Featured Video: Icelandic Horse in Motion


The strong, sturdy equines of Iceland are a truly unique breed of horse. That’s because the country doesn’t allow outside horses to enter the island, and once a native-born equine leaves, they are not permitted to return. The reason for this is biosecurity, but it has also kept the Icelandic Horse’s genetics quite consistent through the generations with no outside influence to dilute the ancient breed.

These horses are small, hardy, and intelligent. They have to be in order to thrive through the harsh Icelandic winters. They’re also adorable. Who can resist those poofy manes and inquisitive eyes? On top of all that are the Icelandic’s gaits. In addition to walk, trot, and canter/gallop, the Icelandic breed has two other naturally occuring gaits: the tölt and flying pace.

Icelandic Horse

The tölt is described as a four-beat, lateral gait with no suspension, making it smooth to ride. It can be fast or slow, depending on the individual horse and rider. The flying pace is a two-beat, lateral gait meant to be blazing fast.

Putting these gaits into words is one thing, but its another thing to see them on video. This video, from Horses of Iceland, shows the gaits and full speed, then slows them down so we can appreciate the footfalls of each gait before gradually bringing the video back up to real time.

It doesn’t hurt that the horse demonstrating the gaits shines like a new penny and has a mane that flows almost hypnotically. And that blue-green backdrop of the Icelandic landscape? Are you not looking up flight prices to Reykjavik right now?

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  1. I’m wondering that are they like the Paso’s in the fact that they are very comfortable to ride even though you see a lot of leg and knee action?

  2. Just beautiful to watch in either motion, slow or regular speed! That mane and forelock is incrediable, flowing with the strides! Would love to take a test ride someday on one!

  3. WOW so once they leave Ireland, they aren’t allowed back in! Wonder how many are in the United States, would love to ride one some time!

  4. Love that mane and forelock, nice ride, looks like those Paso’s that we have down here. Smooth even with all the leg action that people are talking about.


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