Beautiful and furry, is what comes to mind when we think of the Icelandic Horse. But there is so much more to them! These ten facts about the Icelandic will really blow your mind.
The Icelandic horse is one of the most interesting breeds around.
Here are ten facts that you probably did not know about them:
1. The Icelandic horses have five gaits; walk, trot, canter, tölt (tolt) and skeið (flying pace).
We all know the walk, trot and canter. But what are the tolt and flying pace? The tolt is similar to the running walk of a Walking Tennessee Horse and it is a very smooth-beat gait. So when your Icelandic horse is tolting, it is basically a very smooth fast trot. Awesome! If you haven’t heard of the Flying Pace, it is worth checking out. This is when the horse moves the same side of the legs together, and there is a moment of suspension, where the horse does really appear to be flying. This is a fast gait and it is used for racing over short distances. Not all Icelandic horses can do this and the ones that can, are considered to be special.
2. Icelandic horses originally came to Iceland on Viking ships.
The Icelandic Horses were brought by Viking ships to serve the purpose of being the sole source of transportation over Iceland’s rough terrain. They remained the only mode of transportation for centuries, until the first automobile arrived in 1913.
3. Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported in the country.
Since 982 AD, Iceland has banned the importation of horses. and any horse that has been exported cannot return again. This means that the Icelandic horse living in Iceland today has never been around another breed of horse than its own. This has also led to the native Icelandic horses to have very few diseases
4. 1000 years of no cross breeding means that the Icelandic Horse is the purest breed in the world.
Not only is there one breed of horse of in Iceland, but any horse that are sub-standard are excluding from the breeding programs. You will not find purer than this!
5. Icelandic horses are short, and have many of the characteristics of a pony.
But they are horses! Those who ride them say that they have a horse’s feel not a pony’s! The Icelandic refer to them as horses and that’s what matters anyway! The Icelandic don’t even have a word for ‘pony’
6. The Icelandic horse used to buried with his owner.
Horse and man were great companions in medieval times. The Icelandic horse was such a great symbol of status and pride that when heroes died, their horses were often buried with them.
7. Some Icelandic horses can change colour by season.
For example, an Icelandic horse can be chestnut in winter and white in spring. The Icelandic gets his coat in winter, but who said it has to be same color? The Icelandic likes to mix it up and change fashion according to season.
8. Icelandic horses are usually not ridden until the age of 4!
Since they live a long life, there is absolutely no rush in riding them. An Icelandic horse’s structural development is usually complete by the age of 7 and they are the most productive between the age of 8-18. Their health puts other breeds to shame!
9. An Icelandic horse, both mare and stallion are fit for breeding for up to 25 years old!
Not only do they live a long life, but Icelandic horses are fit for breeding for up 25 years of age. That is the same of many other breed’s life expectancy.
10. The oldest Icelandic was named Tulle and lived up to 56 years in Denmark.
As you can probably tell, we are so amazed by the Icelandic horse’s incredible life span. Tulle, an Icelandic horse living in Denmark has lived up to 56 years whilst another Icelandic in Great Britain has lived up to 42 years.