The Icelandic Horse
Icelandic Horse from Iceland, a small island nation positioned between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, stands amidst Greenland and Norway. Home to approximately 364,000 residents, with a significant population residing in the capital city of Reykjavik in the southwestern region, the country boasts a distinctive landscape comprising volcanic mountains, glaciers, plains, waterfalls, geysers, hot springs, and black sand beaches. Iceland also hosts diverse wildlife. However, one of its most remarkable features is its horses.
The Icelandic horse carries a heritage spanning over a millennium, rooted in the arrival of the first horses with settlers during the 9th and 10th centuries. Since then, these horses have been bred in seclusion on the island, fostering a distinct breed well-suited to the rugged terrain and severe subarctic climate.
Icelandic horses are an extraordinary breed, cultivated in seclusion for over a millennium. They exhibit remarkable hardiness, are low-maintenance, and have adeptly acclimated to the extreme weather conditions prevalent in their native land.
Historically, Icelandic horses played a pivotal role in transportation and agriculture, serving as the sole mode of travel in the country for numerous centuries. They were integral in herding sheep and cattle and provided vital resources in the form of food and clothing. Their distinctive natural gait, the tölt, enabled them to traverse vast distances swiftly and comfortably, rendering them indispensable for navigating and laboring on Iceland’s challenging landscapes.
In contemporary society, the Icelandic horse remains a vital component of Iceland’s culture, economy, and tourism. Activities such as horseback riding, racing, breeding, and training have become popular industries, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. The breed’s global export is highly valued due to its distinctive features and beauty.
Icelandic horses are generally small to medium-sized, standing between 13 and 14 hands. They boast a robust build and sturdy legs, enabling them to effortlessly maneuver Iceland’s challenging landscapes.