The first people to settle Iceland brought horses with them from Norway, as well as other domestic animals. The horses, now called Iceland horses, are small and sometimes referred to as ponies. The breed has been isolated in the country for over 1100 years and is therefore considered a unique breed.
For centuries the horse was the principal means of transportation and its meat an important foodstuff. Now horseback riding has become a popular sport and is commonly practiced in the country's urban as well as rural areas.
The Iceland horse is hardy and sure-footed and has a variety of five natural gaits, which is more than most other horse breeds are capable of. The five gaits are walk, trot, gallop, amble or pace, and a running walk called tölt. The tölt and pace are sought after qualities in the Iceland horse, since the gaits make for an astonishingly