The five-gaited horses

A few years ago, we went to Iceland.

A country of scenic views, endless sea, mountain ranges dotted with volcanoes, seabirds, wild flowers and long, wide angle photos. We saw the sun setting for twenty minutes (surreal), puffins (up close), a dolphins fin (we weren’t very lucky there), whale meat for sale (which we didn’t order) and lamb stew (amazing).

We also saw the famous Icelandic horses.

They’re famous for being small, stocky little horses that move fast and unlike other equids we know – they’re known as the five-gaited horses because they have, literally, five gaits. The walk, the trot, and the gallop they share with all other horses. What they are able to perform as an extra is the flying pace – a same-sided sort of trot (so the horse lifts the front and back leg of the same side at more or less the same time, a bit like a running camel) – and the töltwhich is a super fast walk, known for its speed and comfort.

Since in Iceland virtually no diseases or parasites occur, the horses have little to no acquired immunity to viruses and bacterial infections common in the rest of the world. This fact is at the base of extremely strict livestock regulations: no animal can enter Iceland, no used horse riding equipment can be imported (it has to be new or officially disinfected) and if a horse leaves, it can never return. Drastic, but necessary – if a disease came in, the horses on the island would probably all be killed.

I remember their colours – incredibly adapted to the environment. I remember their manes – thick and warm. And I remember their looks – unafraid, curious and just so slightly impertinent.


My absolute favourite of the horses


When they weren’t still, they were moving fast. Walking didn’t seem to be an option.


Watching us.


The guardian of the thermal spring?


Was I too close? The light was amazing.


Well, they definitely were interested in us!

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On the green hills, grazing.


Up close and personal. So much hair!


Yours truly, after a long tölt.


Beautiful horses!


About Full Of Daisies

I am permanently in love. Things I like: purple, pasta, silk, autumn, the smell of mould, candles, cachi, having friends, water, new things, rice, eggs (all eggs!), fresh grass, olive trees, shiny things, glitter, hanging objects, windcatchers, wind, couscous, wasabi, carnivores, presents, snow, leaves, orchids, feathers, cappelletti, meat, fruit (all fruit), more del gelso (Morus alba L.), pigs, candles, christmas, polenta fritta!, separating egg whites from yokes in my hands, cartoons, dragons, the ocean, nudibranchi, cows, mercury (the metal), cosmos (the flowers), thunderstorms, Mika, turtles, acquariums, green and blue (mixed), siccamores, spring, snails, 24, porc with a sweet sauce (apple, cranberry, tomatoes jam), looking at a swimming pool upsidedown and underwater, english accent, open-minded people, driving, blue skies, checkered tablecloths, butterflies, books and cartoons in rhyme, painting eggs, the star-shadows that football players have, silver, laughing, Vivaldi, bells and chimes, white and purple, creating. Complete Happiness: Early morning. Sun, with a breeze; a pond with water lilies. A house, with a garden, full of plants. A vegetable patch, lemon, orange and mandarin trees. Cosmos everywhere. Birds in the trees; a tortoise eating the salad from the vegetable patch; a mammal (I couldn’t decide which one would make me happier) close by. No houses for as far as the eye can see. Me, a man that loves me and that I love. Friends coming over for a lunch that I have to prepare, and have all the ingredients for all ready in the kitchen.

One comment

  1. I pantaloni da viaggio! Irrinunciabili! 😀


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