About Icelandic Horses
Our Goals as a Breeder
Our goal in producing Icelandic Horses is to provide an all-around family horse, with easy to find, natural gaits. This ideal horse will have good conformation, a willing personality and be easy to train. We want horses with curious minds, that grow into partners for life. Our horses are fairly priced, so they can be available to everyone, and with 20+ years of experience with Icelandic horses we provide ongoing support after the sale. We can gladly provide references!
About the Horses
The Icelandic Horse breed is over 1000 years old. It is one of the purest breeds in the world due to its isolation, and Iceland’s ban on the import of horses. Any horse that leaves Iceland, can never return. This has kept the breed pure and relatively disease-free.
Icelandics are a stocky, gaited horse standing 12-14 hands tall. Recent studies have shown that well conditioned Icelandic horse can carry a load of up to 25% of his weight (tack and rider combined). The average weight of an Icelandic is around 750-900lbs, meaning the horses can carry a load of 190- 225lbs. Conformation and condition are a large factor to consider when calculating how much a horse can carry. A short backed, stocky, well conditioned horse will carry more weight for a longer period than a long backed, fine boned horse that hasn't been ridden all winter. A common misconception is that a taller horse can carry more weight than a shorter horse - look at the conformation first. It's not always about the height of a horse. There are references to the topic of weight carrying ability at the end of this article to explore.
Icelandics can have either 4 gaits (walk, trot, tolt, canter) or 5 gaits (walk, trot, tolt, canter, flying pace). The tolt is a very smooth, natural four beat gait, designed to carry a rider over long distances comfortably. Many Icelandics are considered “natural tolters” meaning they will choose the tolt when asked to go faster than a walk. It is a great, comfortable gait for the trail. When paired with larger horses, Icelandics don’t have any trouble keeping up. They have a fast, ground covering walk, and the speed of the tolt can range from a trotting speed to a canter speed. The flying pace is a ridden racing gait meant for short distances. The Icelanders have pace races between two horses at shows in Iceland. They break from a gate like a racehorse and go either 150m or 200m. The horse may not break the flying pace gait in the race or they are disqualified.
Overall, Icelandics are hardy, easy keepers that rarely have health issues. However, obesity is one issue that is frequently seen. Their metabolism is slow, and grain is not necessary for most horses. Managed grass pasture and grass hay are sufficient for most Icelandics. Sweet Itch is occasionally seen in imported horses but it is not an issue in domestic bred animals.
Icelandics come in almost every color with the exception of champagne and appaloosa patterns. Some of the newer dilutions like pearl have not been found yet in Icelandics. Dilutions and modifiers in Icelandics include duns, pintos (splash and tobiano - and a new color called ýruskjóttur, which looks sort of like sabino), greys, cream gene colors, dominant white and silver dapples, with the most frequent colors being chestnut, bay, and black.
Training & Temperament
Icelandics are not started under saddle until they are 3-4yrs old. They can be easily spoiled if overworked/overhandled as foals and youngsters. This cannot be stressed enough! They thrive being in a herd situation where they can learn from the older animals. They are very smart and quick to learn.
Some Icelandics have a more willing personality, and others are more laid back. Some are ultra friendly, and others more standoffish. There is a great range of personalities, just like in people. Most Icelandics have very sharp minds and are easily bored. They enjoy being challenged and you can build a wonderful partnership with these horses with training and time.
Icelandics can be ridden in most any style, as long as the saddle fits both the horse and rider. We have Icelandic, dressage, treeless and western saddles in our tack room. Icelandics can be tricky to fit as some have short backs, very wide shoulders, and low withers.
Icelandics are lovable, once you meet one you will fall for them. We have introduced many to the breed, and one of the most common comments is how smart and easy going they are. Trainer’s love their intelligent personalities and desire to learn. Icelandic horses are a partner for life.