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.
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?