This is what happens when you’re born into the family that developed T-Touch and operates an Icelandic horse breeding and training farm.
Sam Woodhead has what could be described as a perfect childhood. He’s growing up in British Columbia on The Icelandic Horse Farm, the home to an Icelandic horse breeding and training operation and the home of Tellington TTouch Training; Sam’s great-aunt is Linda Tellington-Jones who developed the whole-body form of horsemanship training that addresses the horse and rider’s entire well-being. His grandmother, Robyn Hood, is regarded as one of the top TTouch clinicians in the world and has traveled the globe spreading her knowledge. And Sam’s mother, Mandy Pretty, is a well-known trainer and clinician in her own right–and from the looks of it, has figured out how to raise a kid right.
Mandy and her husband Walt Woodhead live just up the road from The Icelandic Horse Farm, on what she calls a “faux farm,” making she and Walt “faux farmers” and leading her to hashtag all of her photos of Sam with #fauxfarmbaby. “The Woodheads keep a few sheep, cows and occasionally some horses. “It’s not a real farm because we can actually leave and go on vacation, thanks to my wonderful parents,” Mandy describes. “I kind of feel as though it’s the Yuppie version of a farm.” After all, the family does raise what Mandy jokingly refers to as “boutique ponies”–in reality, more like a herd of living all-terrain sports cars with amazing personalities.
It’s the Icelandic horse’s temperament that’s help put The Icelandic Horse Farm on the map: The Ice Farm (as it’s also known) is one of the foremost breeding and training farms on the continent. The family was responsible for starting the Canadian Icelandic Horse Registry, and there are usually around 75 horses living on the farm itself (for breeding, training and sales.) It’s also distinguished itself as the place to go to experience both the pleasures of riding a well-bred and well-trained Icelandic horse through TTouch methods–the horses are regularly trail-ridden, work without bridles and experience the connecting bodywork that sets TTouch apart from other training methods. (For more information about TTouch see The Icelandic Horse Farm website.)
A typical work day for Mandy includes suiting up Sam for the farm, heading out to feed the horses in their pastures, meeting Sam’s nanny Christine (who also took care of Mandy when she was Sam’s age) and then ride horses–Mandy also included the step “watch Sam do fun stuff while I’m riding said horses.” Sam spends every day on the farm around the animals. The weekends consist of “family jaunts around the hood,” or Mandy ponying Sam on horseback while Walt rides as a pickup man on the other side. Walt is a master carpenter, leading to plenty of opportunities for Sam to hang out and learn the trade.
Sam has formed a special bond with Sleipir, Mandy’s old equine partner. The 32-year-old horse was imported from Iceland in 1989 to be Mandy’s show horse. Sleipnir took his job very seriously, and when an incident outside of his control resulted in young Mandy taking a tumble in the show ring, the horse refused to show again–perhaps he felt personally responsible for letting Mandy down. He now roams the farm freely during the day, befriending delivery men and greeting visitors. He’s also recently added a new duty to his list–watching over Sam. I’ll just put these photos here and let them speak for themselves:
If this isn’t the best way to grow up, we don’t know what is.