The biannual Landsmót National Horse Festival, which was supposed to take place in Skagafjördur this summer, has been postponed by one year because of a resilient cough which has spread among horses in Iceland in the past months and prevented training.
A previous Landsmót. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The decision was made at a meeting yesterday with all major stakeholders as well as a representative of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and the veterinary authorities of Iceland, as stated on the festival’s website.
“As you [can] understand, this decision was made with great regret and is a very difficult one for the Icelandic horse community. However, it was, [in terms of] the welfare of the horses, the only solution,” wrote Haraldur Thórarinsson, chairman of the Icelandic Equestrian Association (LH) and Landsmót.
All attendees at the meeting were in favor of rescheduling the Landmót to a later date in 2011. However, they agreed that this decision has to be made in cooperation with the board of the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations (FEIF) and the Icelandic horse community abroad.
“Therefore, we at LH and Landsmót would like to have further discussions with the representatives of FEIF to find a good solution that everyone in the Icelandic horse community [can] agree upon,” Thórarinsson added. All tickets will be refunded.
“We believe we can minimize the financial damage by postponing the tournament,” Kristinn Gudnason, chairman of the Horse Breeders’ Association of Iceland, told Morgunbladid.
Horsemanship throughout Iceland is paralyzed because of the horse flu. People aren’t selling horses and training centers have closed down.
The cough and the canceling of the Landsmót have also impacted the tourist industry because many foreign tourists had planned to attend the tournament and participate in horse trips related to it.
Gudnason said there will be an attempt to get the sport going again later this summer to reduce the financial damage.
Click here to read more about the horse flu.