Icelandic Horse, Gaited Horse Extravaganza by Doug and Jennifer Hamilton ---
(Read brightly with energy!)
We would now like to present to you the oldest pure-bred example of naturally gaited horses in the world...the Icelandic horse.
Derived from the naturally gaited horses of northern
When the Vikings set out to explore and
settle the lands of the
Twelve hundred years ago, Viking
settlers brought these horses to
Around 900 AD, a law was passed in
Consequently, isolated for over 10
centuries, the Icelandic Horse has adapted to the harsh climate and rugged
geography of their volcanic island; located just below the
Historically, the Vikings, and now the Icelanders, have valued these horses for their smooth, natural, running walk called the tolt -- which you see the horses doing here---and their thrilling, racing gait called the flying pace.
The Icelandic Horse is naturally gaited. This means that no artificial devices are necessary to obtain the tolt and flying pace. Accordingly, the shoes on these horses you see here are regular weight and the bits are mild snaffles.
(Demonstration of Gaits)
( Horses will show gaits according to the reading of this script)
Icelandic Horses can be ridden at all five natural gaits... most Icelandics by their nature, are either 4-gaited or 5-gaited. The first gait is the regular 4 beat walk. The walk should be relaxed, even, and ground covering.
(short pause as walk is demonstrated,)
Their second gait is the trot....a two beat, diagonal gait. Their trot is usually soft enough to be ridden without posting. The trot makes it possible for Icelandic horses to be used in activities common for three gaited breeds, like dressage and driving.
( Short pause for trot ...move on to tolt )
The third gait, and best loved, is the smooth running walk, called the tolt. Tolt, for an Icelandic Horse, is a 4-beat, lateral gait which can be quite slow...about the speed of a fast walk or jog trot. Tolt is a traveling gait, valued for its comfort for the rider when going distances.
(pause 1/2 lap of arena)
The tolt can also be fast... up to 20 mph in top competition horses. The experience of riding fast tolt is exhilarating for the rider and beautiful to behold.
(pause, 1/2 lap of arena)
Their fourth gait is the canter. In
(pause as canter is demonstrated, approx 3/4 lap)
The horses are now slowing down to a tolt again and will demonstrate the last gait natural to the Icelandic horse.
The fifth gait, the Flying Pace, is
called the Gait of the Gods. It is not
found in all Icelandic Horses. Flying
pace is a sprinting gait usually done on a straight-away. In
An Icelandic horse is like a fine sports car: smooth, maneuverable, and with five gear options! Yet, like a fine sports car, don't be fooled by their small size. The Icelandic is a smaller breed of horse, averaging between 13 and 14 hands; however, they carry 200 pound riders for long distances.
Their size and temperament make them "user-friendly"; ideal family horses and exciting show horses as well.
Established as a favorite pleasure horse
It's only natural that the horse of the
Vikings has turned from conquering lands to conquering hearts around the
world. Thank you for inviting us to
this year's Horse Fair, and for giving us this opportunity to share our horses' history and exciting
future in the
And now with personal greetings, our riders today have been:
Jennifer Hamilton on the gelding, Mimir
Kristina Gelfand on the mare, Lipurta
Kerstin Vak-holtxe on the mare, Freyja
Doug Hamilton on the stallion, Sorli