When Iceland was settled by Vikings in the 10th century, they brought with them horses. These horses were of Scandinavian origin (mostly from Norway) and as you can imagine, the horses that were chosen to make the journey were their best and their strongest. Since settlement, those horses have been isolated in Iceland for 1100 years, making them one of the oldest pure breeds in the world.
In that era, this type of smaller, “gaited” horse was the most popular riding horse in Europe. But their popularity later gave way to a larger 3-gaited horse that was better suited to military use and pulling carriages. So today, the Icelandic horse is regarded as the best preserved example of a “gaited” horse.
The specific gaits that the Icelandic horse is mostly known for are tölt and flying pace. The smooth 4-beated, lateral tölt can be ridden both very slow or very fast and has given the Icelandic horses its reputation as the smoothest ride possible on horseback. And the flying pace (which is only ridden very fast across short, straight distances on even ground) is so fast & so comfortable that they have been nicknamed the 'Porsche of horses’! Along with the tölt and flying pace, they also walk, trot and canter/gallop just like other horse breeds.
What probably has earned the Icelandic horse the most love and respect from anyone who gets to know him, is his character. They are patient, adaptable, uncomplicated and sometimes very spirited. They have a friendly personality and a special affinity for people. With no natural predators in Iceland for 1100 years, the horse has shed much of its natural “fight or flight” instinct – they do not "spook" easily. This relaxed disposition makes them an ideal riding horse for the family.
The Icelandic horses height ranges between 128cm and 148cm stick – small but sturdy. They have signature thick, long manes and come in every colour variation.
Icelandic Horse Association of Australia
We think it's very important to contribute to the development of the breed in Australia. That is why Megalong Icelandic Horses is actively involved with the Icelandic Horse Association of Australia. The association provides more information about the breed, keeps their members up to date about upcoming clinics from overseas trainers, offers member prices (for example for registrating your horse) and for members there is a library available filled with interesting books and DVD's. For more information about the association or to become a member yourself, please visit the website www.icelandichorseassociationaustralia.org.au