A Pure and Isolated Horse Breed
Icelandic horses are as shaggy as you would suspect, but surprisingly short and diminutive. They were introduced by the Vikings, and have remained genetically pure as imports from other continents and countries have been banned for some time. Icelandic horses are gentle by nature, almost as though they have been gifted with personalities to go with their gentle frames. They are just right for novices to riding.
Every breed has its own distinctive value for animal and horse racing lovers, and Icelandic horses are adored for their unique and most elegant gait. There are two of them which can be seen only in Iceland, for breeds from Europe have lost the capabilities of making these ethereal movements.
The Tolt is one of the two gaits which only Icelandic horses display. One foot remains in contact with the ground as the graceful animal shows its paces. This breed is able to maintain the hypnotic beat all the way from a very slow speed to a full-throated canter. Riding an animal doing the Tolt, or even watching the spectacle can even beat the joys of classic horse racing! It is not difficult to ride a horse doing the Tolt and even children can become quite expert at this enjoyable sport in short times.
Icelandic horses are also famous for the Pace, though this gait is quite different from the gentle Tolt. Both limbs on a side move in unison, and remain off the air for fleeting moments. The Pace, as its name suggests, is used for horse racing, and it conveys a sense of almost flying. Pace, unlike the Tolt, calls for top riding skills. All efforts to ride the Pace on an Icelandic horse are worthwhile because the final effect and outcome are incredibly satisfying.
The breeding industry is well developed in Iceland. The native horse breed thrives in conditions which others from lower latitudes would not tolerate. Time spent on a farm, enjoying the friendly company of local breeders and the intrepid animals is a highlight of visiting the country, and an experience which no horse lover should miss.