The Icelandic horse is known for its soft and sweet nature. Consequently it is popular with children. On a photo tour in North Iceland we visited the Gardshorn horse breeding farm. There we photographed beautiful horses and this lovely little lady of the house Ylva Sól.
The Nation’s most Faithful Servant
The Icelandic horse is a unique breed of smallish horses that came to Iceland with the first settlers from Norway 1100 years ago. Archeological digs in Europe have revealed that it is descendent from an ancient breed of horses. This breed is extinct outside of Iceland, where it has been preserved in isolation. The Icelandic, as it is commonly referred to, is known for being sure-footed and able to cross rough terrain. Especially relevant it displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. The first additional gait is a four-beat lateral ambling gait called tölt.
The breed also performs a pace called skeið, or “flying pace”. Skeið is used in pacing races. It is fast and smooth, with some horses able to reach up to 50 km/h (30 mph). It is not a gait for long-distance travel.
The Icelandic horse comes in many different colours. The Icelandic language includes more than 100 names for the various colours and color patterns. It is small, weighing between 330 and 380 kilograms (730 and 840 lb) and standing an average of 132 to 142 cm (52 to 56 inches) high. It has a spirited temperament and a large personality.