I love horses. Everything about them. The way they look, the way they smell, the sounds they make, the history. I tried to learn to ride once. English first and that went badly. A friend who trained quarter horses tried to teach me western and that went a little better but not much. So, no life on the open range for me. So now I just like to photograph them every opportunity I get.
The ancestors of Icelandic horses were brought to the country by the Vikings (who else?) and have bred true for over 1000 years. The import of horses into Iceland is banned, even exported horses can never come back, and so this is the only type of horse found in the country. Originally they were used more as beasts of burden but now are mostly bred for riding and figure prominently in the tourism industry. They are also eaten occasionally. Icelandic horses, and it is a horse not a pony, have an unusual extra gait called the tölt which looks like a very fast walk. I suppose the most obvious thing about this breed, especially when seen in winter, is how hardy they are. And you can see them pretty much anywhere in the country as there are around 80,000 of them which in a country of only 300,000 people, is a lot of horses.
More on the Icelandic horse here. www.fhb.is