To say I’m fascinated by Icelandic horses is an understatement. I love them. They’re absolutely amazing little animals and it’s my dream to own one someday, maybe an oversized 15 hand one though to fit my chunky butt. I can’t help but wonder how these amazing little horses came about.
First of all, a little info-dump about these awesome little guys.
Icelandics very rarely breach 14.2 hands, and even though they’re considered ponies heightwise, don’t ever call them a pony. Just don’t. The reason they’re the Icelandic horse is that the proportions of their bodies are that of horses, rather than ponies, so - horse. They come in a myriad of
They come in a myriad of colours, everything an equine geneticist could love, of course, including the three base coat colours - bay, black, and red, and after that the possibilities are endless. Silver, cream, grey, tobiano… They even have a white pattern (W21) found in only one stallion, Ellert, who has foals due on the ground soon so we’ll see what happens with him passing it on. Though with all this
Though with all this colour, herds often look like an enormous patchwork! As well as being horse and colourful, they also have two extra gaits on top of the normal ones. So whilst they walk, trot and canter, these plucky little ponies can also tolt - a pace which to me looks like a cross between a walk and trot, but much faster. There's also the flying pace, much like pacing, but again, super fast. It seems that everything to do with these ponies is a hundred miles an hour.
Now the reason I find these ponies so interesting (or at least one of the reasons) is that, obviously, they all hail from Iceland. However, these ponies have been very closely monitored and very little outside blood introduced, so the ponies nowadays are nearly as pure as the ones from way back when, which considering most breeds nowadays are a far cry from what they used to be, is absolutely astounding.
On top of that, Iceland doesn’t have any other breeds. They don’t import horses. None. Zero. Zilch. Only the Icelandic ponies, which are still used for working over harsh terrain and sheep driving today. As well as not allowing other breeds in, once an Icelandic pony has left Iceland, it can’t go back. This isn’t due to bloodlines etc, just because Icelandic horses are so isolated, that illnesses that we see so commonly in the Uk and the USA could be potentially lethal over there and could wipe out many of the Icelandic ponies.
Today, these hardy little ponies are used for everything, including working as they were hundreds of years ago in Iceland. It’s my dream come true to own one in the future, perhaps with a Fjord, and a Highland... And a small collection of other ponies too. Photo thanks to Flickr found Here