The way to the top was by no means straightforward, as some might suspect. Vera had to learn a lot on the way. Here she reports about it for the first time in an open and amazingly self-critical review.
Becoming a German champion as a teenager is an overwhelming experience, Vera recalls. In addition to the success one enjoys, the congratulations and honours, there is also a certain mood at this age: One thinks that it always goes on in such a way, that there are no limits. Frosti and I could no longer be stopped, I was completely convinced of that. It is very bitter when you have to realize that this is not the case.
The fall from the podium was not long in coming. Frosti couldn’t keep his pace at high speed, let alone increase it, and I had to realize that the times when we were fighting for victory in tölt tests were finally over.
I was devastated! I had such big plans and Frosti seemed to be the right partner until then. What should I do? Sell him? Put off my tournament ambitions with him and just ride him leisurely?
But I wasn’t the type for it. And whether it would be the right thing for Frosti, to only go for a little ride with me after work, I wasn’t convinced. And yet, in this situation I was totally confused and didn’t know what was right for both of us.
I have to admit that I was actually thinking about selling him back then. I even had it announced during a competition that this horse was for sale. However, nobody came forward. So I had to come up with something new – luckily!
I hadn’t thought about riding pace. Until then, I had never tried it and therefore didn’t even know how to do it. After all, I had a super tölthorse and at that time the opinion prevailed that riding pace would destroy tölt.
But what did I have to lose?
Still, I was wondering, would it work? I had no idea, and even the successful and well-known rider Reynir Aðalsteinsson, whom I asked for advice, didn’t know, of course, but he had a very simple answer: Try it! – And I did.
Full of energy, Frosti and I threw ourselves into our common task of learning how to ride flying pace. We finally had fun together again and I felt how Frosti enjoyed trying out his joy of speed in a new gait. But above all, I felt that we were on a path that suited both of us.
Already in 1983, the confirmation came and we became German Vice Champion in 5-Gait. When we finally became the European pace champion in Sweden in 1985, we had again achieved a great goal together.
The media attention that was breaking over us was also due to the fact that I was the first woman and also the first non-Icelander with this title.
I enjoyed this time very much, anything else would be a lie. Especially the recognition I received in my small hometown touched me deeply.
I will never forget the celebration I was given, and the pride I saw in my parents’ eyes. At that moment I was happy to give them something back for believing in me and making this path possible.
In the following years we regularly qualified for the biennial World Championship as the only flying pace racer for Germany and achieved varying results. When I look back at this time.
I have to admit that it was always my fault if we could not place, as for example at the first World Championship in Weistrach in Austria.
The hustle and bustle around my person hadn’t passed by me without a trace and probably had an effect on my communication with Frosti. In plain language: I came as European Champion and stuck my nose up a little high – and promptly fell on it!
It wasn’t until I got on the horse again with a different attitude in Denmark in 1989 that we were successful again and became world champions in the flying pace. In 1993, we both competed in our last big race in Holland and Frosti made me vice world champion at the age of 21 – what a farewell present!
He spent his well-earned retirement together with his old buddy Fifi near Karly Zingsheim at the Forstwald farm on a pasture above the pace track. At tournaments, they stood on the slope until the end and watched the action on the track as if they remembered the good old times.
Now I have entrusted so much to you that I think it is time to unveil a secret at the end:
Frosti is not called Frosti, his real name is Feykir.
How’s that, you wonder?
It’s simple. There was a horse with this name that I didn’t like, my dream horse couldn’t possibly be called that! So I renamed him and it remained my secret to this day.
It sometimes got a bit complicated when, after the first international successes, horse owners from Iceland proudly announced that their horses were related to Frosti. But I couldn’t tell them that the Frosti they meant couldn’t be mine. So it just stayed this way.
For whatever reason, this matter was never seriously pursued by anyone, and therefore my dream horse now probably remains in everyone’s memory under the name “Frosti“.