I’ve finally returned from Iceland and while the weather was not highly cooperative, the country’s famous scenery made it possible to capture images at most of the spots we visited. Probably the most agreeable conditions occurred at an unplanned stop on the morning we departed Reykjavik. About two hours northwest of the capital, we spotted a sunlit pasture with about a dozen of Iceland’s famous horses.
According to the Lonely Planet Guide and other sources, all horses in Iceland can be traced back to the animals imported by the Vikings. The small breed is hardy and long-lived, well-conditioned for the country’s harsh conditions and still plays an important role in Icelandic life. Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. They have five gaits, including the unusual töit, a running walk so smooth that riders can drink a glass of beer without spilling a drop. In addition to performance competitions, horse racing is a popular sport and the animal is also used for traditional sheepherding. Some are raised for slaughter and much of the meat is exported to Japan.
Based on our brief experience interacting with the herd we encountered, the Icelandic horse is social, curious, and seems to enjoy having its nose petted.
Shortly after we resumed our drive, the weather took a turn for the worse.
To be continued…..