Jack Schatzberg...photographs and talks about horses

The Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic Horse was brought to Iceland by the Vikings from Europe about 1100 AD. Iceland has maintained to this day a ban on the importation of these horses to protect the purity of the breed.

They have been exported throughout Europe and the United States where their smooth gaits, willing disposition and sturdy conformation are appreciated.

Icelandic Horses range in size from 12 to 14 hands and are therefor considered ponies in shows within the United States.

There is no distinctive color pattern for Icelandic Horses. They can be found in every color pattern imaginable.

The Icelandic Horse is shown doing five distinct gaits. They are shown doing the three normal horse gaits, the walk, trot and canter. The fourth natural gait of the Icelandic Horse is the "toelt." This is a four beat lateral gait that appears to be extremely smooth. The toelt is ridden three speeds. The fifth gait of this breed is the "flying pace", so called, because all four feet are off the ground at one point.

At the "toelt"

This photo shows an Icelandic Horse at the "toelt" during a demonstration ride at the Dallas Texas Big D Horse Show. Horses at the toelt can reach speeds up to 35 km/hr.


Flying pace

This horse is demonstrating the"flying pace" at the Carousel Horse Show in Scottsdale Arizona. During this class, horses were asked to demonstrate the flying pace individually, and each was given three chances to demonstrate the gait properly. All four legs must be off the ground at one point as this horse demonstrates. Horses doing the flying pace can reach speeds up to 50 km/hr.

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