Riding horses is my passion! Consequently, this means travel is centered around whether I can ride horses when I get there or not! Recently, on a trip to Iceland, I had the thrill of riding a horse that looks like an adorable, life-sized plush toy! I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in Iceland, make a point to ride an Icelandic Horse. The horses will take care of you, and most certainly the owners at Hestheimar Horse Farm & Guesthouse will too!
The Icelandic Horse is an indigenous breed of horse developed in Iceland. Icelandic Horses have been bred pure in Iceland for more than 1,000 years. Although the horses are small in height, they make up for it in cuteness and personality! Icelandics tend to be friendly, docile and easy to handle. Additionally, Icelandic horses are not easily spooked. This must be the result of no natural predators in their native land. Wouldn’t that be nice if our horses in North America had no fear of predators?
Jimi Hendrix reincarnated!
Icelandic Horses have very few diseases. Icelandic law prohibits any horses from being imported into their country, and exported horses are not allowed to return. The horses are used in Iceland for sheep herding, pleasure, showing and racing. The Icelandic is unique because they are capable of two additional gaits. In addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter commonly performed by other breeds, they perform the tolt and the flying pace. Here, in this video I am riding a sweet mare performing the tolt: Tolting on an Icelandic Horse
Where Else Can You Find Them
Icelandic Horses are the only breed of horse in Iceland. Over the years they have been exported in few numbers, but fortunately they are quite popular in Europe and North America. I have known several people here in America who thoroughly enjoy their Icelandics for trail riding. The tolt allows riders to enjoy long distance rides, without the usual fatigue experienced by riding a trotting horse.
Cold and windy day, look at that forelock!
Tim and his teddy bear, Tear!
Two cuties looking for love!
In conclusion, when selecting a breed for extensive trail riding, I highly suggest investigating into the Icelandic Horse. They are the perfect size to navigate single track trails and their height makes getting on and off a breeze!
Have you ridden an Icelandic Horse? I would love to hear your stories and see your pictures!