The aim of our breeding is to increase progress in the following three
characteristics judged by the Agricultural Society of Iceland, tölt,
temperament and appearance under the rider. In addition, a lot of emphasis
is put on a high, elastic and long leg action. We say that in the long
run, the best conformation is the conformation that gives us the best
tolt and appearance under the rider. Also we say that the strength in
the legs is good enough if the horses keep their high, elastic movements
together with strong training program several years. The goal for conformation
is therefor included within the above simple framework
We like our horses
to have reliable characters, nice temperaments and a good Tolt with beautiful
and attractive movements. Good conformity, variety of colours and the
typical long mane complete our breeding aims.
We mostly use evaluated stallions who belong to breeding societies though
sometimes we use young, promising prospects with good pedigrees.
At 4 years of age we start to train the youngsters for a couple of weeks.
At 5 years, when they get more strength, we continue the training with
several interruptions. We want to give them a gentle training and enough
time to learn things. This gives the youngsters a strong foundation towards
becoming a good riding horse.
A new training season
Now a new season starts for those who want to organize their training
work, maybe having competition in mind.
Many horses are now in a rather low condition in training, so when we
start again, we have to be careful not making too much demands and pressure
on the horse witch could cause problems in the horses muscles. This
could lied to visible problems for the rider in the form of unclearness
and bad balance in the gates, maybe also problems in the mouth, or the
horse would become uneven (not straight), and in many cases, the horse
would start to hold his energy back, that is not working positive forward.
We must start the training work in a lower tempo, and not to ride to much
each time, but as time passes, we will increase the training little by
little. Training and feeding should hold hands. We increase
the feeding when the training gets harder.
One of the most interesting
characteristics is, that almost all equine colors occur in the Icelandic
horse stock. Icelandic farmers used to say: "A good horse has no
color", and never selected their horses on the basis of their color.
Nowadays, however, the enormous variety in color is considered a great
asset, and many breeders take a good deal of trouble to preserve it.
The Kilhraun Horse Farm is a case in point: most colors occur in the Kilhraun
Another characteristic of Icelandic horses that appeals to modern man
is their closeness to nature. In Iceland, only horses in training are
stabled during the winter, brood mares and young horses stay outdoors
all year. In summer, all horses live outdoors and the young ones are often
sent to uninhabited areas for grazing. Thus, they grow up on the high
moors and learn to deal with nature's challenges. In winter, they acquire
a thick coat that protects them against the cold. Breeding in Iceland
still means a stallion grazing together with a herd of mares. Fertility
rates are very high. The horses are usually broken in when 4 or 5 years
old, and they are fully developed at 8 years. But they live long and can
usually be ridden until they are well over 20 years old.
Icelandic horses have
great willingness, a lovely character and, above all, versatile and high
quality gaits. This is one of the most interesting assets of this breed.
The Icelandic horse breed has 5 gaits, instead of the usual 3: walk, trot
and gallop, as in most other breeds, and tolt (pronounced as "toelt")
and pace. In tölt the horse moves its legs in the same sequence as
in walk, but a lot faster and in a pure 4-beat rhythm. It is just as speedy
as trot, but much more comfortable for the rider. Even people with back
trouble, who can not ride trotting horses comfortably, can often ride
tolting horses without any problem.
In pace both left feet move at the same time, followed by both right feet,
with a suspension moment in between. This gait is very speedy and therefore
spectacular to watch and adventurous to ride.