Many horse people have one thing in common: they have a horse of their heart that is their favourite of all the horses they spend a part of their lives with.
Susanne feels the same way. She has even kept a diary of her time with her Fleygur.

The dream team Susanne with Fleygur. Photo/Susanne Buchholz

In 2015, I wrote into my Fleygur diary: Thank you Fleygur, for 3,5 years in which we could get to know each other! We appreciated each other, respected each other, had respect for each other and we loved each other in a beautiful and harmonious way. For me, you were the best friend I ever had. From a very scared and shy horse you became my hero!!
1000 thank you’s and many kisses!
May 2015

I bought Fleygur even though I had been told that he was an extremely difficult horse.
That was on November 1st 2011. He was standing at GPZ Aegidienberg. When I saw him, this beautiful pinto, it immediately “clicked”.
I remember very clearly the first moment of our meeting and what I felt then. I remember it very well: it was not only his appearance, but above all his manner and his charisma that touched me from the very beginning. In an inexplicable way he fascinated me from the first moment.

Fleygur was terribly afraid of people. That was also the reason why he was sold.
In 2009, he had been imported to Germany and first found a new home with another rider. Of course he was broken in. But sometimes it just does not fit between animal and human.

However, I immediately felt that I was the right person for this shy being, I felt that we belonged together. That is why I rode him only once, because: I didn’t care if had clear beat tölt or was pacey. I only knew: Fleygur is my horse!

Now, a very exciting time began. Many around me who knew Fleygur’s anxiety frowned and said: “You won’t even get him out of the paddock!”
I was not discouraged by these predictions, approached him naturally, lovingly stroke him behind the ears and finally slipped the halter over his head in slow motion – and despite all the predictions he actually came with me! The catching on the paddock had been a hard test of patience for many of the staff, but he followed me from day one.

This encouraged me on to take it easy and give him have all the time in the world.
Fleygur had eczema and his appearance reminded me strongly of a plucked chicken at the time he came into my life. So, at first I spent most of my time cleaning him and taking care of his sores. I could feel how he enjoyed the attention and how grateful he was when he started to get better. And I also felt how his trust in me grew.
Eventually, we began to take little walks. On these trips I always told him something in a calm voice. It seemed to calm him down, because he was

Fleygur ready to go for a walk. Photo/ Susanne Buchholz

even frightened by the birds and jumped to the side. I always pretended I didn’t notice. Every now and then he got a treat as a reward. He always kept a respectful distance.

Very problematic was shoeing him. There was only one farrier who could shoe Fleygur, because this always had to be done really quickly. Later, even that did not work anymore and he had to be sedated every time. He was never angry, but one had the feeling that he wanted to sit down – for whatever reason – and not let anyone near his hind hooves.
He seemed to have problems with males, especially when they wore headgear. It was enough for a man to come near him. Then, he made himself big and opened his eyes in fear. Who knows what Fleygur had experienced!

Finally, the day came that I dared to ride him. Of course, to get on the horse, we had to be in a quiet place and very I had to be very careful. I was happy when it worked out and then I went out into nature.
Even now I remained true to my principle of giving him time: Time to look, for example, when a creepy snow hill piled up somewhere, and time to learn how to tölt. Whatever new task was on the agenda, the most important thing was always that we tackled it together. Our time together – there was nothing better!
So many things became easy that had been unimaginable only a few weeks ago. Picking up Fleygur from a paddock or a meadow was never a problem again, just to name one example. We got to know each other and I understood better and better what I could expect from him or how I could help him to overcome his fear and to jump over his shadow (for me!).

In the spring I wanted to put an eczema blanket on him, for example. Of course this was not easy, especially since the blanket was dark brown. I talked to him calmly as usual, but he still pulled his head back. It only worked when I tried it on with a light grey blanket which he got used to very quickly. In addition, I regularly gave him an algae extract in an apple. His mane started to grow again and he developed into a very beautiful Icelandic horse.

It became difficult all over again, when the veterinarian came to vaccinate. Still today I am grateful to my veterinarian, who managed this with great calm.

When there was a lot of activity at the stable, it became strenuous for Fleygur. Then, I always saddled him quite briskly to get out into nature. The walkers, dogs, cars and whatever else we met on the way did not disturb him at all. So I realised that

Photo/Susanne Buchholz

the handling from the ground was the real problem and not the riding.
Therefore, we had many beautiful rides, mostly alone, but often also in groups. After two exciting years, Fleygur became more and more secure and finally I was even able to participate successfully in a tölt training!

When I came to the stable in the morning, he greeted me cheerfully at the paddock gate. A beautiful and touching feeling, because he kept his scepticism towards other people and hardly let them pet him.

In December 2014 we could even take part in a Christmas ride. We knew each other now and trusted each other completely!

For me, it could have gone on like this forever, but unfortunately this was not granted to us.

Only about 2 weeks later, Fleygur injured himself on the paddock and became severely lame. In the horse clinic an injury of the suspensory ligament was diagnosed. For months he stood in a box. This was terrible for him, because he was afraid of everything that came by and then jumped to the side, which of course poison for the injured leg. After consultation with the veterinarian and the stud manager I therefore decided to take Fleygur to a meadow where only old, calm Icelanders were standing, where he was to cure his injury in peace.

Who could have foreseen what would happen now?
Fleygur was so relieved to be free again that he jumped out of the trailer impetuously and probably put too much strain on his injured leg. When he limped on three legs to the other horses, it almost tore my heart apart. This image has burned itself into my head. Probably he had completely torn his suspensory ligament during this jump.

Fleygur was a horse that suffered panic attacks in the clinic and therefore I decided, again, of course, in consultation with my vet, against a scintigraphy and its effects.

Now, he lived on the meadow for barely two weeks. When I saw that he hardly moved from the spot despite the painkiller I brought him every day, I decided with a heavy heart to release him.

Even today, four years later, I still miss Fleygur. For me he was my absolute dream horse. Through him I became aware of what an animal friendship means.

Þrumufleygur frá Litlu-Sandvik,   *2001 –  † 26.05.2015. Photo/Susanne Buchholz

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