Icelandic Horse Association of Australia

The Icelandic Horse Association of Australia (IHAA) was formed in 2008 by a small group of Icelandic Horse owners and breeders. The aim was to form a group to facilitate the registration of the Australian bred Icelandic Horses and, to generally promote and protect the unique qualities of the breed. Since the start of 2016 we are an Associate member of FEIF (www.feif.org), the governing worldwide body of Icelandic horse enthusiasts who help us stay in touch with the registration, breeding and judging goals, and have educational resources available from experts in the Icelandic horse world.

IHAA membership benefits

• Library service with a growing collection of various resources
• Access to the World Fengur database
• 6 Bi-monthly newsletter with free advertising for members
• The first to know about upcoming clinics and events
• Being part of a supportive and fun community of fellow Icelandic horse enthusiasts

Icelandic Horses in Australia

Records show the existence of Icelandic Horses in Australia as early as 1863 but not much else is known of any other purebred imports into Australia until the mid 1990’s. It was then that 8 fillies and a colt were brought out from Denmark. After 2000, several horses were imported from New Zealand to start small breeding herds. Imports of breeding horses from Iceland, Germany and USA/Canada followed.

In the autumn of 1862 four Icelandic horses started one of the longest journeys ever undertaken by members of the breed. The horses were taken onto the Venus, belonging to the Mersey Shipping Company in Liverpool, which set sail on the 30th of October, heavily loaded with all sorts of goods and commodities. They sailed south and 39 days later the ship crossed the equator. Then it set course for South America, before turning east across the Atlantic past the Cape of Good Hope, and onwards across the Indian Ocean.
Finally, after having been at sea for 89 days, the Venus dropped her anchor in Hobson’s Bay off Melbourne, Australia on the 27th of January 1863. All the newspapers of Melbourne reported on the arrival of the Venus, and The Argus specifically states that on board were four horses from Iceland, all in very good condition. A few days later, another local paper reports that the horses were sold by the horse traders W.C. Yuille & Co, and had fetched 21 pounds on average – an excellent price.

Þorgeir Guðlaugsson

At present, we have approximately 340 purebred Icelandic Horses in Australia. Only a small percentage of these are over 4 years old and have been started under saddle. There are three bigger studs in Victoria, one in Sydney and one in Queensland. The remainder of the horses are spread far and wide over the vastness of Australia. You can find them in WA, TAS, ACT, NSW, QLD and SA. The Australian Herd is spread far and wide, with horses in all states except NT. While geography may keep us from visiting each other as much as we’d like, technology keeps us in touch, providing a strong sense of community support and friendship within the owners /passionate supporters of the breed. Facebook groups – like the IHAA facebook page and individual owner’s pages ensure we are up to date with the new events and achievements of the Icelandic horses in Australia. Practical friendly banter and experiences are shared between owners which we all enjoy and find very helpful as we all face our own unique geographical and climatic challenges.

Our members come from all walks of life and many bring with them experiences of the owning, working with or falling in love with Icelandic horses in Europe & Scandinavia (read about them here). We collectively have contacts all over the world that help us and support us in our aims as an association and as breeders/owners of this incredibly unique breed of horse.

For to find out more about becoming a member of the IHAA please email us on info@icelandichorses.org.au