When the Vikings settled in Iceland in the late 9th century, they brought with them their best horses from various origins, though mostly of Germanic descent. Although the origin was mixed, today it is one of the most pure bred horse breed in the world due to its isolation. Click here for a nice video on Youtube.
Pure as Ice
All horses in Iceland and in countries, whose Icelandic Horse breeding Associations are a member of the FEIF, are registered. The FEIF is the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations, founded in 1969. The breeding is carefully managed. Only pure bred Icelandic Horses are eligible to be registered. A horse is pure bred, when it can be ensured that it is a direct descendent of the Viking Horse. Only then the horse will be registered on the World Fengur (WF), the world wide database for pure bred Icelandic Horses. In WF you can find information on its pedigree, assessments, breeders, offspring, (former) owners etc. It is a unique database. No other breed is as well registered as the Icelandic Horse.
Tölt and Flying Pace
Tölt with Ösp frá Kirkjuferjuhjáleiga in Iceland, August 2013
The Icelandic Horse is the only breed in the world which can naturally master five gaits: walk, trot, tölt, canter/gallop and pace.
It is best known for its smooth four-beat gait; the tölt. In the tölt or running walk, the horses hind legs move well under the body, thus enabling the back to yield and the front part to rise. Since there are always one or two hooves on the ground at any time, it is a supremely comfortable gait for the rider. The tölt can be ridden at any speed, from a gracious collected slow tölt up to a very fast tölt, in which the horse can keep up with galloping or even pacing horses.
The pace is the fifth gait and not found in all horses. It is a two-beat lateral gait, in which the horse moves both legs on the same side together. The pace is only saved for special occasions like competitions, pace racing, and only ridden at top speed: the flying pace.
Icelandics in New Zealand
In the late 1990's the first Icelandic Horses have been imported to New Zealand and today there are more than 100 Icelandic Horses in New Zealand. Its population is slowly but steadily increasing. In 2003 we imported Biskup and Þótti frá Wetsinghe to New Zealand, followed by Hugför frá Kopavógi in 2007. In 2008 we bred our first foal and have since then had a foal every year. All horses bred at Skógarrönd are DNA tested, chipped, registered with the World Fengur and will have a certificate of origin from Iceland. In joined venture with another breeder, from the South Island, we recently imported Dökkvi from Haldanes Icelandic Horses from Australia. Dökkvi carries very interesting genes. From his father’s side Dynur frá Hvammi, son of Orri frá Þúfu and from his mothers side twice Galsi frá Sauðárkróki (Sire to her dam as well as her sire). Galsi is a son of Ófeigur frá Flugumýri.
Cool as Ice
Icelandic Horses become increasingly popular around the world. Today the FEIF has 19 member countries. Many people have now discovered this charming easy to handle breed; they are really Cool as Ice!
If you would like to read more about the Icelandic Horse, the attached file contains a small booklet "The Icelandic Horse" published by The Horse Breeders Association of Iceland, 2006.
The Icelandic Horse magazine Eiðfaxi provides you with up to date information on breeding, training and competitions.