Introducing Icelandic Horses

We are often asked “What is special about Icelandic Horses in the UK?”

There are many special things about our horses, but we would say that.

One of the more unusual features of the Icelandic horse is that they are an ancient and pure breed of horse, as no other breed of horse has been allowed in Iceland since the 9th century.

This means that from time to time we are asked to allow our horses to be used in historical reenactments. We join the Vikings of Middle England as often as we can. We train and do displays at our spring show (1st Weekend in May) and usually visit Rockingham Castle on the August Bank Holiday.

Many people have never heard of Tölt, the special gait that distinguishes Icelandic horses from nearly every other breed in the world (in historical terms it is called Amble in the UK) – here is a little video clip from “Going Medieval” which was released in 2012 where Mike Loades a British writer, television presenter and military historian talks about transport in Medieval times using three of our Icelandic horses, Muska, Freyr and Svalur.

Icelandic horses have been used as pack horses in the UK for as long as records can be traced back because of their weight carrying abilities, but the rise of Pony Trekking in Scotland after the Second World War brought a small number of these horses straight from Iceland to take advantage of this special attribute in the modern age and introduced a select group of people to the delights of riding Icelandic horses.

Many people now visit Iceland for holidays and have their first experience of Icelandic horses there. Very often that means they are then hooked and come back to the UK wanting to recreate that experience with Icelandic horses here. In 2018 the number of Icelandic horses in the UK reached 1000, so they are a rare foreign breed here and owners are widespread across the UK.

If you would like to know more about this special breed of horse, think about coming to one of our shows or visit us at Rockingham in August.

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