Icelandic horse


The Icelandic horse is a unique breed that stands out for its physical characteristics, temperament, and rich history. As its name suggests, the Icelandic horse is native to Iceland and has adapted to the harsh climate and terrain of the country. In this article, we will explore the history, temperament, height, characteristics, lifespan, colors, and health of the Icelandic horse.

Icelandic Horse History

The Icelandic horse has a fascinating history that stretches back over a thousand years. It is believed that the Norse settlers brought horses to Iceland from mainland Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries. These were most likely of Germanic and Celtic origin. However, due to Iceland’s geographic isolation, the breed remained pure and unchanged for almost 1,000 years, creating one of the purest horse breeds in the world. The first mention of the Icelandic horse in literature dates back to the 12th century, and it has since been revered by the Icelandic people as a symbol of their national identity.

Icelandic Horse Temperament

The Icelandic horse’s temperament is one of its defining features, and it is highly sought after by horse lovers worldwide. They are known for being friendly, intelligent, and curious. Icelandic horses have an excellent disposition and are easy-going, making them ideal for riding and leisure activities. They are also known for their endurance, and they can cover long distances without losing energy. Moreover, these gentle creatures are known for their amazing spirit, loyalty, and bravery.

Icelandic Horse Height

The Icelandic horse is a small horse, standing at an average height of 13-14 hands high, which is equivalent to 52-56 inches. However, the height can vary depending on the individual horse’s genetics and breed. Despite their small stature, Icelandic horses are strong and hardy.

Icelandic Horse Characteristics

The Icelandic horse’s physical characteristics are distinct from those of other breeds. One of the unique characteristics of the breed is its double coat. It consists of a dense, woolly undercoat and a long, protective outer coat. This coat allows Icelandic horses to survive in the harsh Icelandic weather conditions, including snow, ice, and cold temperatures. They are also known for their five natural gaits, including the walk, trot, canter, tölt, and flying pace, which are all smooth and comfortable to ride.

Icelandic Horse Lifespan

The Icelandic horse has a relatively long lifespan for a horse, with an average lifespan of 25-30 years. However, some Icelandic horses are known to live much longer than that. Proper care and nutrition, including regular exercise and veterinary care, can contribute to keeping Icelandic horses healthy and active for longer.

Icelandic Horse Colors

Icelandic horses come in many different colors. The breed’s most common colors include black, brown, bay, and chestnut. However, they can also come in a wide range of other colors, including gray, palomino, and dun. Icelandic horses are also known for their distinctive dun-colored coat, which is associated with their Viking heritage.

Icelandic Horse Health

Icelandic horses are generally robust and healthy horses, but like all horses, they are susceptible to various health issues. Some common health problems in Icelandic horses include respiratory problems, skin conditions, digestive issues, and joint problems. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that Icelandic horses receive proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care to maintain their well-being.


In summary, the Icelandic horse is a unique and beautiful breed that has captured the hearts of horse lovers around the world. Its rich history, gentle temperament, small stature, unique characteristics, long lifespan, variety of colors, and good health make it an ideal horse for leisure activities, riding, and more. If you are looking for a horse that is easy to handle, has a great disposition, and is beautiful to look at, an Icelandic horse is a great choice.