The Icelandic Horse

The origin of the horse in Iceland is exactly the same as the arrival of the first settlers from Scandinavia in the ninth century. Clearly, the horse was the catalyst that allowed the settlement of Iceland to go forward and prosper. Since no other breed of horse has ever been imported to Iceland, this special animal is a purebred "Viking Horse".

The horse was used for everything. They worked tilling the farmlands from dawn to dusk and provided transportation between the farms as they were settled. They went on scouting expeditions into this new territory in search of everything from water to grazing areas. Strong and sure-footed, the Icelandic horse adjusted and adapted to this new land certainly as fast and most likely faster than the new settlers.

Viking battles were fought on horseback and the animal quickly adjusted to any situation that was presented to it. Is it any wonder that many of the slain Vikings warriors of the many battles in earlier times were often buried with their horses as a sign of honor and respect?

The Icelandic horse has many characteristics unique unto itself. Perhaps the most noticeable would be its intermediate size and the mane of shaggy hair. The five gaits of the horse are also one of the special features that sets it apart from all other horses. These gaits are the fetgangur, the walk or step, the brokk or trot, the tölt, which is a faster type of walk, the skeið or the pace and the stökk, or gallop.

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