Thursday, May 13, 2010

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Thursday, May 13, 2010

Icelandic Horses – The Icelandic horse is one of the only breeds that is naturally five-gaited.  We’ve raised Icelandic horses for about 20 years.

This breed has multiple talents and characteristics.  Not only can it be ridden or driven in all five gaits:  walk (4 beat), trot (2 beat – diagonal legs touch at same time), gallop (3 beat) or canter, tolt or toelt (fast 4 beat – very smooth), and flying pace (2 beat racing gait only – same side feet hit ground at same time), but the temperament of the Icelandic horse is extremely friendly.

Iceland, a volcanic rock in the midst of the North Atlantic, is most recently known for the volcanic ash which disrupted air travel in Europe.  This most geothermal active island(s) was the ideal place to raise the Icelandic horse.  The trabeculation pattern within the bones of this animal are particularly dense and well evolved to pound against the subterranean rock that is Iceland.

George Foreman text-messaged my wife to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day this last weekend.    We’ve sold him seven Icelandic horses.  He’s no little guy and yet he rides Icelandic horses.  Although small in stature (a large Icelandic is 14 + hands), this Viking breed can carry one-third of its body weight.  The typical maximum carrying load for most horse breeds is one-fifth of its body weight.  And these Scandinavian horses are colorful.  The Icelandic horse comes in black, brown, grey, bay, chestnut, blue, red and yellow dun, all combinations of pinto, and my favorite, silver dapple.

Needless to say, we have lots of silver dapple on our farm, Mountain Valley View Farm, Inc., in the Spokane Valley in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Happy trails!

Dr. James G. Hood



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