As an avid horse lover my absolute favorite sight during my recent trip to Iceland was the Icelandic horse. A specially developed breed of horses, they are small (but do not call them ponies, Icelanders will be insulted!), weighing between 330-380 kilograms. Although small they are sure-footed and able to cross rough terrains. They are the only horse with 5 gaits, the exclusive one called the Tölt.
These beautiful horses originally came from Norway over 1100 years ago and are extinct outside of Iceland. Icelandic horse is a national treasure. Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported and if exported they are not allowed to return. This law is to protect them from diseases and illnesses since they are not vaccinated. If planning to ride in Iceland do not bring your own gear (chaps, gloves, or anything that will be in contact with your Icelandic horse).
Riding gear is provided by tour operators to anyone wanting to ride an Icelandic horse and this includes rain gear. You will need to put on those waterproof baggy pants, jacket and hood! The weather changes from hour to hour. When I left for a ride through a volcanic path the sun was shining although the weather was a crisp 10 degrees. Not long after being on the trail huge pellets of hail hit us from all sides!
When you traverse the landscape, you are bound to see Icelandic horses everywhere—in meadows, farmlands, close to glaciers and mountains. Their special coats, thick fuzzy hair, keeps them warm enough to weather the extreme cold of winter. Along my routes, I stopped countless times to go out to meet the horses and discovered their sweet personalities. Icelandic horses tend to huddle together for the warmness and comfort that they provide to each other. I sure got my fair share of hugging and burying myself between their bodies just to be close to these beautiful beings.
Blog contributor: Yube Miah.
Relating article by this author “My impromptu trip to Iceland“.