On a personal note...
I just love these little horses. I've never had the privileged of riding an Icelandic, but I have seen them perform at the Pennsylvania Horseworld Expo. They are so amazing to watch! You are instantly captured by their super-fast and smooth gaites. Plus, how can you not love their fuzzy manes!
A Little Bit About the Icelandic
The following description information was found on The United States Icelandic Horse Congress Website.
"The Icelandic Horse has a thousand year history. Purebred since the 10th century, the Icelandic Horse is renowned for being hardy, athletic, independent, spirited, friendly, adaptable, and sure-footed, with five natural gaits. These are the Walk, Trot, Canter, Tölt, and Pace. Averaging 13 to 14 hands tall, the Icelandic Horse is a versatile family riding horse, bred to carry adults at a fast pleasing gait over long distances. It is distinctive for its thick and often double-sided mane and long tail, and remarkable for its wide range of colors. In addition to formal horse shows and competitions, Icelandic Horses are widely used for cross-country rides and long-distance trekking. They have also competed in dressage, jumping, and endurance races."
The 5 Gaits
The Icelandic Horse is renowned for its five natural gaits. While most other breeds have only three or four gaits, the Icelandic Horse can Walk, Tölt, Trot, Pace, and Canter or Gallop. The Walk, Trot, and Canter.
The Tölt is similar to the running walk or rack of a Tennessee Walking Horse or Paso Fino. In the Icelandic Horse, Tölt is a very smooth four-beat gait which, while reaching speeds similar to fast trotting, is much less jolting to the rider. The Tölt is an excellent gait for trail-riding.
In the Pace, the hooves on the same side touch the ground together. Often called the Flying Pace, this gait can equal the speed of a full gallop and is used in Iceland for racing. To Icelanders, riding at the Flying Pace is considered the crown of horsemanship.