Thursday, November 21, 2019

Iclandic Horses and Genetics

Are “Genetics” the reason Iceland carefully manages their Icelandic Horses differently from other countries?

I do not breed horses so am unfamiliar with policies of different countries. When in Iceland however, I was told that the Icelandic horse breed was developed in Iceland. The horses are not huge, sometimes the size of a pony, but they are beautiful with long manes. They have two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. These horses are said to be long-lived and hardy. In Iceland these Icelandic horses are plagued with very few diseases. I also learned that Iceland has a law that prevents horses from being imported into the country. In addition, if someone exports an Icelandic horse to another country, the animal is not permitted to return to Iceland. The only breed of horse in Iceland, these horses are also popular internationally. Apparently, sizable populations exist in Europe and North America. The breed is still used for traditional sheepherding work in Iceland, as well as for leisure, showing, and racing.

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