The Icelandic Horse Festival, held between 26th March and 2nd April across various venues in Reykjavik, will appeal to horse enthusiasts of all ages, with parades, horse-farm visits, movies, fairs and more.
This breed of horse has remained pure for over a thousand years and today there is only one breed of horse in Iceland. Horses have also been an integral part throughout Icelandic history, in fact the Icelandic Horse can be traced right back to the settlement of Iceland in the late 9th century.
Known for its unique gaits and physique, the Icelandic Horse is extremely intelligent, good-tempered, versatile and beautiful too. The horses are extremely strong, efficient and muscular, but still hold a soft manner – making them suitable for riders of any age. The Icelandic Horse is also the most colourful breed in the world, with over 40 different colours and over 100 variations.
Icelandic Horses are known as being a ‘five-gated’ breed, recognised for its sure-footedness and ability to cross rough terrain. An Icelandic Horse can perform the most common gaits: walk, trot, and canter/gallop, but also the additional gait known as the ‘tolt’. The ‘tolt’ is a four-beat ambling gait known for its acceleration and speed, as well as being comfortable and ground covering.
The Icelandic Horse Festival is set to bring together horse lovers across the world to celebrate the Icelandic Horse. During the festival, numerous activities and showcases will be taking place. Highlights are set to include ‘tolt-riding’ competitions; trips to the best breeding farms in Iceland; horse shows; markets and crafts; and the ‘gobbidigobb’ family fair, where the whole family can enjoy horseback-riding, art, and music performances in downtown Reykjavik.
Photo: Oli Kristinn http://flickr.com/olafur