Local horse makes magazine cover

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A photo of Douglass Drake’s Icelandic horse Assa is on the cover of the Icelandic Horse Quarterly magazine. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

A Lake Riverside Estates couple announced a photo of their Icelandic horse was chosen for the cover of Icelandic Horse Quarterly magazine.

The publication is the official magazine of the U.S. Icelandic Horse Congress. Each issue is filled with informative articles, editorials, stories, advertisements and more for owners of Icelandic horses.

An ancient breed, the Icelandic horse is well known for its thousand-year history. Purebred since the 1100s, the breed is famous for being hardy, athletic, independent, spirited, friendly, adaptable and sure-footed with five natural gaits. It has a thick and often double-sided mane and a long tail which come in a wide range of equine colors.

Douglas Drake, who owns Sunland Ranch Icelandics, submitted the cover photo to the U.S. Icelandic Horse Congress for their quarterly magazine. The 13-year-old mare Assa is seen splashing in the water in a scenic spot in the lake at Lake Riverside Estates. The picture was taken by his wife Sabrina Drake.

“I am always taking photos, and out of the thousands I take, one turned out,” Sabrina Drake said. “It was pure luck. I was pleased that I did manage to capture LRE’s serene beauty. As we rode off, I scrolled through the 50 or so photos I had taken and said, ‘I got one of you.’ It was fun to see Doug’s surprised expression when the magazine rolled out with him on the cover. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but expressions are priceless.”

Assa’s registered name is “Assa from Slettuni.” Sabrina Drake said that Icelandic horses are given a first name and a last name. The first name usually means something, and the last name is the place they are born. “Assa” means female eagle who sees well and understands clearly. She is five gaited and smooth, fast and fun. She had five years of training with her original owner Sylvia Pardo.

“I fell in love with her when she was for sale in 2017. I had an older quarter horse at the time along with our other Icelandic horse, and the timing for another horse was not right at the time. I rode her, felt her tolt – a special gait that Icelandics are known for – and canter and I told her I loved her,” Sabrina Drake said.

The Drake family bought property in Lake Riverside Estates, and the little mare came up for sale again. Sabrina Drake knew she was the match for her husband.

“Doug, who is from Nebraska, used to ride our quarter horse here and there and I said, we are going to introduce you to a whole other ride,” Sabrina Drake said. “Assa did not disappoint. We were tolting all over with big smiles on our faces. We have covered quite a bit of ground on our two Icelandics at LRE. We have lived there since March and we love it. People take the time to wave to you and smile as they see you ride by.”

The Drakes and Assa are known in the equestrian community for their cheerful videos on social media and their welcoming demeanor on the trail.

To learn more about and see the magazine cover, visit https://icelandics.org/quarterly-magazine.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.