25 May 2015

Iceland Horse - The Breed Of Fire And Ice

Iceland horse is one of the most exceptional horse breeds. They are original and pure, small but strong and sure-footed. They have one "extra" gait, a tolt, and if you ever rode one, you know that it is very comfortable.

Like most cold blood breeds Iceland horses are calm, independent and very, very charming.

Iceland horse is one of the eldest horse breeds and represent the closest link to the early domesticated horses. They were brought to Iceland in the years 874 - 930 by the vikings who settled on the island.

Embroidered cloth made in England in the 1070s

As the Vikings traveled the Atlantic Ocean in open, small rowboats, transporting horses was not easy. They brought the lot they needed and since then there have been no horses imported in Iceland.

Before the motor engines, for centuries, the Iceland horse carried people, goods, mail, building materials etc. The Iceland horse was a very important part of the culture and the religion, too. The Viking God Odin was a horseman and rode Sleipnir, a horse with eight feet.

Odin riding Sleipnir - an 18th century Icelandic manuscript

Nowadays a horse back riding is a very popular sport and hobby in Iceland. Although it´s not possible to import horses in Iceland, thank God, they can be exported and it is possible to ride and have them in many other countries, too.

Icelandic horses can be kept outside all year through. They have a thick fur coat and they are used to hard weather conditions. There are stables built in Iceland, and the riding horses are kept in them. Breeding horses and young ones stay out all year.

Gigja Einarsdottir is an Icelandic Photographer who was born and raised with the Iceland horses. She captures the nature of the horses and the beautiful landscape of Iceland so that you immediately see the connection between the breed and nature. We hope you enjoy her talent.

(Click the pictures to see them bigger)

To see more:
Gigja Einarsdottir in Flickr
Horses, horses, horses... Worth visiting!

All kinds of photographs from Gigja Einarsdottir

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Gigja Einars Photography

Iceland Horses Photography

Some of our Island horse "customers" photographed by their owners:

Learn more about the Icelandic horse: 

21 May 2015

Horsehair Fabrics - Pure Luxury

Horsehair is a protein fiber, like human hair or silk. It does not absorb water but can be easily dyed. Horsehair has been used for many purposes since a human being has lived with horses and using it in making fabric is probably one of most impressive, but challenging purposes.

Horsehair quality and length varies a lot, it can be very stiff or very fine and soft. The quality
depends on the breed, diet, health, climate...

For making fabric out of horsehair the hair has to be chosen carefully.

The Spaniards might have been the first ones to use horsehair as textile the 8th. The first documented use is from the 9th century in Switzerland. The Swiss used it for the plans of St. Gall Abbey. The plans, a blueprint for a monastic compound in medieval times, are a national preserved treasure to the Swiss that were said to have been weaved with horsehair.

In the 19th century horsehair was quite common as upholstery stuffing and covering fabric. Horsehair fabrics are very durable and there is that same luxurious shimmer that linen and silk have. When you touch the fabric it is almost impossible to imagine that the material is the same that you brush at the stables...

Eliel Saarinen (1873 – 1950) was a famous Finnish architect who also designed furniture.
His style was art deco, the Finnish art deco was called "national romantic" and it had influence from jugend, too.

These chairs and dining tables are originally designed for his home in Cranbrook, UK (1929-1930). They are made of birch but also mahogany, satinwood, American and European maple veneers are used in decoration.

Tetrimäki Ltd continues the long tradition of Finnish fine carpentry by training new carpenters and master carpenters together with educational institutions.Their goal is to bring the furniture of Eliel Saarinen to Finnish homes and raise its profile internationally.

The company is dedicated to maintaining top quality and preserving the unique heritage of Eliel Saarinen and horsehair fabrics are still used. Use links below the photo to see details on producers site.

design Eliel Saarinen

Tetrimäki hienopuusepät

Upholstery stuffing is horsehair, the covering fabric is designed by Eliel Saarinen and manufactured by the respected John Boyd Textiles Ltd. John Boyd died in 1890 but the company still produces fabrics made of horse hair.

The tradition of horsehair weaving is continued in Castle Cary and they use the original looms and techniques of over 125 years ago. John Boyd Textiles Ltd is one of the last surviving horsehair weavers in the world.

Bill Batten for Willer, photo from johnboydtextiles.co.uk/projects

As you can see the horsehair fabrics are very sophisticated and elegant.

When Nanna Salmi brushed her mare´s tail she thought that it must be possible
to make a miniature textile, a woven ribbon, of horsehair too. She tried and the result of that experiment can be seen in her collection of fine jewelry.

Most of horsehair jewelries are plaited, braided or somehow twisted, these ribbons are really "miniature textiles".

Two rings Amate in gold, ribbons 'arrow head' and 'check' to USA 

Enquiries and orders by email

18 May 2015

Finnhorse - A Loyal Companion

"The Finnhorse originates from the Northern European domestic horses. The Finnhorse 
is the only native horse breed in Finland. There are about 20 000 Finnhorses, which 
amounts to 25 per cent of the total amount of horses in Finland. The Finnhorse and the 
Finnish people share a common history – the horse has worked with credit in the wars 
and also been a great help to the farmers in their work both in the fields and the 
forests. The Finnhorse plays both today and in the future a part in the equestrian 
sports, it has a role in entrepreneurship and it’s a suitable hobby horse for children, 
young people as well as adults." 

Read more: 

Juha Kujala finds the Finnhorse very special. He lives in southern Finland, 
in Paimio, and the horses are very important part of his and his family´s life.

"We have had horses since 2008 when we got two humorous shetland pony studs, 
the father Viikari, 19 yrs and his son Keimo, 17 yrs. In 2009 came a Finnhorse gelding 
Renny. He was such a great horse and made me fall in love with the breed."

Renny with the daughters - cool! 

"The horse of my life, a mare Hovin Inka, came to me in 2011 when she was 6 years old."

Juha likes to do many kinds of things with the horses. For his wife and him it is also 
important that their daughters can handle the big horse. 

"The Finnhorse is close to my heart for two reasons: it is an original and traditional 
Finnish horse breed and it is incredibly versatil breed. With a Finnhorse you can do what 
ever you desire: ride, jump, work, race, drive... They are clear headed, loyal and they 
function in all kinds of envirements and weather conditions."

Finnhorse is traditionally a working horse. It does not matter if it is - 25 C degrees outside - you get the work in forest done and firewood brought back home or you can take your family on a sledge drive!

"I have used Inka in lumber work just as a hobby and mostly in our own forest. I respect the professional lumberjacks working with horses and I´m very happy to have met them through my hobby. Lumbering with the horses is - of course - much slower than with the modern machines but it saves the undergrowth and the forest does not look like a war zone afterwords."

Juha is very interested in the working tradition with the Finnhorse, so interested that he has
studied how to make a collar and a harness by himself .

"It feels quite special to harness a horse with a collar and a shaft bow that you have made with your own hands - starting with the birch stump in a forest! The first ones were not so great but with a patience and help from the masters anything is possible!

I also wish to continue this kind of horsemanship: you take care of your horse, it takes care of you, you work together and do and make as many things by yourself as possible."

Girls flattening the riding court with Inka

Inka enjoys jumping. This couple has been very succesful, too!

Aili, 91 years, lived the times there were no cars. Bringing back 
memories... Jukka´s wife, Sanna, driving.

To work with a horse demands special skills. It does not matter what you do with it, some education and wisdom from the experienced people is always good for you.

"I have taken various different classes and of course I have learned from the elder horse men. And after that - practising, practising, practising..."

"But - the best teacher is the horse itself! When you work with it, spend time with it and listen to it you learn to read it and you start understanding how much you can teach it for the moment. Patience and small steps enough guarantee that you both are happy and safe.

This is something I wish to pass on to my daughters. I think they have learned it too!"

"The Finnhorses had a big role during the war. One of the most touching moments I have experienced with Inka was when we met a war veteran. He looked at Inka straight in the eyes and said: 
"Thank God, we had horses like you back then..."

Juha says:
"Human being should be more like a horse: humble and willing to learn. To forget about a rush, you don´t learn anything in a day. We are not in a hurry - we have a life time to learn!

It is possible to hire Inka, Juha and this beautiful carriage 
for your special day! 

Hovin Inka in Facebook Inkantinki

Thank you, Juha, for sharing us your thoughts and these beautiful 
photos of your beloved ones! 

(Finnhorse, the best horse) 

11 May 2015

Anja - the black Friesian beauty

Last summer we received an email from The Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain & Ireland. They had seen nannasalmi -jewelry and asked us to sponsor their Friesian Festival in August.

We gladly did so!
The Friesians are one of the most beautiful horse breeds in the world and Nanna Salmi has had an honor to work with hair of some very famous ones, Nanning 374 and Anton 343, already.

It was quite exciting to wait and see who is going to win the custom made nannasalmi bracelet Mistral... All we knew was that we can count on black tail hair and a great horse!

Anja won Official FHAGBI inspections 2014 when she achieved the highest IBOP score of the day which resulted in her becoming the first Friesian Crown mare in the UK.

Here they are, Tracey Venter with Anja (Ait 410 x Time 398) 16hh Ride & Drive Mare

Official FHAGBI inspections 2014

Photo Firehorsephotography.co.uk

Friesian Horse Association

Tracey Venter is the proud owner of this beautiful mare and works with the Friesians with love and passion. She is one of those lucky people whose hobby is also her profession. She is also very active in the Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain & Ireland.

Crown mare Anja

Sandy Kitching photographer

custom made horsehairbracelet

Photos of Anja and Tracey by Sandy Kitching, The Early Bird Design

hand made custom made horsetailhair

Tracy´s bracelet Mistral made with hair from Anja.

Read more about Anja on the page Black Horses /Anja 

If you wish to see more of Tracey´s black beauties follow 
The Friesian Experience in Facebook

P.S. Gorgeous Crown mare Anja (Ait410) is in foal to Tsjalle 454!

the Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain & Ireland 

9 May 2015

What does it take to create something special?

Sometimes when you taste, see, touch or try something on it feels special. It might be hard to tell in one word what it is but when you give it a better thought you realize that somebody has given that specific item or thing a lot of time, love and passion. Someone has committed to his work.

Someone has been uncompromising and held on a dream and vision.

Behind the great products there is often a will to help somebody,mmake somebody´s life more comfortable, easier or pleasant.

Or just to offer somebody pure joy and pleasure.

If you wish to have a perfect foal, you look for a perfect mare and stud.
If you wish to make a perfect pair of boots you look for the best leather.
If you wish to make a perfect bottle of bubbling wine you look for a perfect grape.

Then starts the hard work that takes time and patience. Sometimes you also need some luck or help from the others. There are ups and downs, sometimes you make mistakes and sometimes you face challenges or difficulties that seem almost impossible to solve.

That is the point where the success is born.

If you are innovative, hard working, creative and humble you will overcome and the result will be something very special.

Dubarry of Ireland wanted to create work for the people during the difficult years and produce great boots for use.

Coco Chanel wanted to give women freedom and dress them simple but elegant.

Wine farmers in Champagne worked for decades to create the perfect bubble and to find the best combinations for perfect tasting experience.

Nanna Salmi wants to offer you a perfect keepsake of your beloved horse.

And as you know... original is original, no matter what...

If you do/make something wonderful, equestrian related, please let us know!
We would be delighted to tell our readers about you and your work/products. 

Contact minna.maattanen(at)nannasalmi.com