Icelandic horse centre
Conference and course centre
The Icelandic horse
The Icelandic horse descends from horses taken to Iceland by the Vikings. Horses from Ireland, Scotland and Norway were all used as foundation stock. Some early attempts using eastern blood took place but the results were so disastrous that the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, prohibited the import of horses from A.D. 930.
For over 1,000 years selective breeding has been used to give us the horse we have today.
Icelandic horses weigh between 350 and 400 kilos and are 125 to 145 cm. high.
All colours are accepted, including skewbald and piebald.
Icelandic horses can have up to five gaits, walk, trot, canter, tølt and pace. Tølt is a four beat movement which is very comfortable for the rider. Using this gait the horse can carry a rider long distances over broken ground. Pace is a two beat movement with legs on the same side working in unison. Very high speeds can be achieved using pace.
(To find out more about the gaits see the video).
FEIF - European Icelandic Horse Federation
NIHF - Norwegian Icelandic Horse Federation
In Norway we have 33 local clubs with a member’s magazine called Islandshestforum.
The breed is well known for their hardiness and stamina. They have good temperaments and can be ridden by riders of all ages.