Photo Credit: 7-themes.com
The Icelandic horse is a unique breed of smallish horses that came to Iceland with the first settlers from Norway 1100 years ago. Archaeological digs in Europe have revealed that the horses are descended from an ancient breed that is now extinct outside of Iceland, where it has been preserved in isolation.
The Icelandic, as it’s often referred to, is known for being sure-footed and able to cross rough terrain. It displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. The first is a four-beat lateral ambling gait known as “tölt.” Tölt is characterized by its explosive acceleration and speed; it’s also comfortable and ground-covering. The breed also performs a pace called skeið, or “flying pace,” used in pacing races, with some horses able to reach speeds of 30 mph, covering just short distances. It’s fast and smooth, but it isn’t a gait for long-distance travel.
This beautiful horse that comes in many different colors and patterns, weighs between 730 and 840 pounds, and stands at an average height of 52 to 56 inches.
Photographer Troy Moth writes on Bored Panda that while he spent years photographing horses across North America, there was no type that always eluded him, the Icelandic horse. He finally had a special opportunity to visit Iceland this year and travel around the country in search of the majestic animals, he said.
Moth explained, “The first thing I noticed is that the horses are everywhere. It wasn’t a matter of me finding horses, but rather finding the horses in a great landscape. I know what you’re thinking… it’s Iceland, how hard can that be? But it was surprisingly hard as a lot of the horses are kept in pens, albeit large ones, but they are still fenced off. Even the “wild” horses are brought down from the mountains during the winter months and kept in pens where their food supply is secure.
“After circling the entire island, driving over 2500 km and taking almost every bumpy windy dirt road and detour possible, I found my photographs, and the horses, living in their world of green.”
The spectacular images below were the result of that trip.
Photo Credit: Troy Moth