The Icelandic Viking Horse

The Icelandic horse is a thoroughbred that has evolved through the centuries without any interference to take on the characteristics that it now possesses. The breed is marked by beauty and well-proportioned limbs, great sturdiness and endurance, adaptability and, last but not least, a variety of walks. The breed is known especially for tolt, a slow trot in which the horse only touches one hoof on the ground at a time. The slow trot is particularly comfortable for the rider. Though the Icelandic horse is a rather small one specialists do not consider it a pony – its average height to the shoulder being 138 cm.

One of the characteristics of the Icelandic horse is the great variety in coloring. The breed is not linked to any particular colors – attested to by the fact that the Icelandic language has surprisingly many words to describe the color of a horse. Only one farm is dedicated to breeding horses of a specific shades: as a sample Kirkjubaer in southern-Iceland, where all the horses are a hue of red.

It is thought that in Iceland there are now some 70-75 thousand horses. Most farmers still keep horses and some breed horses exclusively, often keeping hundreds at a time.