Icelandic horses are majestic creatures with a look and style all of their own. The Icelandic horse is descended from horses brought to Iceland by settlers well over eleven centuries ago.
The first breed societies of Icelandic horses were formed in 1904 with the first register being formed in 1923. In the early 1900's the Icelandic horse was used extensively in Iceland for transportation and travel and as a working horse. When the 40's and 50's arrived the Icelandic horses role was coming to an end, but it was beginning to be rediscovered as a sport and family horse.
Icelandic horses are rather small, sturdy and hardy. Their build often robs them of elegance. They have lively temperaments and a strong character.
Icelandic horses average between 13 and 14 hands and usually weigh between 330 and 380 kg. All colors are found except appaloosa marking. The most common color is chestnut. They have very thick manes and tales and as winter approaches their coats double.
In addition to the standard walk, trot and canter, the Icelandic horse has tolt, a "running walk" similar to the gait found in the American Saddlebred or Paso Fino. Some Icelandic horses are bred for a special "flying pace" or skold, which is used for racing short distances. Some Icelandic horses can reach almost 30 miles an hour using the "flying pace."
Diseases are almost unknown among Icelandic breed. Iceland horses have no known predators, but there are several environmental dangers that they face such as quicksand, rock slides, rivers with changing currents, the ability to assess a situation rather than the instinct to flee, have been central in the survival of the horse.
The Icelandic horse breed is one of the most purest and oldest breeds in the world.