Iceland is home to many unique plants and animals, but their tiny Viking Horses are the best ones out there. These little horses are thoroughbreds that are marked by their perfect proportions, endurance, sturdiness, adaptability, and movements.
Here are 5 things you should know about the world’s cutest horses:
1. The breed has been very well-known for its special trot called the “tolt.”
While “tolting,” a Viking Horse is in a very slow trot, only touching the ground with one hoof at a time. This provides a very smooth ride for the riders they carry. The breed also performs a special pace known as the “flying pace” that is fast and smooth. These horses use their “flying paces” in pacing races where they can reach up to 30 miles an hour. In this special pace, the horse has both front and back feet landing on the ground at the same time.
2. The Icelandic horse comes in many colors
This beauty of a horse can appear in up to 42 different color combinations! Some types of Icelandic horses coats even change color by seasons. The color combinations seen in Icelandic horses are unlike any other horse you have ever seen.
3. The Viking Horse gets its name from history.
It is thought that Viking Horses were taken to Iceland by Viking Age Scandinavians. The Scandinavians later mixed with Irish and Scottish settlers who would bring Shetland, Highland and Connemara ponies.
4. This horse differs from others in its shoulder height.
Averaging at a whopping 138cm or 4.53ft, these horses are pony-sized. But with their anatomical proportions and conformist behaviors, they remain as horses on most world registries.
5. Viking Horses are still used in daily Icelandic life for sheep herding, leisure, and competition.
Icelandic horse shows started in 1874 at Akureyri and are still held April through June every year. These spring events are typically gallop and pace races and occasionally tolt shows to show off the breed’s unique gait. There are even winter events that tend to include races on frozen bodies of water. In the winter of 2009, during Championship League’s Tolt Show, the ice failed to support 20 horses and riders. All horses and riders were rescued and the animals facing severe hypothermia were warmed with heat lamps.
While the Icelandic Viking Horse has its badass Viking history, it still manages to be known as the fluffy little horse that roams the island of Iceland, and that’s okay. Remember, don’t judge a horse by it’s cover.
Featured Image via Pixabay