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Use and characteristics of the Icelandic Horse
Icelandics are always described as small horses rather than ponies. They usually stand between 13 hands (52 inches/132 cm) and 14 hands (56 inches/ 142 cm) high. Smaller and taller examples of the breed exist, so there’s plenty of choice for anyone planning to buy an Icelandic horse. The range of coat colours is extensive, and a large herd of Icelandic horses on the move is a breath-taking sight. These charismatic semi-feral horses are an intrinsic part of the cultural life of Iceland. They have carried Viking warriors on their backs, and today breeders who sell an Icelandic are proud of the history in its genes. They are strong and hardy, with a double coat that keeps out the cold of an Icelandic winter. Icelandics are quite stocky, yet their legs are fine, giving them an elegant appearance as they move gracefully with their ground-covering strides. Best of all, Icelandics have a unique range of gaits, making them some of the most comfortable riding horses to ride in the world. Icelandics have the basic gaits of walk (fetgangur), trot (brokk) and canter or gallop (stökk). In addition, they can have the famous tölt, a lateral pace (where both legs on each side move forward together) and the flying pace (skeið, or flugskeið). Speeds of 30 mph (48 kph) have been recorded!