Foal play in the North with the Icelandic Horse


A slightly different week has just flown by. In the great tradition of Producers disappearing off on jollies leaving the crew to get on with the real work, Andy went on holiday last week with his family…




(note from Andy – had a great time with whales in Husavik, horse riding in the mountains, did the Geysir, Hot springs, Gulfoss etc etc, but did get a bit stuck finding the only snow drift left on the roads here, had to reverse a mile downhill…in a whacking great camper van, nice)


Meanwhile, Ian and Neil started work on one of the main characters in the film, The Icelandic Horse.


It is that time of year when new life appears everywhere, birds are nesting, flowers budding and the rather unique Icelandic horses are giving birth.

Icelandic horses are interwoven with the landscape and history of Iceland and the people are passionate about them. They are the only breed of horse allowed in Iceland and if a horse is exported, its not allowed back, all to preserve the bloodline of this horse thats been here since Viking times.


Some of these cute little fellas are friendly, perhaps a little too friendly at times! which can make filming them almost impossible. For some reason they love the front element of a telephoto lens. We use a canon 200-400 F4 on our F55 and most of the horses love to stick their faces into it. They also love to creep up behind you and nudge your arm for attention, which ruins your shot! this has happened so many times. The first 5 were funny,  the other 347 less so…to say the least.


Luckily for us, there was only one trouble maker and the rest of the herd were very wild horses, which meant we had to make friends with them to get close to the new born foals, Ian thinks he has become the new horse whisperer!

The first day in the mountains with the horses was tough, soon as the horses spotted Ian and Neil carrying a massive camera and tripod they moved further and further away and quickly disappeared over the horizon. Errrrrrm plan B.

The old fashioned way….bit by bit and slowly, slowly catchy monkey (horse) over the course of a week we finally gained their trust and they allowed us to to film the very cute, clumsy and beautiful foals up close. one little fella in particular has become quite a star, more on him throughout the year.


These horses are not riding horses or trained by man in the sense that we are familiar with horses in the UK or US. They are wild horses and when they have new born foals they are nervous and very wary of people. When the horses are getting ready to give birth they leave the main herd for a few days, find somewhere quiet and out the way to birth, then slowly head back to the herd.

We stayed on Brimnes farm with our friend, a true legend and “King of the round-up” Halador, along with his son in law Snorri (named after one of the most famous vikings of old). They told us these wild horses would be tricky to film, especially the youngsters, and tricky it was, but very rewarding. Halador and Snorri are great guys, old and new generation Icelanders, both passionate about horses, farming and snuff. They insisted we have a little try of the old stuff! a few coughs and splutters followed by watering eyes was very funny. Apparently Ian and Neil are good at sniffing snuff and Snorri and Halador were suitably impressed with our individual techniques.


The shoot was brilliant, seeing the foals born into the wild, take their first steps, their first milk,  with no human intervention or contact was pretty cool. We will follow the guys and horses later in the year when the big horse round-up happens in September which is going to be awesome. We will cover that event in much more detail closer to the time.

Heading off to meet Thor today, he’s on a little island in the Westfjords  getting ready for Eider time, raising chicks and gathering down from the nests. Promises to be be very cool, mind you stuff with Thor generally turns out pretty cool



Editors note – the use of snuff in this blog is entirely fictionalised, we are not making a snuff movie







4 thoughts on “Foal play in the North with the Icelandic Horse

  1. pureiceland1

    Oh – that was you?! We were there too but in our huge blue high axle bus labelled Trex and with the reg plate HOPO. Fab whale watching today 🙂 Trex Geography (Tony)

    Sent from my iPad


  2. David Gelsthorpe

    Some stunning pictures. We’re back in Iceland in August to collect some rocks for Manchester Museum. Can’t wait to see the north.


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