Icelandic Horse / Icelandic Pony

Icelandic horses, also known as Icelandic horses or Icelandic ponies, look pretty jovial. They are somewhat chubby and have strong hind legs.


What do Icelandic horses look like?

Her shaggy, curly mane is unmistakable, under which her big eyes lookout with an alert, friendly look. Their fur often shimmers in a wide variety of colors and patterns. At 130 to 145 centimeters in height, Icelandic horses are not as tall as many other horses.

Where do Icelandic horses live?

Even the name of the Icelandic horse reveals where it comes from: from Iceland. More than 1000 years ago, the Vikings brought horses from Norway and Scotland. From this, the Icelandic horses were bred in Iceland. Towards the end of the 19th century, people brought strong and robust animals to England as working animals.

The Icelandic horse has also been a popular riding horse for around 50 years. That is why Icelanders now live in many countries around the world: around 80,000 live in Iceland, 100,000 in other countries.

Icelandic horses do not feel at all comfortable in confined spaces. They need space and exercise: they prefer to frolic in the pastures all year round. And if there are still open stables in the pasture where they can shelter, they are completely satisfied!

What types of Icelandic horses are there?

The Icelandic horse belongs to the Equidae family, although it is quite small for a horse. Like these, it is solid, that is, only the middle toe is fully formed into a single hoof.

Since there are many more horse breeds today than there used to be, it is difficult to tell which descended from which breed. The Norwegian fjord horses and the Celtic ponies are considered to be the ancestors of the Icelandic horses.

How old do Icelandic horses get?

Icelandic horses can live 35 to 40 years. Even when they are old, they can still be ridden. Icelandic horses can only be ridden from the age of four to five years, as they mature late.


How do Icelandic horses live?

The Icelandic horse has been a popular “mode of transport” on its home island for 1000 years. It is strong, sees well, and can orientate itself very well.

In addition, the animals are good-natured, persistent, and very surefooted, so they trudge through rough terrain without any problems.

In addition to the three basic gaits “walk”, “trot” and “gallop”, Icelanders can run in two other gaits: “tölt” and “pace”. All Icelandic horses can learn the “Tölt”: It is fast tipping that requires relatively little effort. This allows them to cover long distances while always keeping at least one hoof on the ground. The “pass”, on the other hand, is a very fast and strenuous gait that only some Icelandic horses can master:

Here the Icelander alternately puts down the two right and the two left hooves, with all four legs briefly in the air between ground contact. More than a few hundred meters are hardly manageable – then the horses run out of breath.

Friends and foes of the Icelandic horse

The good-natured and loyal horses have been reliable companions for people for over 1000 years. The robust and powerful horses are very popular as working animals and mounts.

How do Icelandic horses reproduce?

An Icelandic foal is only born after eleven months. That’s how long the mares are pregnant. A mare can give birth to at most one foal per year. However, a stallion can sire several times a year because he mates with many different mares.


What do Icelandic horses eat?

The Icelandic horse eats grass when it is in the pasture. If there is enough grazing land, the Icelandic horse does not actually need to be fed at all. It takes care of itself.

Otherwise, it gets mostly hay and straw. Many animals that are used as sport horses also receive the concentrated feed, which usually consists of oats, barley, and water.

Keeping Icelandic horses

There are a few things to consider when keeping Icelandic horses: They should live and grow up in a herd. It is best for Icelanders to be able to graze all year round. Weather protection against sun and heat is also absolutely necessary for them. The animals are protected against the cold by their thick winter fur. Icelandic horses receive several vaccinations and have to be treated against worms several times a year.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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