Over the weekend of 30-2. April the IceHorse Festival was held in Herning in Denmark. There was a huge turnout for the tournament, or a total of 3,000 tickets were sold.
A tight schedule was run from morning to night every day and you could see dozens of great horses and riders. In the top fight were both imported horses mixed with horses that were bred outside of Iceland. Among the first group were horses like Arthúr frá Baldurshaga, Viðar frá Skör, Taktur frá Vakurstöðum, Kveikur frá Stangarlæk, Flaumur frá Sólvangi og Fenrir frá Feti. In the second group Evert fra Slippen, Hæmir fra Hyldbæk, Gustur vom Kronshof, Abel fra Tyrevoldsdal og Muni fra Bendstrup who attracted the most attention.
The tournament was held inside the MCH Arena, which is one of the many event halls in the area. The foundation of the arena has a concrete floor, but an oval track was created inside on the concrete just by bringing in material by the ton. Mixed opinions were on what it was like to ride on the track, but some said it was very good, while others found it heavy. On either side of the long sides there were stands that could accommodate 2500 people, and on the other short side there was a huge area full of sales and exhibition stands. Among them was the booth of the HorseDay app, which was one of the sponsors of the tournament. The HorseDay staff attended the festival after driving up from Germany where they were on a promotional tour. Oddur Ólafsson, founder and CEO of HorseDay, signed an agreement with IPZV for a future cooperation and held a presentation to the visitors of the convention about the functionality of the app as well as meeting the users. Other interesting stands included Öllöv horse shoes, horse transportation trucks and the Equsana candy bar, which was a real hit.
The tournament itself was packed with activities and attendees had a lot to choose from. Oddur Ólafsson, CEO of HorseDay, gave a lecture where he reviewed the history of the app and everything it has to offer. After the lecture, there formed a fun and interesting discussion where the audience asked questions and made suggestions for future features within the app.
What stood out from the festival, apart from the great selection of horses, was the overall management and organization of the tournament. It was extremely nice to see the sport raised to another level with effort, organization and professionalism. The schedule was tight and well planned, the facility was extraordinary and it was so great to see such a large number of people come together and celebrate the Icelandic horse and our sport. Professionalism on the part of riders and staff was evident and everything at least seemed to be perfect. In order to be able to hold a tournament of this magnitude, a lot of organization is needed and for example the registration deadline expired three months before the tournament, according to the competitors. Funding is also a basic requirement for a tournament like this, and the IceHorse Festival was quite an expensive tournament for both riders and spectators.
Over all, IceHorse was truly fun and a great experience. For us Icelanders, the festival opened our eyes to what can be done with the right amount of will and planning. The area offered closeness and a chance for people to mingle with one other which created a unique atmosphere.
Of all the people who attended the festival, many paid us a visit at the HorseDay booth, both active users and other interested parties. It was very pleasant and informative to talk to guests and this trip was invaluable to us in getting to know the users and the Icelandic horse society better.