The Iceland Pony descends from the horses brought to Iceland by the Vikings, when they settled in Iceland in the 9th and 10th century. Supposedly the Vikings brought with them horses various in looks and colours, and therefore the Iceland horse breed has such a fine colour variation today. There hasn't been any import of horses to Iceland since the Viking-period, and therefore this unique horse breed exists today - the original thorough breed of Scandinavia.
Those Viking horses have through centuries lived in a tough climate which made them healthy and tough, and the Icelanders' demand for a versatile horse for transport has created an unusual reliable, strong and comfortable horse , incredibly safe on its legs and with lots of temper and will to run.
In ab. 1920 they began to write closed studbooks, which have to be traced back to Iceland. There have been no new blood in the Icelandic pony since 1240. An Iceland pony must of course have an Icelandic name, therefore people often use words from the Icelandic language, which describe colour or state of mind, or names from Norse mythology or from the nature in Iceland.
The Iceland Pony is first of all a horse for everyday use, where the riding abilities are the most essential. It has to be brave and independent, willing and cooperative. It has to be easy to keep, it must have a good adaptability and first of all - a good disposition. All in all - a fantastic and pretty little horse. Good for both children and grown-ups. No wonder it was the Viking's horse - and no wonder it is still so popular today.
photo ⓒ Strands, Begtrup Vig, Mols August 2007: grethe bachmann