The Icelandic horses are extremely intelligent and forms close attachments to people and other horses, says Hrefna Sigurjónsdóttir, animal behaviourist.
A new study shows that the Icelandic breed is quite nurturing and affectionate.
“We now know that the Icelandic horse is very clever. They identify people and other horses not only by sight, but also by smell and sound.” Hrefna explains in an interview with Landinn, a televisions series produced by the National Broadcasting Service, RÚV.
She adds: “The Icelandic horse is considered to be extremely friendly compared to other breeds. It is likely that this trait was bred in the horse because bad tempered ones weren’t desirable.”
The Icelandic horses are relatively small breed compared to other breeds and is known for its sturdiness and extremely long lifespan. It is thought to be descended from the North European Forest Pony and the Celtic Pony. They have a lively temperament and somewhat strong but workable character.
FUN FACTS ABOUT ICELANDIC HORSES
1. The Icelandic Horse is one of the purest and oldest breeds in the world. They were brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the 8th century.
2. To keep Icelandic horses disease free and guarantee breed purity, Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
3. Icelandic Horses have heavy double layer coats protecting them from the harsh climate of Iceland.
4. They are 12-14 hands high (4 to 5 feet tall) and weigh 600-900 pounds.
5. They may be small, but DO NOT call them ponies!
6. Pound for pound they are the strongest breed in the world.
7. Icelandic Horses have up to 5 gaits (instead of 3 like other horses). Walk, trot, canter, tölt, and flying pace. They are known for their tölt, a smooth four-beat lateral ambling gait, which is very comfortable and fast.
8. They can appear in 42 different color combinations, with more than a hundred variations.
9. Icelandics tend to be very friendly, docile, easy to handle, and love people. They have a lively temperament and a strong but workable character
10. 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 their structural development is not complete until age 7. They are often ridden into their 30s.