Nature & Environment Nov 08, 2017

The Icelandic Horse: Small but Powerful

Unique to Iceland, this horse has special abilities that other breeds don’t.

Iceland’s unique and diverse wildlife offers something to all nature-lovers who visit. One of Iceland’s best known animals is the majestic Icelandic horse. Although they’re smaller than more common horse breeds, Iceland’s horses have special abilities and a one-of-a-kind look that make them one of the most unique animals in the world.

The Icelandic horse has two extra gaits compared to other horse breeds. As you can see in the video above, Iceland’s horses can do much more than the three common gaits known by all horses: walk, trot and canter/gallop.

The first of the Icelandic horse’s two extra gaits is the tӧlt. “The horse’s hind legs should move well under the body and carry more of the weight on the hind end, allowing the front to rise and be free and loose,” says Horses of Iceland. It can be described as the gait between trot and gallop because it is smooth for the rider, but allows the horse to gain speed and momentum. The second additional gait is called “flying pace,” or the “fifth gear.” This gait is used in only short distances, usually 100-200 meters, considering how fast the horse can run and how much energy it exerts. Since this gait is hard to perfect, the horses that master the flying pace are considered the best in their breed.

While possibly not known to many, the Icelandic horse is one of the most stunning animals on Earth. With their beautiful manes and tails, distinctive stature and extra gaits, this horse is adored by many across Iceland and beyond. To learn more about Icelandic horses and their gaits you can check out this detailed study and be sure to check out Promote Iceland and Horses of Iceland for more information on Iceland’s nature!