Icelandic Woolen Sweater Saves Early-Born Foal Skip to content

Icelandic Woolen Sweater Saves Early-Born Foal

By Iceland Review

Not only humans appreciate the warmth of lopapeysa, the typical Icelandic woolen sweater. The mare foal Góa, which arrived unexpectedly on March 21 (two months before the usual foaling season), wore a woolen sweater from the Icelandic Red Cross the first two weeks after its birth to stay warm in the cold spring weather.

horse-winter_psPhoto: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

Góa’s birth in a stable in Eskifjörður, East Iceland, was not only a surprise but also premature. The foal had a thin coat.

Its owner Þórólfur Sverrisson went to the local second-hand Red Cross store to buy a lopapeysa for the foal. “It was cold outside. The sweater kept it alive the first two weeks,” he told

Þórólfur had no idea that Góa’s mother was expecting. “The mare was outside all winter last year and wasn’t supposed to have come close to any stallion.”

However, last spring a one-year old male horse broke through the fence and Þórólfur suspects that Góa is the fruit of that adventure.

Clueless about the mare’s condition, Þórólfur fetched the mare for the stable this winter, shoed it and his daughter used it for a riding horse. “On March 21 my brother found the foal in the stable,” he said of the surprise birth.

Þórólfur is expecting six other foals this summer.

Dressing a foal in a woolen sweater is not the first unusual move Þórólfur makes as a horse breeder. “A few years back a mare birthed a foal that died shortly afterwards,” he said.

He decided to buy a calf to replace the foal, which accompanied the mare and thrived on its milk throughout the summer.

Góa has now grown strong and healthy and no longer needs its lopapeysa to stay warm.

Click here to see a picture of it in its special attire.


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