The Icelandic horse is a five gaited horse breed. What is a gait and why is this so special?
This means that they have more gaits than most horse breeds of the world. All the gaits in the Icelandic horse are natural to the horse.
All horses in the world, the Icelandic horse included, can manage at least three gaits, walk, trot and canter/gallop. Horses are referred to as gaited horses when they can manage more than just these three gaits. Additionally to these three gaits the Icelandic horse has two extra gaites, the TÖLT and the PACE.
TÖLT , the 4th gait of the Icelandic horse, is the gait we focus on in our tours. We want all our guests to experience this wonderful gait. Tölt is one of the reasons why the Icelandic horse is very popular around the world. Tölt is very comfortable, four beated gait. When doing tölt the speed can be similar as it is for trotting, slow and fast. The position on the other hand both of the horse and then of course the rider is different from the trotting. That is among the reasons why our introduction, “Begga’s riding intro“, is helpful for all our guests. Obviously the introduction is helpful for beginners but often it’s not less helpful for experienced riders who have been riding other horse breeds for many years. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is an old saying, but we are very proud of our concept, our guests, horses and staff members because we can happily say it out loud that almost all our guests manages to experience the tölt on our tour.
PACE, the 5th gait in the Icelandic horse, is two beated gait where the horse moves one side at the time. When the Icelandic horses does this very fast it’s called the flying pace! Flying pace is very fast, similar speed as gallop. It’s a very energetic and beautiful gait. Interesting to know that not all Icelandic horses can do the pace. Like mentioned earlier all the gaits in the Icelandic horse are natural. Horses have never been forced to do the gaits in Iceland. If the horse doesn’t show us the 5th gait, it’s simply a four gaited horse. This is really important in all aspects of communication and respect for the horse. A team of scientists from Iceland and Sweden have now found the gene that makes the horse be able to do the 5th gait – flying pace gene!
Our firm, Íslenski Hesturinn – The Icelandic Horse, is a proud partner of the interesting high quality project Horses of Iceland
The goal for the project is to increase the awareness, and strengthen the image of the Icelandic horse everywhere in the world. We want everyone to know that the Icelandic Horse is a wonderful horse. The video below is made by the project and shows all five gaits of the Icelandic Horse – Enjoy!