Icelandic Pony: The unique breed of them all

The Icelandic pony is a friendly, patient and strong animal That was in Iceland for centuries.
With no roads and demanding terrains, Viking horses were needed in Iceland to transport goods and people. Although their role has shifted in the past century, horses have always played an essential role in Icelandic culture, at an early age until today.

What is so special about the Icelandic pony?


Horseback riding on the Icelandic pony
Horseback riding on the Icelandic pony

To Iceland by the first Viking settlers coming from Norway in the 9th century.
Later settlers came with different ponies and horses that were crossed with the formerly imported animals, thus originating the breed we know today.
Breeds who have similar traits to the Icelandic pony would be the Faeroe pony, the Norwegian Fjord horse, the Connemara pony, and the Mongolian horse, which is thought to have been originally imported from Russia to Sweden.
Following an unsatisfying attempt to crossbreed the Icelandic pony with oriental breeds, the Icelandic Althingi (the parliament) prohibited the importation of horses into Iceland in 982 AD. The Icelandic pony has thus been purebred since then.


Icelandic pony with its foal
Icelandic pony with its foal

Considering that the Icelandic parliament made it illegal to import Horses from overseas, the Icelandic pony has been quite isolated and the various strains previously imported by settlers combined together to form the strain we have today.
Only the strongest and most well-acclimated horses survived the brutal Icelandic climate. Approximately 1783, many horses were killed with volcanic ash poisoning and starvation after a massive eruption that lasted eight weeks. The horse population recovered during the following hundred years, selective breeding became important and Icelandic breed societies were established.
The Icelandic pony is a breed known for its purity of bloodline and today it is still strictly prohibited to import horses in Iceland. There are not very many livestock diseases in Iceland and strict regulations about attracting riding boots and saddles together with you from overseas.
Moreover, once a horse leaves Iceland, it may never return. Icelanders going into a contest abroad have to market their horses right following the competition.
If you are thinking about breeding and regulations, then check this out.
Particularly popular in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. Icelandic ponies are now very highly valued export merchandise.


Icelandic horse showing off
Icelandic pony being funny

Be called ponies! The farmers become offended and also the horses become offended also. Even though modest, Icelandic ponies are not considered ponies.
What makes Icelandic ponies unique are the five gaits: in addition to the normal walk, trot and gallop there is also tölt and skeið (flying speed ).

Additionally, to the common gaits (walk, trot, Canter/gallop) the Icelandic pony usually can do the”flying pace” and also the”Tölt”. The flying pace is a very quick gait and used for racing or just for short distances (100-200 meters). It is said that the horses could speed up to around 48 km/h.

If you travel to Iceland, you will have the chance to see A good deal of Icelandic ponies and you’ll find that they are very friendly animals. Made powerful, robust and strong by nature, the Icelandic pony is also patient, versatile and has good affinity with people.

The Tölt, on the other hand, is simply a smoother sped-up Version of walking. Icelandic ponies have the ability to lift their front legs up high while doing it. This gait is very fit for the uneven floor because it supplies you with a gentle and steady ride.

Throughout winter their fur develops very long, and they almost Become fur balls. When summer arrives, this hair has been shed. The horses also come in a variety of colors and patterns.


Meeting the Icelandic Pony
Meeting the Icelandic Pony

If you are traveling in Iceland, There Are Numerous horse Riding tours it is possible to choose from.
Icelandic ponies are friendly creatures and whether you are a professional rider or a Total beginner, they will be great companions on your own tour.

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