Everything You Need to Know About Icelandic Horses

One of the most photographed things in Iceland are the horses.  People from around the world are struck by their beauty.  And the magic of Icelandic Horses begins as soon as you leave the city limits of Reykjavik.  You’ll see them speckled throughout the countryside just waiting to be admired!

Brief History of the Icelandic Horse

Somewhere between 860 and 935 AD Vikings from Norway brought horses to settle on this tiny North Atlantic island. Icelandic horses share heritage with the Mongolian horse.  Which is a testament to how far and wide the Vikings traveled the world for trade and conquests.

Today, the horses are the still the only breed in Iceland as no others are allowed into the country.  In fact, once an Icelandic horse leaves the country it cannot return.  Therefore if riders choose to compete abroad, they will already have a buyer in place to sell the horse to.

Facts & Myths about Horses in Iceland

Meanwhile, there are many facts and a few myths about Icelandic horses we would like to share.  That way, when you come to Iceland and witness these lovely creatures you’re prepared…

Myths About Icelandic Horses:

  • There are wild ones running around.  Not true, all horses in Iceland are owned.
  • They are ponies.  No! And please do not ever call them that as some get very deeply offended.  They are full grown horses unless they are a foul (baby horse).
  • Feeding them is allowed.  WRONG!  Please do not feed any horse in Iceland.  The owners keep them on a specific diet.

Icelandic Horse Facts:

  • Temperament: They have sweet yet calm personalities.
  • Colorful: Praised as one of the most colorful horses in the world.
  • Intelligent: For example, they even put their bums to the wind to stay comfortable and break the wind.
  • Rugged: Horses stay outside year round no matter the weather conditions.
  • Unique: The Icelandic horse is naturally born with 5 gaits. To illustrate, the special gait is called “tölt.”  Additionally, many say the gait is so smooth that you could hold an open beverage and not spill a drop!

Adventures Through Iceland on Horseback

Horse lovers rejoice!  Did you know you can come to Iceland and embark on all kinds of tours that vary in length?  For instance, you can do anywhere between a 1-hour tour to a 10 day tour with Icelandic horses.  Imagine yourself riding through different types of landscapes… From black sand beaches or into the highlands.

Our friends at Ishester specialize in all types of tours for all skill levels.  Further, if you want a quick 1-hour ride on a black sand beach the best place to contact is Vik Horse Adventure.

Icelandic Horses & Weddings

Maybe you are so enamored with Icelandic horses that you want to incorporate the into your Iceland summer or winter elopement?  Well good news, it is possible!  But expectations need to be realistic.  For example, you need to have horse wranglers onsite.  After all, horses are still large animals.

Also, having horses in Iceland as part of your day requires an investment both monetarily and in time.  But if you wish to do a road side Icelandic horse stop during your Iceland wedding day, you can.  However, please be respectful and do not jump the fences and do not feed them anything.

Lastly, if interested in organizing a wedding day with Icelandic horses, feel free to start the conversation with our team.  Please contact us !

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