The Icelandic Horse is well known for being small and strong, but it’s also one of the oldest and purest of equine breeds. They are descendants of horses originally brought over to Iceland by the first Viking settlers and due to a law passed in the 10th century stating that no new livestock from outside of Iceland could be imported to the island nation, the breed has remained pure for over a thousand years.
Today, there are close to 80,000 horses in Iceland, an incredible number for a nation that counts only 333,000 people. The Icelandic horse is intelligent, good-tempered, versatile and the most colorful breed in the world, with over 40 different colors and over 100 variations. But what makes the Icelandic horse completely unique is that it’s “five-gaited”, displaying two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. These additional gaits are known as tölt and flugskeið.
Horses of Iceland, which is an organization that aims at increasing awareness of the Icelandic horse around the world, recently released this stunning video that does an excellent job at showcasing how the Icelandic horse is pretty much the manifestation of Icelandic nature itself; unique, pure, and genuine.
For more information about the Icelandic horse, check out Horses of Iceland’s website.