Icelandic Horse Club



  • The Icelandic Horse Club

    This club is for all of us who shares the love and passion about the Icelandic horse. Even if you are a big, serious breeder or just have a couple of Icelandics in your stable, or maybe you're just curious about the breed, you're welcome to join our club.
    We will be hosting club shows with prices and rewards. We will also have our own leaderboard where the best horses will be showing, and these as well get special prices from time to time!

    About the breed:

    The Icelandic horse breed originates from Iceland where it has been bred, without any known introduction of foreign genetic material, since the island was settled around the year 900 AD. Its closest relatives today are assumed to be the native horse breeds of Scandinavia and horse breeds of the British Isles. The Icelandic horse is pure-bred with all ancestors traceable to Iceland.
    The official breeding goal of Icelandic horses is to produce a healthy, fertile, and durable riding horse, a robust and yet elegant and versatile horse with five excellent gaits. The conformation should offer optimal natural balance, and the movements should be supple, high and ground covering in all gaits, giving an elegant and powerful image.
    The size of Icelandic horses can vary considerably, from just about 130 cm on highest point of withers, to over 150 cm. The average size of horses shown in breeding evaluation is just under 140 cm to the withers which is considerably taller than 30 years ago. The reason for horses growing taller is due partly to better feed, but also selected breeding.
    Most known horse colours and markings can be seen. The most dominant colours are chestnut, black and bay but grey and tobiano are also quite commonly found. More than one hundred colour varieties may be found in the Icelandic horse breed.
    Conformation may vary considerably but a typical Icelandic horse is rectangular and compact in shape. Typical of the breed is a sloping croup, a long, thick mane and tail, and a thick, protective coat in winter.
    The Icelandic horse is a riding horse. The horse is unique in its gaits and virtually all Icelandic horses have tölt in addition to walk, trot, and canter/gallop. Many horses have the additional gait of very fast (flying) pace. As a riding horse it is extraordinarily versatile - a capable, willing horse for pleasure riding, and for sport competitions, suitable for adults and children. The horse is tough, independent, yet sociable and easy to get on with, is self-assured and has good staying power.


  • About the gaits:

    The horses of Iceland are a so-called gaited horse breed. This means that most Icelandic horses have two extra gaits to offer besides walk, trot and canter/gallop. All horse breeds have these three natural gaits and can perform them without training. The extra gaits that set the Icelandic horse apart from other breeds are called tölt and flying pace.
    The extra gaits are natural and new-born foals frequently show them right from the start. Most Icelandic horses are five-gaited, meaning they possess all five gaits, while some are considered four-gaited, and lack the flying pace. There is a genetic variation that all gaited horse breeds have in common, which allows them to reach high speeds in a given gait without breaking into canter and gives them the smooth lateral movements. Five-gaited Icelandic horses always have this gene from both parents, as do some of the four-gaited horses. Some only have the gene from one parent, making them a pure four-gaiter which does not offer flying pace.

    Walk:
    The walk is a symmetrical, four-beat stepping gait, with a lateral movement.
    In walk the horse should be supple and move energetically in an even four-seat with long strides, clearly resting in the steps. The horses back should be loose and not tense. The horse is active in its hind legs and and back, and the tail swings freely with each stride.

    Video of walk.

    The horse in the video got a score of 9.5 for his walk. Later the same day he got 10 for walk (scores goes from 0-10). This was during the Icelandic horse world championships in 2017.

    Trot:
    In trot the horse should have an arched neck and a rounded, relaxed top line. Trot should possess roomy strides with an elastic back, and the movement runs through the horses body.

    Canter:
    A good canter has balance and light, supple movements. The horse should have an arched neck and rounded relaxed topline and engaged hindquarters. The movements of the front quarters are light and unconstrained. The horse has clearly visible suspension and a pure thee-beat rhythm.

    Tölt:
    The tölt is a symmetrical four-beat gait. The footfall sequence is left hind leg - left foreleg - right hind leg - right foreleg. Ideally it should have a regular rhythm with even time interval between ground contact of each limb. However, in slow tölt the stance phase of the hind legs are longer than the stance phase of the front legs.
    Tölt is a gait without suspension. However it has half suspension, both in front and hind, and is therefore a running gait. The tölt is ridden at various speeds.
    Characteristics of true tölt is suppleness and fluid movements. The horse should move in balance, with strong and active back and hindquarters . The movement of the front part are light and free. The horses rhythm is a pure four-beat rhythm, which runs fluently through the horse.

    Pace:
    Pace is a symmetrical, two-beat gait with a moment of suspension, where lateral legs move almost synchronously back and forth. The footfall sequence is left hind - left front - suspension - right hind - right front – suspension. It is one of the front legs that propel the horse into suspension before the diagonal hind leg lands. At high speed in pace the footfalls of the lateral limbs become dissociated with contact of the hind limb preceding the front limb on the same side. Pace is still considered a two-beat gait since the divergence from synchronous movements of lateral legs is not noticeable.
    Pace should only be executed as flying pace: Secure, effortless, impressive with long strides with good period of suspension and excellent speed.
    Pace is an energetic gait ridden at high speed, where the horse lengthens its strides. During pace the horse should lift its back and extend the head and neck forward. In the suspension phase lateral front and hind legs are stretched far forward and the opposite legs are stretched far backward. Pace is considered pure if the moment of suspension is clearly visible and the divergence from synchronous movements of lateral legs is not noticeable.


  • Competition Manual

    Traditional Icelandic shows are spotted into two categories: Sport competitions and gæðinga. The biggest differences between those two is that sport competitions focus on the equipage as a whole, where the rider plays a big role as well. Gæðinga focuses on the horse. Is a competition style where the goal is to show off your horse and its gaits as well as possible.
    Sport competitions scores:
    You will get a score from 0-10 (10 is the highest) based on the gaits you must show. The rider will be judged as well.
    Gæðingakeppni scores:
    Here the points go from 5 to 10; 5 is the lowest, 10 is the highest. Again you will get scores for each gait we ask you to show. Sometimes we will judge the rider as well.
    The points for each gait will be added together, devided by the amount of gaits, and then we have your total score.

    Prohibited equipment

    Bits:
    Myler combination bits with short or long shanks (and similar bits from other producers). This type of bit combines bitless techniques (hackamore) with a bit and is designed as a training bit.

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    Peruvian bit (and other bits typically designed for specific other horse cultures). This kind of bits is not fitting to the Icelandic Horse riding style and/or culture.

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    Sliding gag bits (bits that can move up and down along the cheek pieces of a bridle). These bits are mainly correction bits and not suitable for showing horses.

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    Peewee Bit
    The Peewee bit is, according to the manufacturer, a correction bit not designed for contact riding. It is a bit for training horses.

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    Ported, straight mouth Icelandic bit
    This bit has been determined to be too severe and not conforming to the traditional design of Icelandic bits

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    Swales Pelham bit
    The Swales Pelham bit seems like a Pelham but it is not. It is clearly designed to be a corrective bit for over enthusiastic horses. From the manufacturer: The bit is designed to give control specifically for strong horses that are inclined to lean down. It is extremely popular bit with the showing and driving fraternity and is often used in other disciplines for faster work on an experienced horse that is "over enthusiastic". This is the only Pelham which removes poll pressure as the cheeks are attached to the inner rings. The action on the curb and exerts more pressure on the jaws causing the lifting action.

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    Bridles and nosebands:
    Drop (German/Hanoverian) noseband or lever noseband in combination with all bits used with a curb chain
    This type of bit should be used with another noseband as it does not fit very well together. It leads to an ugly picture. The upper part of the curb could easily get stuck in the drop noseband. The functioning of the chain is affected by the position of the laces in the combination with the leveler noseband.

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    Drop (German/Hanoverian) noseband or leveler noseband in combination with all bits with upper and/or lower cheeks (leverage mechanism)
    This type of bit should be used with another noseband as it does not fit very well together. It leads to an ugly picture. The chain and the lower part of the noseband could come very close to each other so the skin can easily get squeezed. The functioning of the cheeks is affected by the position of the laces in the combination with the leveler noseband.

    Flash nosebands or Mexican noseband in combination with all bits with upper and/or lower cheeks (leverage mechanism)
    The flash noseband or Mexican noseband fits badly with most of these bits and in some cases the combined mechanism makes the equipment very severe.

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    Flash nosebands or Mexican noseband in combination with all bits used with a curb chain
    The flash noseband or Mexican noseband fits badly with most of these bits and in some cases the combined mechanism makes the equipment very severe.

    Kineton noseband
    This type of noseband combines bitless techniques (hackamore) with a bit and is designed for use in training. This is not appropriate for use in competition.

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  • Become a member!

    We highly recommend that you sign up as a member in our club. We offer members only CC and poses, and also members only events with special prices.
    Entry form will come soon. If you are interested please send Rick a dm, and he will let you know when it's ready!


  • Leaderboard & Points

    These points are not associated with the original Equus points.
    How it works:
    In each show you will get scored from a scale of 0-10 or 5-10 (depending on discipline) for each gait we ask you to show. If we ask you to submit a picture of walk, trot and tölt we will give you a score for each of the gaits. Then we will add them together and divide the result on the amount of gaits we wanted you to show.
    Example: You have to show walk, trot, canter and tölt. Your scores are 7.5 / 6.0 / 6.5 / 7.0. Then we do the math: 7.5+6.0+6.5+7.0 = 27
    27 ÷ 4 = 6.75
    Then 6.75 will be your total score and this will be on the leaderboard! The total scores from different shows will not be added together, it's the best total score that counts. We do this to encourage people to try to get better each time, and have a goal to reach that perfect 10!

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