Icelandic horses

The horses originating from the Iceland Islands are very sturdy and capable of the gaits of the ancient horses: tölt and flying pace.

Profile: Icelandic horses


Icelandic horse


Small horses

Height at the withers:

130 – 145 cm

Life expectancy:

up to 40 years

Colour of coat:

all colour variations, dappled (except for leopard complex)


friendly, good-natured, confident, lively


sure-footed, energetic, graceful, flexible




Europe, North America

Suited for:

show riding, recreational and trail riding, tournaments as well as working horses and packhorses

Facts about horses

Did you know? Icelandic horses are among the world’s oldest thoroughbred horses. In order to ensure pure breeding in the future, there is a ban on importing horses in Iceland: Once a horse has left the island, it may not return.

Icelandic horses are extremely tough.

Charming and powerful horses

In general, Icelandic horses reach a maximum height of 1.45 m, which makes them hardly larger than ponies. Due to their small size, they are often referred to as Icelandic ponies. However, fans of the breed insist on calling these cute horses. After all, Icelandic horses are capable of amazing achievements with their stocky and muscular bodies and their great endurance: As an example, they can easily carry a grown man at a high pace without tiring. Therefore, they have always been used as riding horses for adults, or as working horses, in their home country of Iceland. However, Icelandic horses are not only known for their extraordinary toughness, riders also appreciate their many colours. They can be black, brown, chestnut-coloured, dappled and white. In some animals, the colour of their coat even changes depending on the season. Icelandic horses typically also have lush feathering and a dense, shaggy winter coat that makes them true survivalists in the harsh Iceland winters. By the way, the sturdy animals live for up to 40 years – real friends for life! 

Icelandic horses are masters of the tölt gait.

Versatile horses

Icelandic horses can be used for many different purposes. Their extremely humble and friendly nature and their great endurance make them popular recreational and trekking horses. Since they are highly reliable, motivated and clever, they are used as sport and show horses, too. Their great variety of colours also makes these horses from the “island of fire and ice” so special. And unlike other horse breeds, they are capable of additional gaits (tölt and flying pace), which is truly unique. Most other horses have lost these two gaits over time and breeding, and they are “only” capable of the three basic gaits: walk, trot and gallop. Icelandic horses are among the most popular horse breeds in Germany and there are around 65,000 of them living in the country.

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