Partners and performers
The Knights of Iceland consists of 3 partners: Gudmar, Laura (Lala) and Carrie. Gudmar was the original founder of The Knights and now the 3 work together as a team to bring this dynamic show to your event. Both Laura and Carrie grew up with Gudmar and the 3 consider themselves to be family. Even though Gudmar is in Iceland, Carrie in Kentucky and Laura in California, the Knights of Iceland gives the partners a unique opportunity to promote the Icelandic Horse as a team and come together on a regular basis to share ideas, hold clinics and of course have a great time!
Team Leader - Lala Benson
Laura “Lala” Benson has been riding horses since she can remember but at the age of 13 she met Gudmar Petursson and his Icelandics performing at Equitana USA in Louisville, KY and never looked back. She fell in love with the unique breed and ended up helping Gudmar run his Icelandic horse operation in La Grange, KY and eventually moved to Iceland to become the first American to attend and graduate as a certified trainer and instructor of Icelandic riding from Holar University in Iceland. Ever since, she has devoted her life to the training, education and promotion of the Icelandic horse in North America and has played a leading role in promoting the Knights of Iceland alongside Gudmar since 2010. Laura, who’s friends and family call her “Lala”, lives in San Francisco, California where she runs her Icelandic training and teaching operation, Valkyrie Icelandic, which focuses on Icelandic riding with classical dressage elements. When she is not touring with the Knights or teaching clinics, she enjoys composing and playing music.
ADMINISTRATOR - CARRIE LYONS BRANDT
Carrie Lyons Brandt began riding Icelandics at the farm in Kentucky with Gudmar and Laura at the age of 8. She too devoted her life from that moment on to the Icelandic horse. Carrie was the second American to attend and graduate from the University of Hólar in Iceland. Carrie has had great success and a focus on Icelandic competition teaching and training in North America. Like Laura, Carrie grew up around the Knights of Iceland and been performing with the team since the age of 16. Carrie is also a travelling clinician and trainer and she runs her operation, Taktur Icelandics in Prospect, KY with her husband, Terral Hill.
FOUNDER - GUÐMAR ÞÓR PÉTURSSON
Guðmar Þór Pétursson has been riding and training Icelandic horses for over 30 years. Gudmar began his competitive career at 6 years old and has continued to compete successfully ever since. He holds 31 Icelandic Championship titles in youth and young-adult classes, and one Scandinavian title among many others. Driven to increase his knowledge, Guðmar attended Hólar University and graduated with honors. In 1996 Guðmar and his family began exporting horses to the US and attending equine shows to promote the Icelandic horse setting the foundations for what has become our Knights of Iceland shows today. Gudmar started a training and Icelandic sales base in La Grange, KY in 1999 where he spent part of the year promoting the Icelandics and and in 2006 he obtained a green card and moved to Kentucky full time to run a training and educational center for Icelandic horses and riders while continuing to grow and promote the breed in the States. Now he runs Hestaland in Iceland out of the beautiful farm Staðarhus where he offers a variety of services including clinics, treks, lodging, tours, training and much more.