The Icelandic Horse is a beautiful animal and thorough bred in Iceland. The first settlers brought them to Iceland in 9th and 10th century. (People say that they were around 5 to 10 in number). Since then they were purely bred within themselves and to date their number is about 80000. Import of any horse to Iceland is not permitted and any horse leaving the island is not allowed back in the country. The Icelandic Horse is one of the oldest breeds of horse in the world. First, we didn’t realize their existence but later we saw plenty of horses running over the volcanic terrain. There are 80,000 horses in a country that has a population of only 300,000 people. They are used breeding for export, for riding and companionship and as a tourist attractions. In Iceland, horse racing for money is not permitted, rather any type of gambling is unlawful. These horses are slightly larger than ponies but smaller than the regular race horses. They are simply beautiful animals. They are in high demand in the rest of the world for their riding pleasure.
These horses have passed through processes of natural selection in generation after generation and since there has been no mixing in their blood line, they remained as the mostly thoroughly bred animals in the world. In an exhibition, a trainer told us that
these horses can perform everything like any other horses but reach the tölt very smoothly and rapidly which is unique to them only. It makes the ride very comfortable and easy for the rider and less tiring for the horse. They are still used as work horses in some areas in Iceland but simply they are much more valuable than that. They are beautiful race horses. In the stable Subha fell in love with a brown guy. He was very friendly and liked to be patted.
Another animal, puffins, we were hoping to see them, which are like their national bird(s) but this was not the season for them and they mostly migratory. So we were happy with the poster and stuffed toy puffins for our grandkids. Children, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and more exciting coverage of Iceland next year.
Sunit K. Addy