By Kate Daly | Special to the Almanac
Emma Erickson, 15, of Woodside is busy riding her horses whenever she can, getting ready to fly to Iceland to compete in July.
She is one of four Americans selected to participate in the FEIF (International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations) Youth Cup, a biannual event open to young riders from 19 countries.
Emma has just finished her freshman year at Woodside Priory, which could free up a few more hours to exercise her three horses, ride with Woodside Pony Club, and work with her trainers.
Last summer she worked at Mountain Icelandic Farm in Watsonville and met a former FEIF Youth Cup competitor who encouraged Emma to apply to qualify for the event by submitting videos of her riding a tolt, a running walk or smooth natural gait that is unique to Icelandic Horses, and a four-gait combination.
Emma won a spot on the U.S. team and at the end of the month will be going with two other Bay Area riders and one from the East Coast to Iceland to meet their borrowed Icelandic horses and stay at a farm. The plan is to tour, attend clinics, and compete July 11-20.
In general, Icelandic horses may be on the small side, but Emma says she enjoys their "nice pace" and personality. "They're pretty smart," she says, "so they're pretty opinionated."