Wild Rose Icelandic Horse Farm

 The Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic Horse has been pure bred in Iceland for 1000 years. In this harsh and extreme climate the horses had to adapt. They endured rain, strong winds, snow, hurricanes, minimal feed, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in their effort to survive. The hardships created an intelligent, hardy, gaited, people loving horse that the world has come to love and cherish.

Here are some videos of the Icelandic Horse:


http://youtu.be/oO9gU3pz7dI?list=UUwM3BwCKM3y7-awKbtrYBNg

http://youtu.be/cJOBh6KPVy8


Here are some interesting facts about the Icelandic Horse:

  • 1000 years of no cross breeding makes the Icelandic Horse the purest breed in the world
  • Their height ranges from 12-15hh although an average height is 13-14hh
  • They are very easy keepers and require very little food to stay at a good weight
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  • Icelandics have fantastic bone density which means they rarely go lame and they can carry people up to 300lbs
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  • Their double layered coat protects them from the harsh weather.
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  • They excel in many disciplines such as driving, jumping, dressage, working cows, trail riding, endurance riding and therapeutic riding. They also have their own gaited shows and breeding evaluations.
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  • They come in every possible color(excluding appaloosa) which includes rare colors such as silver dapple, silver dun, silver bay, champagne, smokey black, golden brown, splashed white pinto, etc.
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  • Pound for pound they are the strongest breed in the world
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  • They have five gaits instead of the conventional 3 gaits of a normal horse. They have walk, trot, canter, tolt, and pace
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  • The pace is a two beat racing gait that gives the rider a sense of exhilaration. It has been clocked at 58kmph
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  • They have a long lifespan. One mare named Tulle lived to the age of 57. When her owner died, she became depressed and stopped eating. She grew so thin that it was decided that she should be humanely destroyed.
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  • Once a horse leaves Iceland it can never go back. This rule was made to keep the breed pure and keep diseases out.
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  • The Icelandic Horse is a people horse. They are naturally very friendly and want to cuddle
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  • They have more common sense than a regular horse. They don't spook as much and they don't tend to panic in hair raising situations.
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  • The tolt is the running walk that they do. It is very smooth to ride. Often in demonstrations riders will tolt around the ring with a full mug of beer and not spill a drop! 
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  • Because of their smooth gaits, they are great for people with bad hips, bad knees or bad backs.
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  • Because of their short nature they are much easier for a rider to mount and dismount. And if you fall off, it's closer to the ground!
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  • There are approximately 2000 icelandic horses in Canada which makes them a rare breed.
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  • For a horse to be registered Icelandic they must go through DNA testing to ensure that the parents are registered Icelandic
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  • There are a wide variety of temperaments to choose from in the breed. Some are very easy going and good for beginners, some are fiery show and endurance horses. And many are in the middle. But they all show the same common sense natures and most of them will not spook at the same things other breeds do.
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  • If you ride an Icelandic that is more fiery, you are on a power house. You will no longer have the feeling that they are pony size! Even if the horse is only 12hh.
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  • They often outdistance the bigger horses when out on the trails
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  • Their digestive tract is designed to absorb a greater proportion of nutrients than with other breeds. Their stomach volume comprises only 2% of the total digestive volume compared with 9% which is typical in other breeds. The large intestine makes up 61% of the total volume of the digestive tract in other breeds while it takes up 71% in Icelandic Horses.  
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  • They are more suited to colder climates. They have a narrower wind pipe which prevents the lungs from freezing
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  • Their winter coats can get to be 4 inches long in most places and 6 inches long around the flanks, girth area, on the legs, under the face and under their neck
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  • Their summer coat is shiny and smooth like any breed but they have thicker skin which helps them be more resistant to bugs. However, because there are hardly any bugs in Iceland, horses imported from their native home land are often more sensitive to bugs.
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  • The icelandic horse seems to learn faster in training than other breeds and are more willing to please.
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  • They are often ridden english style although small western saddles, treeless saddles, dressage or specially made western saddles are often used. Because of their smaller size and wide shoulders, they need a shorter saddle and an extra wide tree. 
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  • Many have a herding instinct which is from herding sheep in Iceland
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  • They are very sure footed and able to navigate very difficult terrain. Where other breeds might break a leg or lame themselves, the Icelandic horse can get through like a mountain goat.
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  • The first prehistoric horse had the same footfall of an icelandic horse in tolt. It is not similar to any other gaited breed.
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  • Many of them excel as therapy horses because of their common sense, giving temperaments and their love of people
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  • They have a lot of personality and because of their intelligence have often been compared to humans.
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  • Icelandics are traditionally raised in herds which helps them develop their social skills and intelligence. They are usually not started in training until the age of 4 years old as they are slow to develop physically and mentally. But they are often ridden into their 30s.
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  • Stallions are very easy going. They are often ridden with mares knee to knee in demonstrations and it is possible to pony mares along side while they are being ridden. They are often mistaken for geldings and children can work around them and ride them. 
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  • Mares always foal outside on the pastures in Iceland. They rarely have complications and the foals are born strong with a thicker foal coat to guard against the elements.
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  • Almost all icelandic foals tolt and pace right from birth
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  • Tolt and pace are natural gaits, not man made gaits
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  • Some icelandics prefer tolt, some prefer trot, some prefer pace. Some are evenly balanced. The ones that prefer tolt are called natural tolters. They will do the running walk all day for you.
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  • There are four gaiters (walk, trot, canter, tolt) and five gaiters (walk, trot, canter, tolt, pace).
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  • There are very few 3 gaiters (walk, trot, canter) but while those horses are never used for breeding, they make great dressage, trail and jumpers among other disciplines.