The Icelandic horse! First thing first: The Icelandic horse is a horse, not a pony even though it is small.
The settlement of Iceland – horse version
The Icelandic horse came with the settlers in the 9th century, and due to their isolation here, they did not mix with other breeds. They were also bred to be able to be a riding horse, packhorse as well as a workhorse. The Icelandic horse is related to the Shetland, Highland and Connemara ponies as well as the Yakut pony.
The horses weigh between 330 and 380 kilograms and stand at an average of 132 and 142 cm high. The horses would be considered ponies, but the Icelandic has always been considered a horse. It is possible the reason for it is their temperament and personality as well as their weight and weight-carrying abilities.
The Icelandic horse is friendly
It is probable that the Icelandic horse is so friendly because it has never had any natural predators and has thus become reasonably fearless. It is more than likely the horses will come to you if you stop by a paddock but please do not feed them bread. The horses do like it, but it does the same thing to them as it does to us if we overeat it; they gain weight.
The famous five gaits of the Icelandic horse
Unlike most other horses, the Icelandic has five gaits; trot, canter, gallop, tölt, and skeið. Tölt is a four-beat lateral ambling gate, which gives the horse the ability to accelerate rapidly. The fifth gate is skeið or flugskeið (flying pace) used in races and is fast and smooth.
There are not many diseases in Iceland which can affect the horse. So, there are stringent rules regarding exporting and importing both horses and equestrian equipment. It is strictly forbidden to return Icelandic horses to Iceland after moving it out of the country for races, for example. All horse gear, such as saddles and bridles need to be clean thoroughly and disinfected. If they are not cleaned well enough, and a new bacterium is introduced to the horses, it could have a devastating effect on the breed.