The Icelandic horseis a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. The Icelandic horse displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds.
This is the only breed of horse in Iceland, they are also popular internationally, and sizable populations exist in Europe and North America. The breed is still used for traditional farm work for example roundup of sheep, as well as for leisure, showing, and racing. Developed from ponies taken to Iceland by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries, the breed is mentioned in literature and historical records throughout Icelandic history; the first reference to a named horse appears in the 12th century. Horses were highly respected in Norse mythology, a custom brought to Iceland by the country’s earliest settlers. Selective breeding over the centuries has developed the breed into its current form.
Natrual selection has also played a role, as the harsh Icelandic climate eliminated many horses through cold and starvation. In the 1780s, much of the breed was wiped out in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. The first breed society for the Icelandic horse was created in Iceland in 1904, and today the breed is represented by organizations in 19 different nations, organized under a parent association, the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations.
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The farm of Sænautasel, situated up in the highland of Jökuldalsheiði, was inhabited from 1843-1943. In the years 1875-1880, however, it was left abandoned as a result of the lavish ashfall emanating from volcano Askja during 1875 eruption. Rumour has it that the farm served as a model for
The Skjöldólfsstaðir schoolhouse provides accommodation in single, double and triple rooms with shared facilities. Also sleeping bag accommodation. Interior and outdoor playground for children. Swimming pool and hot pots. Camping site and restaurant on the premises. Please contact for prices and
Fellabakarí offers fragrant breads of various kinds along with all the tasty favorites people enjoy with coffee. They also offer a noon lunch of soup and a wonderful view over Lagarfljót. Coffee or hot cocoa is free for those who purchase something with it. Fellabakarí uses barley from Vallanesi