Icelandic horses’ history dates back to 874 when the Vikings settled in Iceland. During the earliest days of breeding, the government had banned the importation of horses because of the fear that they would bring in disease. As a result of years of isolation the Icelandic horses are known for their characteristics of ride-ability, character, speed, comfort and stamina.
Icelandic Horse Gaits
Gaited horses have gained immense popularity worldwide and even though there are thousands of Icelandic’s' who are living outside their country, yet they remain as one of the world’s purest breed of horses.
The horse is small, with about 13 – 14 hands making it easy to mount and dismount. The Icelandic gaited horse is one which aside from the basic walking, trotting and cantering, has two unique gaits which are the Tolt and the pace that allow smooth travel over rugged terrains. The Icelandic horse is gentle, friendly and calm natured which is why whoever rides the horse has a delightful experience.
The Icelandic horses’ unique characteristics are credited to the natural selection, breeding and the training technique of working together to shape the horse.
Icelandic horses could not develop their flight response as the only native predator is the little Artic fox. The real challenge for the horses is posed by the landscape of Iceland with its snow fields, rivers and volcanic slopes.
The pace is a surprisingly smooth two beat gait which allows the horse and the rider to move across the ground easily as the front and back legs on both sides move forward together.
Icelandic Horse Tolt
The Tolt is the real pleasure of Iceland as it allows anyone to have a smooth riding experience. Due to the 4 beat gait the rider can sit back, stretch down the stirrup and enjoy the feeling of floating while being firmly seated on the horse’s back. Even though Iceland has a glacially oriented terrain, the Icelandic horses can move easily due to their high steps. They face little difficulty compared to other breeds on the same tracks.
Only those who have travelled on the Icelandic horse can understand how perfectly the gaited horse fits for Iceland’s countryside. The Icelandic horse is bred and trained for excellence and it delivers at all times.