The Icelandic Horse

Are you on your way to Iceland and happen to love horses ?

We have a few of them here in Iceland but only icelandic though.

The icelandic horse is very small ! Some people dare to call them ponys, but they really are just normal horses not ponys!  They usually live very long (35-40 years) and are a very tough species.

Even though they are small they weight between 300 – 380kg (730-840 lb) and come in many coat colours including chestnut, dun, bay, black, palomino, gray, pinto and roan.

They are the only horse breed in Iceland and are still used in sheepherding work and probably will continue to do so in the future.

If you plan to drive somewhere outside of the capital area you can expect to see horses in groups in the wild nature all around Iceland all year round.

If you decide to stop somewhere and see those amazing animals please be careful and park somewhere that is allowed and the horses can not reach because they can damage vehicles really badly, they just want to take a little bite to taste J

The icelandic bread has a double coat developed for extra insulation in cold temperatures because they really need it in the winter time here.

Icelandic Horse

Every year there is a world championship in the Icelandic Horse. Last year it was held in Berlin, Germany. At these championships they compete in the two gates that other horse breeds do not have.

The Icelandic horse is a five gated breed not three like usual horses and it‘s known for its sure footedness and ability to cross rought terrain.


The two extra gates are :

Tölt is the most unique four-beat lateral gate and the Icelandic horse is best known for that gate. To explain how that gate works, the horse’s legs move well under the body and then carry more weight on the hind end that allows the front to rise, be loose and free. The Tölt is very smooth to ride since there is no suspension between striders, as in the case in trot or canter. It can be ridden from very slow speed up to very fast speed but that also depends on the horse.


Flying Pace is a fast and high speed gait during which both legs on one side of the horse simultaneously touch the ground. They can go up to 48 kmh (30 mph) on the flying pace. The gait is usually used for short distances and can equal the speed of a full gallop. That is why the flying pace is used for racing. At one interval all four hooves of the Icelandic Horse are suspended off the ground during a flying pace. Riding at a flying pace is considered the crown of horsemanship.


There are few places here where you can go on riding tours with guides in the beautiful Icelandic nature on the unique Icelandic horse. The tours are from 30 minutes up to some days. And for the notice... you do not need to be well recognized with horseback riding , the guides will show you all the basics and take good care of you.

The Icelandic Horse

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