The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse which is developed in Iceland. Even though they are small and at times at the size of a pony, they are still considered as horses. What is so typical about them is that they are long-lived and hardy. And besides the fact that they are the only breed of horse in Iceland, they are also popular internationally.
A recent study of one animal behaviorist, Hrefna Sigurjónsdóttir, show that these horses are extremely intelligent and also friendly.
“We now know that the Icelandic horse is very clever. They identify people and other horses not only by sight but also by smell and sound.” Hrefna explains in an interview with Landinn, a televisions series produced by the National Broadcasting Service, RÚV.
She also adds: “The Icelandic horse is considered to be extremely friendly compared to other breeds. It is likely that this trait was bred in the horse because bad tempered ones weren’t desirable.”
It is a fact that compared to other breeds of horses they are extremely small. These horses weigh between 730 and 840 lb, and their average size is between 52 and 56 inches. Even though this size is often considered as pony size, breeders and breed registries always refer to them as Icelandic horses. Besides the fact that they are small, they have a lively temperament and somewhat strong but workable character.
Interesting facts about Icelandic horses:
1. They are considered to be one of the purest and oldest breeds of horses in the world. They were brought to Iceland in the 8th century by the Vikings.
2. In their native country, they have few diseases. So in order to keep them disease free and guarantee breed purity, Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country. Also, exported animals are not allowed to return.
3. They may be small, but the fact is that they can appear in 42 different color combinations, with more than a hundred variations.
4. Icelandic Horses have up to 5 gaits, instead of 3 like other horses.
5. To stay protected from the harsh climate of Iceland, they have heavy double layer coats.
6. Their social skills and intelligence are a result of the fact that they are raised in herds.