Icelandic horse: origin, types and features

Icelandic horse, brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries, the Icelandic horse is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world and since then, it remains a loyal friend and a vital servant. The horse, therefore, occupies a very special place in the heart and soul of people, and if you ever have the honor of meeting a member of his species, you will immediately understand why.

IslandIcelandian horse

Notably more curious, intelligent and independent than other horse breeds, the Icelandic horse is loved by all, you will see Icelandic horses on the side of the ring road across the country except in the worst weather; they are well accustomed to the winters of Iceland.

In these situations, it is important that you follow a few simple rules:

  • Do not pet horses: they may bite or expel if you pet them, and they are likely to learn unpleasant behavior that will undo the expensive training of horses and then hinder the rider.
  • Never feed the horses: they have a lot of food and any extra rewards would only be dangerous to health.
  • Never enter private property to see Icelandic horses – almost all Icelandic horses are kept on private land.
Icelandic horse
Characteristics of the Icelandic horse
  • Never ride a horse without the express permission of the owner – this will put you and the horse in serious danger.
  • When driving, do not stop suddenly: park in a dangerous place, park with low visibility, park on icy roads or park on private property to see Icelandic horses.
  • If you want to photograph Icelandic horses: you must park your car legally in a place clearly visible to other road users. If you want to get to know these animals up close, you need the owner’s permission or you can simply book a horseback excursion.

🐎Islandian Horse Race

The Icelandic horse descends from the horses brought to Iceland by the settlers more than eleven centuries ago. A comparison between the Icelandic horse, at the time of the colonization of Iceland, and the old Norwegian and German horses shows that they have a similar bone structure. Some consider it probable that there is a separate species of horse, Ecuus scandianavicus, found in these areas. These horses were later crossed with other European breeds, except in Iceland, where it remained relatively pure. Some have said that the Icelandic horse is related to the Shetland, but the Icelandic has a very different genotype from other European horse populations.

Icelandic Horse Breed
Origin of the Icelandic horse

The first Icelandic breed societies were formed in 1904 and the first record was formed in 1923. In the early 1900s, the Icelandic horse was widely used in Iceland for transport and travel and as a working horse. In the 40s and 50s its role came to an end but it has now been rediscovered in its home country and is recognized as a unique sport and a family horse.

The Icelandic horse is described as a fairly small horse, robust and resilient, but not light and therefore often lacking in elegance. But the strong characteristics of the breed are said to be versatility in driving performance, lively temperament and strong but functional character. Traditionally, the Icelandic horse has been bred in the wild or in herds, which is certainly part of the reason for these strong characteristics.

The average height is between 13 and 14 hands with an average weight of between 330 and 380 kg. All the colors are found except the marked appaloosa, being the chestnut tree most common. All white marks are acceptable and I paint in all base colors. Horses have long, thick manes and tails and the winter coat is double.

Icelandic horse origin
Temperament of the Icelandic horse

🌬Iceland horse origin

The first members of the race arrived aboard the Viking ships of the Norse settlers sometime between 860 and 935 AD Although sources do not agree on the exact ancestry of the race, interestingly, many elements may be related to the mere circumstances of such transportation. Some claim that the animals were chosen for their low but robust height, which made them ideal for trips abroad.

When you think about it, it’s much easier to transport larger animals across the roaring ocean if they stay firm and take up less space in the boat. Since then, selective breeding has turned the Icelandic horse into what it is today. It has also changed and adapted to its environment, seasonally wearing a thick winter coat which is then taken off in the spring. Subsequently, the horse is not intimidated by strong winds and snowstorms and is able to perform feats such as crossing glacier rivers and crossing rugged terrain.

In 982 AD, the Icelandic parliament Alþingi passed laws banning any import of other horse breeds into the country, meaning that for more than a thousand years, the breed has remained in complete isolation within the island. Consequently, it is one of the purest horse breeds in the world. Although individual animals can be exported, once they are gone, they may never return. About 900 years ago, there were attempts to introduce the eastern stock into Icelandic blood, but this experiment resulted in significant degeneration and was about to wipe out the species.

Islandese horse features
Icelandic horse breed

🌷Icelandian horse features

The unique features of the Icelandic horse include its wide range of colors and thick winter coat, but perhaps most important is the fact that the Icelandic horse has five airs, rather than the three that make up most breeds. of horses. In addition to stepping, trotting and galloping or galloping, the Icelandic horse has two unique walks, the tölt and the Skeid, both especially suitable for riding comfortably on uneven terrain in Iceland.

It is known to be a very friendly breed, they are very smart with great personalities. Horses are quite small and strong, but keep that in mind – don’t call them ponies because that offends them a lot. They are curious and not afraid that they have other races, perhaps because they have been surviving the harsh conditions since they were first brought to Iceland with the Vikings. Horses can also be very stubborn and relentless.

Some traits are in their genes, but as with humans, parenting and the environment help shape their personalities. Horses feel more comfortable in groups and want to stay in stables and in the fields along with other horses. Icelanders are very proud of this amazing animal with which they have been intertwined for centuries. The Icelandic horse is said to be the only breed in the world that has five different ways of walking: walking, jogging, walking, tölt and galloping. Few other races can walk or hike, but their other steps are limited.

It is forbidden to import horses into Iceland
Behavior of the Icelandic horse

🚂It is forbidden to import horses into Iceland

After an unsatisfactory attempt to cross the Icelandic horse with Oriental breeds, the Icelandic Althingi (the parliament) banned the import of horses to Iceland in 982 AD In their native country they have few diseases; Icelanders are prevented by law from horses being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.

You may be interested in reading: Brabant Horse: Origin Species i

The Icelandic horse is a unique breed of horse. A small, friendly and resilient horse, the Icelandic horse is not a pony, although some individuals are the size of a pony. Most importantly an Icelandic horse, there is an agreement between horse registries and breeders to consider the Icelandic horse as a horse, rather than a pony.

The first horses arrived in Iceland with Viking settlers in the ninth century. In 982, the Icelandic parliament passed a law banning the import of horses. The ban has been strictly enforced ever since and is still in effect. As a result, the Icelandic horse has been bred absolutely pure for over 1000 years.

Are Icelandic horses ponies or horses?
Uses of the Icelandic horse

SónAre Icelandic horses ponies or horses?

The Icelandic horse may be small in stature, but a pony is not! Therefore, refrain from referring to him as one. Icelandic horse in addition to being wrong, Icelanders also tend to feel insulted when someone refers to their proud corsairs as ponies.

The Icelandic horse is resilient, standing firm and long-lived, and over the years he has been affectionately described as “the most useful servant,” as he made life in this arid country a little easier. Horses were used for riding and working in the field, but they were also eaten. Today, horse meat is still part of the Icelandic diet, and you can get horse meat at many restaurants in Reykjavík.

EDoes the horse Iceland eat?

Some visitors to Iceland, especially Americans, are surprised to learn that Icelanders actually eat horses, the surprise being mainly due to the beautiful ones that are Icelandic horses. These horses go to meat production. There are also some farmers who produce foal meat. Some horses are still raised in the slaughterhouse and much of the meat is exported to Japan. Farmers still use the breed to raise sheep in Iceland’s highlands, but most horses are used for competition and horse riding.

Does Iceland eat the horse?
Appearance of the Icelandic horse

Icelandic horses mature later than other horses and generally do not start training before the age of 4 years. It is not uncommon to ride these horses until well into their twenties. Icelandic horse Although the average life expectancy of horses is twenty to thirty, this breed can live much longer.

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