholtshjáleiga’s breeding lines.
Right now there are twentyone 1:st class horses, mares as well as stallions. And at Auðholtshjáleiga they know their breeding mares well.
– To know them is extremely important so that we can decide what stallions are the best for them, says Krissa.
She continues to tell us that it always is exciting to see what they young breeding mares do for their breeding plans and what offspring they get.
– We try to study their offspring very carefully and the next time we choose the stallion after what we found.
At the farm there are 10 breeding mares and all have a first prize assesment or an honorary prize and 10-12 foals are born each year.
– It is very important that the horses you breed from show good quality and are rideable already from an early age, says Þórdís Erla.
As an answer to the maybe slightly tricky question of what is the most important part of breeding, Krissa answers that one should look at ones horses with realistic eyes, and not think that a horse is better than it is. And then you have to add work, care, time and perseverence and hopefully you will get a good result.