Icelandic horse: photo, description, application, origin
The Icelandic horse is by far the only breed of horse in Iceland. According to the law, no other horses can be imported there. Moreover, even Icelandic horses, who once left their homeland, cannot return there.
In the photo: Icelandic horses. Photo source: https://www.mylittleadventure.com
Icelandic Horse History
There is a legend that Icelandic horses descend from Sleipnir - the eight-legged horse, the assistant to Odin - the supreme god. However, it seems more plausible that the first horses came to Iceland with the Vikings in the 9th-10th centuries. To save space on dragrakars, the Vikings preferred small horses.
In Iceland, horses were revered as a symbol of fertility. Horses were a means of transportation, and also helped people in agricultural work. In addition, the Vikings had fun fighting stallions. And after the owner’s death, the horse was burned at the funeral pyre. White horses were sacrificed during various ceremonies.
Initially, the horse owners tried to cross Icelandic horses with the Oriental, but this led to a deterioration in the physical qualities of the Icelandic horse. No further breeding attempts were made with other breeds.
In the photo: Icelandic horses. Photo source: https://guidetoiceland.is
In 982, a law was passed according to which horses were forbidden to be brought into Iceland. The purpose of such a bill was to prevent diseases,and since then horses from other countries have not entered Iceland. Even Icelandic horses that are being taken out of the country, albeit for performances at international competitions, are blocked from their path to their homeland. Things that are used in working with horses, including ammunition and clothing, are also prohibited. This law kept the breed of Icelandic horses clean.
1783 was tragic for the breed - about 70% of Icelandic horses died due to the eruption of the Laki volcano, as well as the hunger that followed this event.
1904 marked the creation of a community for the breeding of Icelandic horses.
Since 1940, Icelandic horses left the historical homeland for the first time - several representatives of the breed were taken to Germany.
Today, Icelandic horses are popular in North America, Western Europe and Scandinavia. And branches of the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Amateur Associations are open in 19 countries. The number of Icelandic horses in their homeland is about 80,000, and about 100,000 in the rest of the world.
In the photo: Icelandic horse. Photo source: https://www.whatson.is
Description of the Icelandic horse
Despite the similarities with ponies, Icelandic horses should not be confused with them. The main characteristics in the description of the Icelandic horse: short stature, stocky, rough build, short neck, big head, small ears, thick bangs, long tail and mane.
Average measurements of Icelandic horses
Height at the withers
130 - 145 cm
380 - 410 kg
Basic suits of Icelandic horses
- And many others, including those with zebroidity on their feet.
The average life expectancy of Icelandic horses is about 40 years (the record for the life expectancy of an Icelandic horse is 56 years), and they reach maturity in 7-8 years. Icelandic horses call in no earlier than 4 years. The heyday is considered the age of 8 - 18 years.
In the photo: Icelandic horses. Photo source: http://www.equinetheory.com
At home, they live in herds in open areas, and only in the winter they are placed in shelters. Icelandic horses are not afraid of the cold, because their fur is dense and dense. Since Icelandic horses are isolated from horses arriving from abroad, they are not susceptible to any disease. They only have parasites. However, because of their isolation, they do not have immunity to infectious diseases, so any outbreak in Iceland can have sad consequences.
Another characteristic feature of the description of Icelandic horses is five-pointedness. In addition to the main gait (step, lynx, gallop), Icelandic horses can move with a skate - amble, as well as telt - this is a four-stroke gait in which the front legs move in step, while the rear legs move forward far, so the horse walks very energetically.
The need to survive in harsh conditions has developed ingenuity and resourcefulness in Icelandic horses. They are able to move on sharp rocks and slippery ice, cross fast cold rivers.
In the photo: Icelandic horses. Photo Source: YouTube
The character of the Icelandic horses is friendly and calm, they trust people.
The use of Icelandic horses
Due to their strength, endurance and complaisant nature, Icelandic horses are used in various fields: in agriculture, hunting, hippotherapy and horseback riding. They also take part in sports competitions, from runs to show jumping. There is a sport that is available only to Icelandic horses - it is ice racing. Icelandic horses are often used in children's sports.
In addition, these are wonderful family horses.
In the photo: Icelandic horses. Photo source: http://www.adventurewomen.com
Famous icelandic horses
Icelandic horses at the cinema
Icelandic horses starred in the film “On Horses and Men” (Iceland, 2013). The film takes place among endless meadows where people and horses lead a measured life. However, there comes a time when each of the heroes needs to make an important decision and change their life.
In the photo: Icelandic horses in the film "On Horses and Men." Photo source: https://www.nziff.co.nz
Icelandic horses - muses
Photographer Gígja Einars from Reykjavik is in love with Icelandic horses, who became the protagonists of her magnificent work.
In the photo: Icelandic horse through the eyes of the photographer Gígja Einars. Photo source: https://www.flickr.com