Icelandic Horses are a unique breed. They are blessed with one or two extra gaits, Tolt, and for many also Pace. Tölt is a natural four-beat gait where one hoof always stays on the ground making it very smooth for the rider as there is no moment of suspension. Speeds can range from a slow trot to a fast canter. Pace, or flying pace is a two beat lateral gait that can be as fast as a gallop.
Icelandic Horses are small horses, with an average height of 12-14 hh. They are built and bred to carry heavy weight, so don’t let their size fool you! They carry full grown men through steep terrain in Iceland with ease.
The Icelandic Horse is a very versatile horse that can compete in many disciplines. Worldwide they are successful in a variety of discipline including jumping, dressage, and endurance. In Europe and America, they are also ridden in Icelandic Horses competitions which focus on the tolt and Flying Pace.
Icelandic Horses also make incredible trail riding horses. They really are a horse for the whole family!
Coat, Colour and Temperament
There are up to forty colours or shadings in the Icelandic Horse breed, except the appaloosa type coat pattern. You can find black, grey, chestnut, bay, brown, dun, buckskin, silverdapple, palomino, pinto and many more colours in between
They have very distinctive long and thick mane and tails, and a very thick winter coat designed to keep them warm during Icelandic winters. Despite this they have adapted very extremely well to the Australian Climate and grow a very sleek summer coat.
Icelandic Horses have brilliant temperaments. They are exceptionally people orientated, very trainable, and honest.
The Viking Horse
Icelandic Horses are the original horses of the Vikings. They were taken to Iceland as early as 900AD and have been purebred ever since. Once a horse leaves Iceland it is not allowed back into the country ensuring purity of the breed and a reduced risk of disease introduction. Up until the 1940’s with the arrival of the car Icelandic Horse were the main means of transportation in the country.
Icelandic Horses in Australia
The first recorded importation of Icelandic Horses to Australia was in the 1860’s but it wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that the horses were established in Australia with the importation of 9 Icelandic Horses by Clyde Haldane. Since then the interest in the breed has increased, and many others have imported horses across from Europe, America and New Zealand. As of 2019 there are approximately 270 Icelandic Horses in Australia.